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A tale of two Paattis

It was the best of IMs. It was the worst of IMs.

The events described here took place about three months ago.

Wifey and I were trying to get the respective parents to chat online with us. In all our naivety, we decided to make a conference chat session out of it. We had 'good' news to share and wanted to do it simultaneously to both sets of parents. Easier planned than done, apparently.

The trial run was on a Wednesday evening ; Thursday morning for them. That session did not go too well. We called them to check their availability. The respective Dads were in a hurry to get out of the house and the Moms were in a hurry to get the men out of the house. We said our goodbyes and promised to call again that weekend and suggested they come online.

Attempt number two, that Saturday ,was more successful - sort of. Wifey's parents could not run Yahoo IM while Skype was installed. Some incompatibility issue that we were invited to resolve. My parents had only Yahoo IM and had no idea if they had Skype. The weight of the news that we had to share prevented us from doing any rational thinking. With the IM situ. they way it was, we pushed it by asking them to switch on their webcams while attempting to broadcast ourselves. Here is where the 'sort of' success kicks in. The in-laws did not receive video but could hear us. The parents could not hear us but could 'see' us. We could not see either of them. We alternated between calling them and doing one heck of a multitasking tech support job for the IMs. For the whole hour that we did this phone-chat show we had not even approached anywhere close to 'the news'.

As they were on different IM clients we could not conference them in the same chat window either. While the mom was talking on the phone, the dad would attempt to 'fix' something and they would log off. It would then be followed by a domestic dispute between the two while we tuned into the show over the phone. We gave up any hope of having them on the same page. At the count of three I typed "You are going to be grandparents" while holding up the ultrasound scan to the webcam. At the same time Wifey was mouthing those words to whoever was on the other end of the phone.  The chaotic hour that preceded it gave way to a stage where things suddenly became very quiet all over. After what seemed like an eternity a smiley appeared on the IM and a low throttle and stretched out "hey..." came over the phone line. This was followed by what can only be conceived as virtual hugs.

That done with, it was all business. Pa-in-law suggested that my job was done and that I should expect to be totally ignored from this point on. Glad to comply. Dad was typing that I should take this as a cue to turn a new responsible leaf. This to a guy who had taken vows, a total seven of them, across a raging fire. With this the Moms (future Grandmas aka Paattis) took over. 'Curb your enthusiasm' and 'duct tape the smirk' was the summary of their advice and for some reason it was directed at me.  We (I) were (was) not to spread the good news just yet. I was then dismissed and some lovey dovey OPoMIPoTT took place with the glowing mom-to-be.  OPoMIPoTT is a Thamizh Culture Phenomenon - Oru Ponnoda Manasu Innoru Ponnukku Thaan Theriyum -suggesting that female cardiologists have a better success rate with female heart patients. Sworn to secrecy I turned down all social interactions diligently. I could have potentially gone for a hike to Mt.Whitney but I didn't. I didn't even visit the apartment gym. That's how much I respected the women in my life.

Still under the fore-mentioned Non-Disclosure agreement, we were shutting ourselves from society. A curious turn of events took place. People from India started phoning in with congratulatory notes. My wife gave me a stare every time the phone rang. People, relatives, friends and telemarketers from India were sending IMs, offline messages, phone calls and emails with congratulatory messages. A pigeon carrier or two might have also found its way. It so happened that the one person who had laid down the strictest rules of secrecy was the one spreading the news faster the speed of sound. That would be my mother - Paatti A. It was almost like the baby was saying - "Beam me up Patti". 

I was flustered. I did call my mom up in an attempt to plead for justice but somehow ended up apologizing. I don't remember what I apologized for but I usually have a buffer of reasons with my mother. Anywise, the gag order apparently did not apply to her and was a yours truly exclusive.

"At least its still a secret in America!" - Wifey always had a positive outlook on all things spinning out of control.

Cue - Paatti B aka Mom-in-law.

This is how the overseas territory was conquered. A couple in our gang of friends in Sunnyvale were expecting a baby. The guy's parents were coming over to help with pregnancy/childbirth and called up Paatti B to say their goodbyes before departure. They asked her when Wifey and I would have 'good news' to share. This somehow got Paatti B indignant and she let them know that we already had 'good news'. So friend's parents called up the friends and let them know that we had 'good news' as well. Kind of breaking news rights that they suddenly possessed. During this call, a second set of friends were in the house with the first set of friends on a social call. So they had to be let in on the news. It follows that this second set are habitual visitors to their apartment laundry room where they met another set of common friends and the secret was shared hoping that the hot news would help dry their clothes faster. For a couple of days the joke was on us. Most of our friends had the task of safeguarding our secret from us. So guess - who was at the receiving of a 'SURPRISE' news. Bad news might travel fast but good news apparently is a lot more wilier - travels fast without a ticket.

A secret is what one tells to everybody not to tell anybody.

"At least we were the first to know!" - Wifey and her lack of pessimism gets me down every now and then. So yeah, we are expecting a baby in March.


  1. Thank you. Is there a desi dads blog network out there?

  2. Anonymous10:43 PM

    Very Witty! Congrats!!

  3. Some call it very vetti. Thanks for your anonymous wishes.;)

  4. awesome write up bro. and the definition of 'secret' LOL. congrats anyway

  5. Thanks da. Although, I think I did suggest the 'good' news the other day and it looked like you congratulated me. It was all lost in the serious vanavaasam discussion ;)

  6. Congrats for the official confirmed news....

  7. Thanks G!
    I think you were the first to know 'unofficially'. ;)

  8. Chk out
    He is one of the desi blogging father's I know of. Well, you can start a grp or you can join us. Reqs: you will be expected to sympathise with women and agree that men play an insignificant process in the whole birthing, child rearing process. :)

  9. Sounds like one of those offers that one shouldn't refuse.

  10. vanavasam of course....but i got the news thru my mom....not that official u see :)

  11. Conrats on the impending dadhood bro. You certainly have style and it is certainly creatively humorous.... Keep writing buddy..

  12. Thanks Ram! Jotting down real events as they happen sometimes supersedes any attempt at fictional humor.