I wrote this piece in early October 2009, but never thought of posting it (until now, that is).
Since your birth, our – your Mummy and Papa’s – every day has begun and ended with planting a kiss on your body. You are only 10 days shy of your 5-month birthday and you have already taught us lessons of a lifetime (all so nice and sweet) and introduced us to emotions we didn’t know existed.
My heart breaks every morning when I leave home for work. I hug you and kiss you, but mostly you are not interested in this attention. You prefer to drool, try to control your tongue that you discovered only recently, look the other way while enjoying attention, or just make use of your high vantage point to look around and smile at things we had not yet seen, like a crack in the plaster or a patch of dirt on the table. You love your Mickey Mouse cutout and also your two caretakers, Geeta and Shayamala aunty, who you would one day call Ajji.
The day we met you for the first time was not the day of your birth, but the day when we discovered you were hiding inside me, just a tiny cluster of a few tissues, but growing. It was Sunday, 21 September 2008, exactly 15 months since our wedding.
I had been feeling a bit odd for a few days and Papa fetched a home pregnancy kit. At first there was nothing and we were disappointed, and then you showed up, in the form of a bleak second line on the panel. I saw that first and didn’t believe it. I said, “Is there really a second line or am I imagining it?” The line blurred, and I was convinced it was just my imagination. Then tears rolled down my cheeks and there you were…the line had darkened in the few seconds tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. A firm announcement that we had created something that will stir, move, kick, swim, sleep inside me and move, cry, smile, laugh, giggle later. Papa was happy beyond words. We hugged kissed and laughed through wet eyes twinkling with joy and anticipation.
We then called your grandmothers, Nani first, followed by Dadi. Nani would later tell me that she knew I had called to tell her I was pregnant. She said it was obvious from the tinkle in my voice! She told me to take care and see a doctor. Your Dadi did not react first, but asked me to take care of myself and not see a doctor.
Papa was so happy, he doled out warm hugs every few seconds. We went out for lunch to Bon South, a new up-market South Indian restaurant near his office. Then it was time to buy new, flat sandals. I wore a black suit with maroon piping and papa wore jeans. We will never forget this day. It was the happiest day of our life until then. I regret not taking any pictures of us, but we did take a few of you.
You arrived on a Tuesday morning. You were in the doctor’s arm, crying like someone had punched you. My first words when I saw you were “he’s just like his father”. They took you away to a table not more than four feet away and I saw them cleaning your windpipe, throat etc and you oscillated between protesting and allowing them to clean you. Then, they wrapped you in a green sheet and brought close to me, close enough for me to see your watery skin and the folds under your eyes. I planted a kiss on your cheek and off they went to show you to your dad, Papa.