Previous: Republic Day: The BlogLand Chronicles - 3
Anil and I were discussing the different love songs King Kong could have sung had he only bothered to learn Hindi, when Prakash walked into BlogLand.
"Hey, Prakash!" I said. "How's the baby coming along?" Prakash's wife had given birth to their first child a couple of weeks before. Ever since then, that was the only thing he could talk about.
"Oh, don't even ask," he replied as he sat down at our table, holding his head in his hands.
"Why, what happened?" I asked, concerned. Until the last conversation, which was only a few days ago, talking about the baby was what made him happiest.
"She sleeps all day, and stays awake all night."
"Sounds like my kind of kid," I said.
But he ignored me and continued. "I've hardly slept the whole of last week! Half the night she's up and crying for no apparent reason. Then other times, she needs to be fed, or changed. We've decided to share the chores, and since Sarita does the feeding, I'm stuck with changing the diapers. Have you ever changed a baby's diapers?"
"No way!" said Anil. "And thank goodness for that!"
"Me neither," I said. "It's bad, is it?"
"Trust me," he replied, "you don't know what shit loads of something means, until you've seen the inside of a baby's nappy."
Both of us roared with laughter, and even Prakash grinned. "That was a good one, wasn't it?"
"Priceless!" said Anil, still laughing.
"Why doesn't she bottle up the milk so you can share both the chores?" I asked.
"Oh, you think I didn't try suggesting that? You see, changing diapers is one of the ways I compensate for not being able to share the pain of child birth."
"I can see that being married is a lot of fun," grinned Anil. "Shit loads of fun, to be precise!" And he started laughing again.
"So," I smiled, "the wife and kid are coming along fine, I take it?"
"Oh, wonderfully. If it hadn't been for the lack of sleep, I'd almost say this was the most fun I've ever had!"
"Can't be more fun than your honeymoon," Anil pointed out.
"True," said Prakash. "But that was a different sort of fun. And the joy of looking at that little bundle of flesh knowing she'll call you Daddy one day, is unbelievable. It's even worth changing diapers for that. Just wait till you have one of your own."
"I'm in no hurry!" Anil looked horrified.
"You're definitely a long way from even worrying about that, if you ask me," I teased. "By the way, how's your girlfriend?"
"Friend who's a girl. Not girlfriend. She's fine. We might watch a play next week. You've finally decided to stop bugging me about meeting her on the internet, have you?"
"Let's just say I'm tired of preaching to a deaf ear."
"Why can't you accept that you were being unnecessarily paranoid?"
"Being paranoid keeps you safe."
And he started laughing again. "Hey Mike!" he shouted at the man sitting a few tables away. "Read anything funny lately?"
Mike looked up from his book and said, "As a matter of fact, I just started Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men, which is quite funny. After all, it's Pratchett. But I can't say the same about the last three books I read."
"Which ones?" I asked.
"Philip Pullman's first two His Dark Materials books, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter."
"Are they any good?"
"Oh, they're fantastic, all three of them. I'm aching to read the last in Pullman's trilogy. He's got one fantastic imagination. But the bookstore was out of stock when I last checked. And Hawthorne takes you back to the 1600s, and compares the life in the US then, with life in 1850. You get a trip to two different time frames, in the same book."
"So the English used in the Scarlet Letter isn't giving you any trouble?" I asked. Mike had complained about that when he read The Pickwick Papers.
"Well, for one, The Scarlet Letter is much shorter. And I guess it's a little easier once you get used to it. Just like reading Shakespeare." With that he returned to his book.
"What's so difficult about reading Shakespeare?" asked Anil.
"I don't think he was referring to the condensed shorter versions you read in school when you were ten," I pointed out.
"You mean those weren't the originals?"
And we all laughed.