House visits are fun (sometimes embarassing) when you take Adiv. Usually it is the very indulgent family. They bring out forgotten toys and books, play music and dance along, and often grant him the permission to play with the cushions. With strangers I'm more guarded. For fear of having him destroy expensive breakables, I trail him (something I do even when we visit family) and make futile attempts at distracting him with toys I've packed in my bag. He is rarely interested, as the prospect of exploring a new home seems far more fun.
Recently, when a cousin was in town, we decided to visit family we hadn't seen in ages. So we told an aunt that we'd come by, but before that we'd decided to visit my cousin's old boss.
Living in an expensive block of apartments, Mr Boss, Mrs Boss and their kids had recently moved to Bangalore, after a long stint in Mumbai. Mr Boss was my cousin's first boss, and they'd kept in touch over the years, eventually graduating from colleagues to friends.
"He is a nice, though quiet man", said my cousin. He however warned us about his wife. When he started work, he was the only one who mustered enough courage to talk to her. The rest of the office was terrified of her. No, she wasn't the typical Mrs Boss. She was just very intelligent, opinionated, and reserved. Her reserve gave her an air of snobbishness that made her a wee bit intimidating.
When we reached their apartment complex, our simple santro was stopped at the gate, while the bigger cars whizzed past the gates. Laughing, and telling ourselves we needed the exercise anyway, we walked past the gates after signing in. We found their building, and took the lift to the 6th floor. Then we stood outside the door, rang the bell, and waited. Mr Boss opened the door, looking mighty pleased to see my cousin. (He was surprised to see us though!). He moved aside to let us in, and we spotted Mrs Boss behind him. She gave us forced smiles, thawing a bit on spotting my cousin behind us. He walked in comfortably, chatting and asking about their kids. Meanwhile Mrs Boss guided us to their designer furniture. Some polite conversation later, she stood up to get us some eats. Perhaps to break the ice, or maybe quell the growing awkwardness, Mr Boss made a strange suggestion.
"Want to see our house?"
Not knowing how to respond, we agreed, following him slowly. Mrs Boss threw him a perplexed, slightly annoyed look when she saw us wander in. Oblivious to her apparent displeasure, Mr Boss continued giving us the tour. We went from room to room, even surprising their people-shy sons who were each locked up in their rooms. Mr Boss even urged us to enter their rooms and take a look at the wood work, the balconies, the design.....!Meanwhile Adiv was running wild, exploring every nook, paying a lot of attention to the cupboards and keys that were within his reach. When I saw him climbing one of the beds, I carried him away with promises of trips in the car, icecream after dinner, and cookies in both hands. The tour ended in the balcony that overlooked a crowded, popular mall on one side, and a busy street on the other.
The eats arrived. Adiv was given a biscuit, and the rest of us sipped some juice. The conversation now centered on real estate. Not even remotely interested, Adiv chose this moment to get off Ro's lap and run. Worried he'd take (or worse break) something, I ran behind him. I gave Mrs Boss an apologetic look as I ran behind Adiv. Mr Boss assured me that they'd been through this stage. Mrs Boss was quiet. I smiled and rushed in, only to find Adiv make himself comfortable. His shoes had come off, and he'd climbed on the bed. He had even pulled out a pillow from underneath the bedspread. Shocked, I rushed forward, muttered a few threats, made the bed, and carried him back into the living room. Luckily, by then, everyone was ready to leave. An ecstatic Adiv, screamed "Car" and rushed to the door. Very sweetly he waved at everyone. Mr and Mrs Boss chose to come down with us. Mr Boss wanted to give us a tour of their complex.
"We have two pools, one indoors and one outdoors."
"We have an inhouse library and beauty parlour."
"No badminton court", I wondered amused! We had that, in addition to a pool that we barely used now.
We feigned interest by making appropriate sounds, and hoped the tour would end. It ended eventually with a tour of the garden. Adiv ran around happily, and by then even Mrs Boss had warmed up to him. She smiled, and asked questions about him. She even waved at him with equal enthusiasm when we left. Adiv was happy in the car. He enjoyed his outing, and meeting new people. He hadn't been naughty either, except for wanting to wander around in their house. Nevertheless, we came away deciding we'd stick to family, friends, and baby-friendly homes, till Adiv got older and less curious about new surroundings.
Tomorrow we go to the Zoo!
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