The Falling Out

The mood around here has been a rather somber one. They are sitting at either ends of the sofa. Some of the looks I am seeing as they accidentally cross eyesight, as if looks could kill. There was a bit of a skirmish in the kitchen last night! And they are now, avoiding each other like the plague. This situation has reminded me of a time in Goa, at the apartment I rented in Panaji, (in India) the states capital city. I had arrived there with two very small babies and Bharti, our Indian nanny. She had brought with her a woman named Geeta. It turned out that Geeta was in fact Bharti’s sons, wife’s mother. The apartment was two bedroomed and I had one room and Bharti and Geeta shared the second room with the twins, Tara and Amritsar. The babies slept on the top of the middle, of a double bed and the ladies either slept on both sides, or more often than not, on a folded duvet or a blanket on the hard concrete, tiled floor. Now sleeping on the floor in the U.K. seems rather strange, but in Indian terms, often a two bedroom apartment might sleep up to ten people. In fact, however many people the family might be. Unlike here in the U.K. there is not only the children to accommodate, but elderly parents maybe, a second set of in-laws possibly, grown children, grandchildren, you get the picture. A lot of people (and I’m talking about the middle class also here), people just get used to (at sometime or another), sleeping on the floor. It is accepted that the culture manages larger family units in this way! There is no care for the elderly outside of the family home. And in-laws, sometimes, must just coexist and get along as one big, happy family. Back to the memory of ‘The Falling Out’ then. I was just back from visiting my very good friend Kayla, who had also used the services of a surrogate in India, to carry her embryos to term. Her twins were born a day before the girls. Anyhow, I arrived in to what could only be described as an atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. I did my very best to try and avoid the situation diplomatically, but the two women were not acknowledging one another. They both looked extremely angry and stormed about the apartment in silence. Occasionally they were just looking into space, completely ignoring the other! Other time was spent in separate rooms, or one would be at one end of the living room and the other at the opposing end. The situation was socially dire, but both, quite independently continued to care for the twins, every now and then as required. Things continued in this manner throughout that evening and although I felt uncomfortable, I left it until the next day to broach Bharti on the matter. I asked if she was okay and that ‘This Situation’ had to come to an end. ‘Mr Andi’ she exclaimed ‘That woman will be leaving on the bus, to return to Mumbai the day after tomorrow, in the morning, very early’. I did not inquire at the time, as to what had brought about the situation, but later found out that it was to do with money, not an uncommon thing in India. Bharti went on to reassure me that her mother would be joining us in a couple of days and that I should also forget that I had ever met Geeta! Well, that was that. The mood continued for another day, Geeta disappeared into the ether and Bharti’s mother arrived on the bus – a journey of some twelve hours. I believe that Geeta had told Bharti that she (Bharti) should return to Mumbai and leave her (Geeta) to look after the girls. And for that Geeta wanted to take the lions share of the money. We were paying Bharti very well by Indian standards, forty pounds a day plus a smaller amount for Geeta. It seems that Geeta wanted it all. From what I believe, the two women have not spoken to this day. Bharti essentially asked her to leave the family home in Mumbai and the doors were firmly closed to any possible return. So back to today and last nights big ‘Falling Out’. I am of course referring to Remus and Gracie. Did you really think it could have been any of the children? The dogs were begging, as they do in the kitchen, after our roast pork dinner. I placed the meat roasting tin on the ground for them to share. I think Remus tried his luck and began to nudge Gracie away. She was having none of it, so she growled at him, barked, then snapped at him. Although he is the top dog, she sometimes tries to assert herself over him. And on this occasion, she was successful and Remus ran off, tail between legs. They have been either ignoring each other or sat at opposed ends of the sofa ever since. Very emotional creatures, dogs. But ‘Falling Out’ over the licks from the roasting pan, crazy! I am sure that they will cheer up soon and things will get back to normal. The same could not be said for Bharti and Geeta.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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