Yesterday was mine and Elise’s eighth wedding anniversary. Despite the rest of our shipment from DC arriving at 5:00, Elise and I were able to ignore the stack of cardboard boxes and clean ourselves up sufficiently to enjoy a wonderful dinner at the Raintree in the Taj Connemara hotel, one of the nicest in Chennai.
I had a couple of Kingfishers, and Elise treated herself to an aromatic curry leaf martini. It also had lime and sugar, but when you brought the drink to your lips (and Elise was generous enough to let me have a sip), you were greeted first by the wonderfully sweet scent of the curry leaf floating on top the neon green liquid.
We also had tiger prawns, coconut rice, and a curry masala with paneer and green peas. We took an auto there and back, weaving and darting through rush hour traffic.
When we got home, Shanti, the babysitter, gave us some exciting news. The tooth that had been wiggling in Sam’s mouth for the past week or so had finally popped out while he was eating a piece of pizza.
Elise and I slipped our shoes off and snuck into Sam’s room. I reached my hand under his pillow but couldn’t find the tooth. It’s surprising how hard it is to find a tooth in the dark through mosquito netting. Elise procured a tiny flashlight and found it on the floor. It seemed so small in her hand, truly like something that belonged to a baby and not to our oldest budding boy.
We weren’t sure what the going rate for a tooth was in India, but we settled on 100 rupees, enough to sound to a six-year old like a small fortune, while at the same time only setting us back a buck or two.
The next morning, Sam sprung from his room clutching the crisp bill in his hands, wondering what he could buy with 100 rupees. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the Chima lego he has his heart set on is like 5,000 rupees, but managed to convince him that he might be better served saving the 100 rupees to buy something he really wants rather than spending it right away.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have fifty teeth, but he is now eager to do things around the house that are “above and beyond” that which we request of him on a daily basis in order to earn an allowance that he is to receive on Sundays, but that I invariably forget to give him.
I’m fairly certain that now that he has his first 100 rupee note in hand, he won’t let me forget again.