..this could probably be the title of my next book. I need to get down to writing it. That of course, would be possible if I got some time to myself between doing school and pool pick up and drop duty. Okay. Little whine done with. The fact remains that I now have new and shining respect for parents who do this, for years, take their children day in day out for practice, training, travel with them to their camps and meets and put all they have to make their children into sportspersons, because, let’s face it, except for cricket and golf, there is no glory nor money in most sports in India. We have the sharpshooters who brought home gold, we have the wrestlers who did us proud in international sporting meets, we have Mary Kom who made me realise that all my cribbing about how having a baby cuts short a career was just so much self consolatory crap.
Anyway, to get back to being a pool mom, I’ve been on evening pool duty for the better part of the last month. I must admit that it is not a duty I enjoy given that I have donated enough blood to the welfare of the resident mosquitoes association to revel in the task. To add to it is the pressure, the pressure.
There are other pool moms around. These are very earnest ladies, fully committed to the cause of their kids bring home the metallic stuff on ribbons and in plaques and in trophy form are completely clued in as to timings of record holders in various strokes from Mumbai district level, to state level, to national level, to international level. Give me a moment while I catch my breath again. They sit in groups discussing, nutrition, stroke technique, free hand exercises and such while I run yelping in fear into distant corners, where I stand, trembling with embarrassment at having absolutely no clue about all what they’re discussing.
Not content with intimidating me in this manner, there are a couple of moms who add to mine feeling of having crawled out from under a rock by being epitomes of fitness, all lean taut muscle, zero body fat, and such like. I hide my mounds of quivering blubber behind pillars and chairs in their presence. Then there are the impeccable ones. One of this category, the other night, at 8 pm, turned up in a lovely floral chiffony blouse, skin fit denims and gasp, hold your breath, coordinated floral wedgeheels and hair band with, you guessed it, coordinated floral arrangement of the artificial variety. Her make up too was firmly in place, with coordinated pink lipstick, echoing tones of roses on aforementioned floral top. I picked my jaw up from the tile on the floor it had cracked and quickly skipped behind a table, thereby effectively pretending the loose flowing kaftan like top I had garbed myself in to protect arms from mosquito assault was invisible to the casual onlooker, and the fraying at the seams Osho chappals too stayed out of line of vision. Of course, there was naught to be done about the face which was unpowdered and probably doing its best imitation of a beacon right now, and the world would have to lump that horror and not whine too much about it having put them off their dinner and such.
I have lessons learnt though. The first being that I need to get more involved in the nitty gritties of the sport the brat is in serious training for. It would not do any longer to stare blankly when a pool mom asks about fly timings and I visually the trajectory of a housefly being plotted. I will also get a trifle more serious about presenting a fitter self to the world. It does seem rather ridiculous to have the spawn of the womb in intensive training, while one tucks one’s spare tyres inch by inch into the trousers, and does the hold breath button up exhale routine. And third, the ganji flipflop look will not do anymore. I shall be coordinated, presentable and hair combed neatly in my pool appearances hence forth. This also means ensuring the scrunchie holding the hair off my face is in the same colour family as at least one item of clothing, and that the footwear be either serious running shoes or at least also in the same colour family as one item of clothing on my body.
Gah, whom am I kidding? I’m not cut out for this pool mom business. I will continue to spend my hours at poolside nose buried into twitter, blinking nervously at people around me when I come up for air. I will still throw on a shirt that is closest at hand to make self respectable in public situation over whatever it is I happen to be wearing at home before setting out for poolside duty. I will still not care about free, fly, breast and back records and confuse them all unapologetically.
My only task here is escort duty, the drop, the hanging around in case of being needed and the pick up. My other reason for being here is that I firmly believe that we need to instil some sporting discipline in our children. And my final reason, the child loves it. As long as he does, I’ll be a pool mom.