Monday, June 25, 2012


It's a beautiful place. This bed by the window with the park outside. All the breeze of this gracious city seems to be blowing in my direction through the window. 

Al had a minor throat surgery on the 21st. While her sister and I waited outside the surgery room in the morning, two women were taken in for delivery. Their families were outside, fretting, nervous, expectant. One of them had a little girl expecting a younger sibling, another one was a large family with a really tall and strong looking would-be-father. Suddenly, some of the staff came near the door and asked for the first woman's husband. He cautiously went near the door. And then, I saw a hand stretch out from the other side of the door, shaking this guy's hand, and a voice congratulating him, and telling him words like 'healthy' and '2.75 kgs'. My eyes were fixed on this new dad's face now, and a smile was plastered on my face. He was smiling wide too, and then he walked towards his family and picked up his little girl as he shared the news. I was still grappling with the enormity of the moment, when the voice from inside called out for the family again, and then, a tiny being on a trolley was brought out. It was the pinkest and tiniest baby I had ever seen, and I realized, with a lump in my throat, that I happened to have a glimpse of him at the same moment as his father and his family. Everyone around was almost in giggles. Some women from the other family had also surrounded the baby. I kept myself from congratulating the father, not wanting to violate his immensely personal moment. He kept clicking pictures till the baby was carried away from his sight in the lift, to be taken to the care room. 

The restlessness in the other family was evident now. This tall man was most probably expecting his first child and was surrounded by lots of family members, including, I guess, his and his wife's parents. I heard him telling an elderly man of the family, probably his father, that there was nothing to worry and that these were seasoned doctors. By the sight of him though, it looked more like self assurance to me. This time, he was called from the other door, and he went alone to get the news as his family had just drifted away to the door through which the first baby was brought out. He just received the news and stood there, with no expression on his face. My heartbeat stopped with suspense. His family had surrounded him now and were begging him to say something. He finally uttered, "Baby.." and started to weep. There was a very brief but very chilly silence, and then his mom/mom-in-law rubbed his shoulder and said, "It's ok..". He now said, "Boy"...."Baby boy!", still in tears. My heart started to beat again, and there were smiles on every face in the family, accompanied by tears in the case of the women. He was congratulated, slapped gently for almost giving everyone a heart attack, and then, calls were made and news was spread. After a few seconds, everyone was smiling, and on calls, but he sat there in silence, that tall heap of a man, dealing with the magnitude of the feeling, and wiping his tears. I wiped a tear or two too, I guess.

Soon, another trolley was brought out carrying a weight of 3.8 kgs and large round eyes. The father looked like he was scared to go too close. He just stood there, smiling a serene smile till this baby was taken away too.

I wondered a long while at my extraordinary luck, and at the fact that I will figure as a side character in a very important chapter of these people's lives. And then, I read a friend's post and realized it was solstice, the longest day of the year. It had to have something special about it, didn't it?

Well, I started pacing to and fro after the second baby was taken away too, because Al's surgery, which was supposed to take 45 mins, had already taken an hour and fifteen minutes. Finally, the doctor came out and informed us that it was over and she was fine, and that she was to be kept in the observation room for an hour and a half and then sent to the room directly. She is fine now, and enjoying the prescription of icecream and milk shakes at regular intervals.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I miss home today. I have never had a 'home' home owing to the transferable nature of Dad's postings. I never had a place where I 'grew up'. So I guess I grew up with just that familiar protective nest of family, no aangans, no summer gardens, no permanent neighbourhood chachas and gubbare wallahs, no ageless neem trees. I have always felt the absence of these things, and the helplessness of a life being shut and reopened every three years, change of schools, change of friends, till the point that I began to suspect that it didn't affect me any more. But I have never missed an anchor in life. They have always been there; the two firm pillars of my existence who hand-made a picture perfect family with love, sweat and immense patience. I didn't know strife in a family. I never heard a raised adult voice directed at another. I want to go back to that. That innocence and that complete devotion to the idea of a family. We were family, and we didn't know any other way to be.
I miss them. I want to be with them and show them the beauty that I see, because they raised me to appreciate it. Because they smiled at my first ever ridiculous poem and said it was brilliant. Because they encouraged me to re-draw a sketch that I had unfairly traced, and made me believe that the honest one was the more beautiful one. 
I miss nana nani and dadi. I miss those houses where time never advances. Just that the number of people in them reduces significantly over the years. I miss that tradition of calling out people's names from the third floor to the ground floor, and that running around on those endless stairs. I miss Dadi's prayers and her intoxicating voice and devotion. I am not doing justice here, because these are not things you write about. They are not relevant. In fact, when is perfection ever relevant? This was not supposed to be about nostalgia though. This was supposed to be about now. About wanting to go back and be with them. All of us fragments at one place, on one large bed under one razaai on a winter night playing antaakshari. 
I am very tired. Dadi's bhajan is playing, not in my head, but somewhere deep, really deep inside my chest.

Love and Hope

Only love has given us this thread
that we so proudly tie around us

All places, all ages have tangled and untangled
in the unhappiness and joy that we know

Only hope has brought us this cup
that we drink so joyously from

All sadness, all loss, we swallow
in this elixir of unknowing

We are made of crystal cups
strewn together with silken threads

Fragile. Beautiful.

Random thought

We waste too many precious things fretting about the future. If we are happy now, why would we not be so in the future? Wasn't now future too? But we survived, right? And quite brilliantly at that. Lets not blow the unknown out of proportion. Let's allow life to happen.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

You and Me

What is the big deal about religion anyway? I am not religious, and I feel fine. I do believe in a higher power, but I do not need him/her to wear certain clothes or look a certain way or speak in a certain language. Still, when things go wrong, there is something that calms me and makes me realize my own strength. Yes, my strength. I just need to be reminded of that from time to time. And I need to believe in a better tomorrow. To me, that is what belief is. Everything else is just stories. I believe because I need to. Because I need to give myself the assurance that I am in control, being the tiny, insignificant speck in the universe that I am. But that is all. Isn't this something very personal? I don't see why I need you to believe the same things. You may like stories. We all like some stories. And it is okay that you believe in them. Can we not let each other be? Can I not love you despite your (very personal) beliefs and your highly individual choices? If you look close enough, everything in the world is a paradox. Even what I am typing right now. And that is why we need flexibility and acceptance. I do not need to convert you. I do not need to hate you. A little love would be just fine for us.