Sorry about the long blog silence. I have been up to a lot of good actually, although right now, mum is the word. But something happened that made me break my self-imposed bloggatical (isn’t that what one should call a blog sabbatical?). My baby and I were accused of trespassing in the neighbouring building garden and reprimanded. By a bunch of senior citizens. Shockingly, all women.
Here are the gory details. We live in a nice old-world building which has a mango tree, a balcony, a few cats (apart from the two that live with us) and mosaic flooring. Sadly, there is no garden. So for Re’s daily dose of fresh air, some flora, and a swing and slide, we used to walk down the lane to an apartment block called Garden Springs (name changed since I don’t want the said ladies lynched). The building has something that qualifies as a garden and Re has two friends there, both of whom he calls ‘baby’ although they are older. The children bond, ride some swing, play some ball (or whatever it is they can find), slide some slide, feel some mud (Re, usually) and we are home in less than an hour.
Till the other day. I was doing my usual thing, taking Re for his evening walk. Suddenly, the watchman comes panting behind me, and says I have to leave, since outsiders are not allowed. I act shocked and ask why. He looks embarrassed and points me in the general direction of a bunch of chairs occupied by a group of ladies, clearly in their sixties. I go upto them and ask, to no one in particular, “I believe you want us to leave.”
One of them says, to no one in particular, “Yes, this is a private property and what you are doing is trespassing.”
I explain to her that what is actually happening is that my son is playing with children of her building, who happen to be his friends and that wouldn’t really qualify as trespassing, would it?
Another one in the group says if they let me, tomorrow anyone can enter the building.
I say the last I checked, I didn’t look like a terrorist, and my son is very zen, so we are obviously of no threat to you. Besides there are no orchids in your garden that I can steal and sell for a fortune. (okay, I think this, but do not say it). Also, I remind them that I have been a regular for the last one year, and how come no one ever stopped me then?
Now, they look at each other, and act even more shocked that such a heinous crime had gone unnoticed. A third one says, we are sorry, but please don’t come to our building from tomorrow.
Now I am enraged. Every bit of me. I realise no point arguing on a technicality, so I try their conscience. Nothing there, I find, not to my surprise. I say elsewhere in the world, people are feeding complete strangers and allowing them in their homes, giving them shelter.They say they don’t care about what is happening in the world, but they want peace in their building and they want to enjoy the evening breeze without having to deal with arguing with the likes of me.
The tenant in me feels I should have sold my soul to EMI and bought a flat in a concrete jungle with manicured gardens and pools that bred monkeys, never mind if it was in a pincode that fell outside city limits. At least it would be ours.
The journalist in me asks for their names and whether I can quote them on their trespassing policies for a 20-month old as it should be written about. I am thinking community journalism. I am thinking neighbourhood politics. I am thinking child rights.
Things go from bad to worse. Re starts crying. That is a sign for me to leave, even if I haven’t quite finished with the geriatrics.
The mother in me comes back home with her child, sheds a silent tear and writes this post.
Obviously, Re has a short term memory of my big fight at his favourite neighbourhood garden, so this morning, as we go for our daily dose of Vitamin D, he drags me into the same scene of the crime. I resist entering the gate. He tugs hard. I let him go, standing outside like Amitabh Bachchan does in Deewar whenever his mother visits the temple. I pray that he notices and comes back, because I don’t want to explain the dirty politics to him. He turns around, finds something amiss and comes waddling back. We find a bougainvillea on the street which hopefully belongs to no one, and sit in its shade, picking flowers that have fallen on the ground. He gets the white, I get the pink. We smile at our new victory and come back home, happy and fortified by the sun.