Now that I’ve been taking my son downstairs to play, I have been meeting and slowly befriending other moms in our apartment complex. It’s a new experience for me; especially since I don’t have many close friends in this city anymore. So it’s actually been fun meeting some like-minded people who are going through similar things (potty training, weaning, trying to feed kids without the TV on…you know, real deep stuff!)
So I was taking my son down to the park for a walk. This energetic kid comes over (he must be about 3 and a half; my son who is one and a half,) and starts playing with him. He’s a cute little feller, I have seen several times from my window, riding his tricycle and generally making merry and letting all that toddler energy out.
Cute Feller proceeds to play with my son, saying ‘Hello baby!’ And, ‘Come to the slide!’ And ‘Aunty, so small a baby!’
His mom saunters over and I smile at her, she smiles at my son and says ‘Oh, how cute! What is your name?’
I reply ‘His name’s Raghav. Raghav say hi!’ (My son can manage saying something that sounds somewhat like a hi.)
Since she has come over, I thought it would be polite to start a conversation.
Me: “Your son is a handsome little guy! And so friendly too!”
Cute Feller’s Mom: Smiles weakly.
Me: “I’ve seen him zipping around on his tricycle in the mornings.”
Cute Feller’s Mom: Smiles vaguely; does not seem happy with the fact that I have seen her son riding his tricycle. She has this skeptical look; as if I am a baby-stalker.
The boys are getting along fabulously and pulling each other in different directions. They show no signs of letting up.
Then I introduce myself.
Me: ‘Sorry I didn’t introduce myself; I’m M and I live in building number 3.”
Cute Feller’s Mom: Smiles like she is stuck in an elevator with her nasty boss.
Me: ‘Do you also live in building number 3?’
Cute Feller’s Mom: (looks more uncomfortable,) ‘Nope. Building no 2.”
Me: ‘Oh that’s great; you guys have a nice view! What’s your name?’
Cute Feller’s Mom: (Looks shell-shocked. Like I am asking her a nuclear secret.) ‘S. My name is S. Ok, I’ll catch you around! Cute Feller, come, let’s go!’
Me: (a little crestfallen,) “Bye Cute Feller! Nice meeting you S!”
Cute Feller’s mom pulls him away and I carry on.
A few days later, I saw her at the grocer’s next door and she didn’t even smile; just a vapid stare like I had snot coming out from my nose. (Which I assure you, I did not. )
A week after this, I was twirling Raghav on the merry-go-round. She was heading to the playground while texting on the phone…she looked up, saw me and veered away with son in tow.
Cute Feller’s mom clearly does not like me. Or like the fact that I noticed her son, or asked her what her name was, and which building she lived in, because that is a nuclear secret. That information is meant to be more classified than the whereabouts of defecting/disappeared Scientologists.
I mean, considering that we live in the same apartment complex and will see each other at all the Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s, and Holi parties and every other social event in between, there was very little chance that I would have found out right?
Now, when she sees me in the park, she literally takes her son and moves away….dodgy and uncomfortable; all suspicious-like. Then she heads back to her building, scooping up her son and moving as quickly as possible, since she thinks I’m a baby-stalker. (Maybe I should go up to her and say, ‘Hey, you and your son would make great accessories for my windowless white van that’s parked in the basement! I’ve got Monopoly too; let’s go!!’)
Did I break the rules of playground etiquette?
Do I ask too many questions?
Are you not supposed to talk to other mothers in a playground?
Because I know I am not malodorous and I always check if I have anything stuck between my teeth before I step out.
And here is my Last-Minute Mango & Peach Crumble, which I literally threw together in a rush a few weeks ago because we had a surprise guest and I didn’t have the time or resources to bake a cake.
LAST-MINUTE MANGO AND PEACH CRUMBLE
There really aren’t any exact proportions you should follow; I made this with whatever I had and just went with my instinct.
- 10-12 digestive biscuits
- 1/4 cup cold butter, chopped into pieces
- 1 cup prepared vanilla custard, cooled to room temperature
- 2 medium-sized mangoes, peeled and diced (a less fibrous variety works best)
- 2 peaches, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons lime/lemon juice
- First, prepare your custard. I used regular packaged custard powder; if you would like to prepare it from scratch, go right ahead! Once it is thickened, cover with cling film so that it doesn’t form a skin on top. Allow your custard to cool to room temperature.
- Next, crush the digestive biscuits and work in the cold butter with your fingers, till the mixture gets nice and crumbly.
- In a bowl, put the diced fruit, honey, lime juice, nuts and saffron and combine well.
- In a baking dish or deep serving bowl, place your juicy fruit at the bottom. Pour the custard over the top and chill for 15 mins in your fridge.
- Once chilled, spread the crumbled digestive biscuits over the top and gently pat down. Keep chilled before serving.
It’s quick and yummy. If you are really rushed for time, you can easily substitute the custard with store-bought, ready-to-eat vanilla pudding. And of course, digestive biscuits can be replaced with graham crackers.
Maybe I should eat more of this and get less touchy about moms who may not want to socialize on the playground.
Disclaimer: This post is in jest, people. I do not, nor will I ever, own a windowless white van and stick it in the basement.