I was asked to be the Chief Guest and Judge at a Baby Contest today. The invitation was delivered by the woman who was organizing the event and lucky for me, I was not in the office at the time.

Or maybe lucky for her.

But who knows?

To me, the sheer idiocy of a Baby Contest is self-evident. I would not have been able to control my contempt, my disdain, my astonishment had I met the woman face-to-face. I would have turned down her invitation with sarcasm and wit. Withering scorn, perhaps. Amazement. “How are you even alive on this planet?” would have been the gist of my message.

But again, who knows?

The invitation was such a non-starter to me I forgot all about it. Today, walking to Sethi Market to recharge my phone, I passed the place where the Baby Contest was being held. Sethi Market is quiet on a Sunday. Wide roads, few attractions. Today, the roads were jammed. Cars were parked on both sides and people were hurrying toward the venue. A big sign outside announced the Rs 100 entrance charge and parents were lined up waiting to pay. Their babies were with them, all wrapped up in sequins and bows and yards of taffeta and ribbon. Some had hats. Some wore shoes which rang out tunes and whistles.

I had my own baby along with me. Moy Moy is not actually a baby. She is 23 – a grown woman – but since she can’t walk, she was in a stroller. She can’t talk either and to eat, she uses a tube we’ve had surgically inserted into her tummy.

No matter. I am convinced she could win any baby contest, hands down. She is radiantly beautiful. She completes me. Give her the prize.

Or what about my strapping son – 29. Perfect. Or my other daughter – 26. Still my baby, too. Also perfect.

Here’s the funny thing about a Baby Contest. There is only one winner.

This makes sense because everyone knows there is only one Perfect Baby. It is hilarious because every mother has her. Or him. Just ask the mothers.

Or the fathers. Or the grandparents. Ask the slightly older siblings. We all have the perfect baby!!!!

What the hell. Who comes up with these contests anyway? Damn fools.

And yet, there we all go scurrying to sign up for the contest. Because we just know that our little baby is the winner.

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