Some days are sine curves in terms of satisfaction levels. Things start off slow and predictable, then steadily get better in between and finally go hurtling down like those roller coaster rides called “Valley of Death” or something equally gut-wrenching.
Last Friday was one such ‘sine curve’ day.
I woke up in the morning with a sinking realisation that I had slept far too much and far too deeply. Too much that now I’ll have to rush through the morning ablutions before heading off to work. And too deeply, that I had not woken up even once during the night to relieve my bladder.
Great. This means I’ll be wincing and hobbling all the way to the toilet now with an extra heavy bladder and a charming pained expression on my face. Luckily for me, since we live in Singapore and the Housing Board here believes that bedrooms are just matchbox-sized storerooms to store your bed, my painful journey to the attached bathroom is short. Exactly two baby steps. OK one and a half baby step. Because I can stretch out my hand, push the door open and simultaneously step across the bathroom threshold on the second step. Bathrooms follow the same policy here as the bedrooms. They are places to bathe, brush your teeth and shave. Not places to hoist up a huge Victorian gilded mirror, or those gorgeous claw-footed tubs and light candles around you.
Now if I was in India, this journey from bed to toilet would have taken me a good fifteen minutes. I shall find myself manoeuvring my belly past a magnificent bedside lamp (not for lighting, only for aesthetic purposes and adding to overall dust collection in the house).
Once I reach the bathroom door, I still must shuffle my way across the palatial inner dressing room attached to the bathroom where potions, creams, towels, kozhambus, never-used oils and forgotten Dhathri face-packs all jostle for space on shelves. And finally I can enter the inner sanctum of the toilet where at the far end will be the throne, the toilet seat.
So on days like this, I am grateful for our tiny bedroom and bathroom here. I get ready in record time and head off in the direction of the dining table where the aroma of frying, sizzling goodness wafts from the kitchen. Oh! The glorious smell of French toast! Lovingly being fried and calorie-packed by dear ol’ Mummy herself. No one makes French toast like Mummy. And any of you Iron Chefs, or Nigella with your gorgeous skin, or even that Aussie hunk who picks up random housewives in supermarkets and cooks for them…yes all of you, try and compete with this artery-clogging wonder of Mummy’s.
She uses only the finest ingredients in this preparation of culinary brilliance. The egg yolks are mixed with an amount of sugar usually reserved for making jams or preserves. Mummy believes in customer satisfaction. Then she dips chunky slices of glorious, white, processed bread in the egg mixture. Let’s, admit brown stuff may be healthy but their taste is far by secondary to sinful, white stuff.
She fries these soaked, gooey, yellow bread slices in oil. I watch in fascination as they sputter and crackle, turning into the correct shade of golden brown. Finally, she transfers them to a wad of kitchen paper where the excess oil is soaked up. But not all of it, because there is nothing I love more than the sense of satisfaction of seeing the glistening droplets of oil on my plate when I have tossed the last morsel of toast in my mouth…Burp!
But like a villain in every love story, there is an unexpected twist in my happy tale too. The villain here is a withered little beetroot that sits forlornly in the vegetable bin of our fridge. It had been bought specially for me, after my gynaecologist confirmed that I was anaemic (as usual) in my pregnancy. Mummy had prepared every possible beetroot dish on earth – soups, curries, etc. But apparently one little beet had escaped her inspection. And the night before, out of anaemic guilt for the baby, I ask the maid to wipe the dust off our Philips Juicer (bought in a health-conscious crazy moment) and make me a nice glass of ugh…beetroot juice in the morning.
The juicer yields half a glass of deep red, exotic looking and vile tasting juice. Which I gulp down in one go. And then wash it down with a gallon of water to get rid of the nasty after-taste.
After which I mentally mark down my ‘Health act of the day’ as complete. And sit down to my breakfast – three oily slices of golden French toast, the edges burnt just a little bit to add a crispy quality to the entire experience. “A” looks up from his IPad for a moment, to watch me munching away in oily bliss. His face has an expression which I am sure will guarantee an uncharitable comment about my weight gain before the end of the day.
Things start going wrong soon. Just as I finish the last piece of toast and proceed to admire the oily streaks on my plate, I start to feel warm. Which is normal when you’re in balmy, humid Singapore and very normal when you’re in the midst of hormone-crazy pregnancy. But soon, the warmth turns into a full-fledged inner-body sauna experience. Tiny droplets of sweat start to break out; my clothes begin to feel tight. Gosh, those calories in that toast can’t be acting that fast. Gulp…Can they?
By now, the entire family has caught in on my discomfort all expressing their concerns in their unique ways. “A” slightly suspicious, Mummy imagining the worst, Daddy trying to assess whether this curtails as an emergency to tear his eyes away from the morning newspaper.
Then I start to taste the bile mixed with the beetroot juice in my throat. Ah morning sickness! My old enemy, we meet again after two peaceful months! I say to myself, in a very Kung-Fu Panda style with eyebrows raised.
Second pregnancies are great in the terms that you are prepared beforehand for the onslaught of projectile vomiting, unexpected bloating, middle-of-the-night muscle cramps and any other pleasantries along the way.
So as the family watches on, I start acting upon my hunch. And fast. I grab a hair clip to tie back the hair, pull of my ID tag from my neck and roll up my sleeves, charging like a woman on a mission. Off to the toilet guys. Back in a mo-.
So after a few minutes of paying homage to the toilet bowl on my knees, and disposing all the beetroot and French toast, I feel revived and absolutely radiant (glow could be attributed to the author’s above-mentioned anaemia too)
And once again, I am convinced that there is nothing more fulfilling than
– a good binge
– or a good throwing-up
– or a good cry
I am done with no.1 and 2.
Now about No.3 – a nice sob-sniffle- nose blowing session. Well I see that happening soon enough at the gynaecologist’s office next week after the monthly checkup.
“X amount of kilos in 3 weeks???!!! Shameful indeed, Maria”. (Background score lent by ‘A‘ and the nurse’s loud sniggers)