Everything that can go wrong will… and then some.
We didn’t think about Murphy’s Law when we discussed plans for Amit’s birthday. His birthday was on Sunday, but he was also flying out to Tokyo on Sunday night, so celebrations, if any, would have to be on Saturday evening. Amit was keen on calling a few friends home and providing home-cooked food for dinner, but eventually this plan (thankfully) fell through.
By Saturday afternoon, I was suffering agonies thanks to a severe headache brought on by Sinusitis. In the thick of a torrential downpour, I drove myself to the doctor, who prescribed, amongst other things, Valium tablets (!?!).
The day was looking rather bleak, and Amit was in the mood to give up entirely on the birthday plans, when I persuaded him that just because we now have two little girls doesn’t mean we should give up on life altogether and stay at home and order in even on special occasions. So, we bravely (foolishly!) decided to go to the usual venue for Amit’s birthday dinner – Taj West End. This five star hotel used to have a wonderful Thai food restaurant called Paradise Island. A couple of years ago, they changed the name to Blue Ginger and the cuisine to Vietnamese – things have never been quite the same since. Still, it was our tradition so we decided to go ahead with it.
Duly, at 9 p.m., the torrential downpour notwithstanding, the four of us were seated at a comfortable table at Blue Ginger. On our left was a couple so thoroughly entwined in each other as to be oblivious to all else. On our right was a foreign (German?) woman eating alone. Behind was the downpour, in front a certain quantity of empty space.
The dinner, in short, was a fiasco. The twins were happily restless for 20 minutes, cranky for another 20. In an hour or so, Tara finally slept, but Mrini remained awake till we were almost home around 11.30! She swung between cheerful, restless, and thirsting for adventure in the form of outings with the restaurant staff; and sleepy, howling, and unable to sleep. We tried all manner of things, but nothing helped. The drinks, appetizer, soup, and main course were served and consumed amidst complete chaos and Amit and I had no opportunity to exchange more than a dozen words between ourselves, what with trying to pacify the kids and fill our own stomachs.
Well, all we can say is, we tried. It is easy to see why baby sitters are a popular option, but one that neither of us is much in favour of.
We returned home tired, frustrated, hungry, and poorer to a substantial extent.
That, however, was not all. My Sinusitis had taken a back seat in the midst of all the action, but Amit had meanwhile developed a seriously red eye which had begun to give a thick, gooey discharge, coupled with a gritty feeling and blurred vision. Conjunctivitis, I diagnosed, and an early morning visit to the local doctor on Sunday proved me right. The doctor apparently thought it was so contagious that he took only a quick look from a safe distance, prescribed some eye drops, and got rid of Amit in extremely short order.
Amit had already had one rather dramatic experience of being severely ill in a foreign country; neither he nor I was keen for a repeat experience of that sort. Besides, with a condition so contagious, was it really ok to go spending more than ten hours aboard two flights, putting all one’s co-passengers at risk? Would Singapore Airlines, Singapore (the country), and Japan even allow him into the plane/country looking the way he did?
Putting the eye drops every couple of hours didn’t make any significant difference to the redness of the infected eye, so by 5 p.m. on Sunday, with great reluctance, he decided he would have to at least postpone his official trip. A couple of hours spent on the phone and he had pushed out his departure by 24 hours.
This was good news, because it meant we could at least have his birthday dinner together. By now, we knew better than planning an outing – a quick phone call and a vast quantity of rich Indian food was delivered home by 9 p.m.