Punjabi Auntie

As I wait for those 15 minutes at the bus stop looking out for the school bus to arrive, my brain cooks up stories of every day people I watch- of kids in uniforms. of aunties in track suits. of uncles taking pets out for a walk. of grand parents crossing the streets with grand children ,

My son waits to meet Kushi. A bubbly 5 old Punjabi kid that takes the same bus as him. Kushi tags along with her grand ma, lets call her Punjabi auntie. There is something about Punjabi auntie . I don’t know why but my heart warms up every time I see her . May be its her smile that she flashes to all and sundry as we wait for the bus. She is friends with a lot of moms is what I see.

Punjabi auntie stays with her son and daughter in law, both of whom lead busy lives in our metro. Punjabi auntie drops the 2 kids at the bus stop and picks then back at 2 PM . Punjabi auntie doubles up as the care taker in momma’s absence. Kushi gets to get back home from school. no holed up in a one room day care . Auntie mutters under her breath how difficult it is to handle a 5 year old tantrum throwing Kushi, what with Kushi sprinting off in her school uniform to a friends place as soon as she gets off the bus at 1 PM. The task then rests with auntie to trace her , get her home and get her to eat her lunch. Auntie plays referee as she watches 2 of her grand kids fight over the TV remote.

As auntie narrates her every day adventures with her grand kids, the scenes play on my mind like a movie. Auntie must be mutteting curses at her grand kids, that trouble her, that keep running on to the road as they await the buses.

The bus arrives. The son boards it The bus waits a few seconds for kids that arrive late. Auntie chuckles. I assume auntie is popular in her apartment. She must be friends with the many North Indian families and must be bonding over vraths and pooja paats, that are so common in the apartments

Yesterday auntie expressed child like curiosity when she said they were all going to Goa for Dussehra vacation.I thought auntie needed a break too , just like her son and daughter in law , After all managing 2 bratty kids all day in the absence of their parents must not be easy

The other parents and auntie ensure all kids get into the bus and no one missed it, even if that means making the bus wait for a good 5 min. I like that camaraderie. They signal, they shout ” Jaldi bulao” Jaldi bulao. Wait wait, kids are coming.  That kind of camaraderie , you find only in apartment complexes.

Would they wait for us too if we arrived late ?? I wonder.

The bus leaves. I walk back home, a dozen thoughts juxtaposed in my already clouded brain. I walk back thinking about auntie, about her family, about my bugs waiting to be solved, Of rajma to be soaked in water for the evening dinner.

What would life be for that working couple with 2 kids if auntie didn’t move in from Lucknow with them ?

How nice of auntie to let go of her hometown and to embrace a city like Bangalore her home

What a great support system grand parents play in today’s India. With women working and families still wanting to have 2 kids, imagine how topsy turvy life could be , if you had no one to help

.. and I think I know why my heart warms up to this auntie. It is because of  just one phrase I have begun to love post my baby –  and that word is SUPPORT SYSTEM !


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