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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014…



It’s already time to bid adieu to 2014 and yes it’s been a wonderful year, barring a few bitter episodes. Looking back at the year and the incidents it’s amusing to see how time flies… After all, time is round and it has to roll very quickly… 

The year began with many positive vibes. I and Vij visited Mysore on the New Year. There was a dual purpose: one visiting a temple and secondly, buying a thali and booking tickets for Kollur. My best friend Chethana was getting married to her longtime friend Vijay (need another post to say about their love) in Kollur on Jan 3 and we were to select a Malayali thali for her, as the groom is a Mallu! 

Latha’s marriage
We met Usman, one of my best friends who took us to Sri Lakshmi Venkataramana Swamy Temple in Vontikoppal. I had visited this temple several times with friends when doing PG. The place brought back several bitter-sweet memories to us. Sweet because, one of our friends had secretly married to her boyfriend there, bitter because her marriage couldn’t survive for long.  

My senior Latha (studying Philosophy) was three years elder to Nagesh (studying Sociology) and love is blind as they say and age never came between them! Belonging to two different castes, both had to face stiff resistance from their respective families. It was fun to see these couple and we offered whatever help we could in those days. During my final year PG, the couple decided to tie the knot secretly without informing either of the families, and they were successful in doing it. 

I almost forgot them after my PG and one day suddenly I bumped into Latha in Bangalore after 3-4 years. She had lost faith in life, faith on people, had attempted to end her life… When I asked about her married life, she burst out into tears and said they got separated two years ago! Nagesh being younger to her had lost interest in her soon after the wedding. He even convinced her to abort their child twice and she accepted to lose her pregnancy to save her marriage… 

Very soon his eyes fell on a rich single woman whose husband was working in Dubai. Even before getting the divorce, Nagesh had deserted Latha to marry that rich woman! All this happened within no time and his parents kicked him out of the house in support of their daughter-in-law. They were even ready to give his share of property to her but couldn’t do so as Nagesh’s two elder brothers opposed it. Latha had no choice but to leave the house and go to Bangalore in search of a job, as she had lost her greedy husband to some other woman.

Wedding in Kollur
Coming back to the point, after visiting the temple Usman took us to meet his family. Then we went to buy a thali for Chethana. I was very happy as I had not got the opportunity to select my own thali when I got married and here I get a chance to select one for her. We bought one which I would have chosen for myself seven years ago for my wedding and yes, she was very happy indeed to see my choice.

We were excited to attend their wedding in Kollur after two days. Though the journey was not as pleasant as we had expected, we got some quality time to spend together with them. It was our first visit to the temple and definitely not the last one… Chethana and Vijay entered the wedlock on Jan 3 between 7 and 7.30 am in front of Goddess Mookambika. We planned for an outing in Jan-end and Vij promised to come back from Doha and we had a good time together for a week. 

Sweet news
January passed by and there was a surprise from both the sides. In February, there was sweet news to exchange. Chethana was expecting and when I met my gynaec, she said tests were positive and I had to visit her again for a scanning. Vij was extremely happy and nervous as well. This was not the first time we had such a moment, we had such news thrice and I had lost three pregnancies and so we were hesitant to enjoy or celebrate it. 

During my next visit when she showed me a six-week-old foetus growing inside, all I said was, “Oh, it looks like a rat!” which amused the doc. She said with a grin, “It’s your baby, Chaitra. You are becoming mom. Congratulations.” “I agree, but seriously it looks like a rat,” I said controlling my excitement and fear, the constant fear of losing my pregnancy, losing my child again.

Before leaving her cabin, I said, “If it’s a boy I’ll name him after Buddha. He will be Siddhartha. He will be the little monk, the Buddha, the enlightenment of our life.” “What if it’s a girl?” she asked and all I said was, “I don’t know. Haven’t thought a name for a girl. If at all I get a baby boy, he would be Siddhartha. I have been influenced a lot by Buddhism and this name has been lingering in my mind since my college days…” 

The doc noticed tears in my eyes and did her best to boost up my spirit and convinced me that I would not lose this fourth child. I had held such scanning reports three times earlier and our happiness had not lasted longer. This time, we felt something positive will happen, something will save my child, something will make us happy and by year-end we will be parents. The little monk was destined to born, he was to change our lives forever…

Long wait
Every scanning report showed the baby growing steadily. Each scanning image sent to Vij made him happy, though the constant fear haunted both of us. Most of the things happened in a strange manner, most of the dates, either the conception, test report, scanning, everything fell on Buddhist numbers (will write another post on this topic), making me to firmly believe that the little monk will definitely arrive. As sex determination is prohibited in India I had to wait to see if it’s a boy or a girl till I arrived in Doha. 

After three months, with a fear in mind I travelled back to Doha with the little one inside. Thankfully, I never experienced fatigue or morning sickness throughout my pregnancy. The little one was nice to me though he kicked me always throughout. 

After a month when I went for scanning at Hamad Women’s Hospital, the Filipino sonographer said, “It’s a boy, ma’am.” Vij looked little upset as he was expecting a little girl. Later when we went to a private clinic, the doc again confirmed it as a boy. As it was already five months we were certain that it’s not a girl, but a boy who is knocking the doors of our life! Two more scanning reports at Hamad Hospital in the next two months reconfirmed the gender and we were all set to welcome our little bundle of joy. 

Ugly episodes
As per my wish, when I was seven months, Vij brought me back to India for delivery. Surprisingly, the people who used to taunt me for not becoming mother all of a sudden disappeared. Neither did they call to wish nor check my health even once when I was in Doha. 

A man who had tauntingly asked me within six months of my marriage, “Why are you not getting pregnant while staying with Vij when my daughter-in-law got pregnant while my son is living in Bangalore?” also disappeared. (But after my baby shower at my place, he called my father twice to check if I’m expecting with a baby girl! He thought we had conducted a gender determination test at my place and had forgotten the simple fact that it is illegal to do that test in India.)

A woman who had sarcastically told her relatives in front of me that “she has time to study and work, but not to become mother” was also not in the scene anymore! (But she wanted to see my scanning reports and wanted to know if the baby moved left or right!) 

An unmarried (I had thought so!) female, who was on a job-hunt and had passed an unpleasant remark by saying, “You may not get a child when you want if you don’t get it now”, also kept mum after knowing that I’m expecting! (But she wanted to know how I spend my time if not working after getting pregnant!)    
   
Those who kept on harassing me mentally by asking if there is any “special news” every time I called them were nowhere to be seen... In fact, when I called them they asked me how I got pregnant! They wanted to know the details of when, why and how did Vij come to India again without informing them… Instead of advising me to take rest I was asked to look for a job and work till eighth month, as it would help Vij in taking care of the expenses! 

All this didn’t stop there and continued even after we returned to India and Vij was blamed for the entire episode as if he was becoming father of an illegitimate child... They openly said on the face of Vij that there was no need to do baby shower ceremony for me. They didn’t see that we were having a child after seven years, all they saw was we had done a mistake by becoming parents, a mistake by not telling them that Vij had come to India to be with me!

A female even asked me when I was going back to Doha for my delivery, when Vij had brought me back to India for delivery. In our culture first deliveries happen at the girl’s mother’s house and the case changes only if she is an orphan or has married by eloping against the will of her parents. I was neither an orphan nor had I eloped with Vij and god knows what made her to think that I’m going to deliver there!

Our little monk
I had a warm welcome from my parents and they conducted baby shower ceremony for me. Though we had not revealed the gender of our baby, relatives and friends had started predicting – most of them said it would be a baby girl. 
Baby shower ceremony
I completed nine months and two days and who knew it was time for the little one to see the outer world so soon, as the doc had given me the date four days later. When the scanning report said there was less fluid, we had to take a quick decision, not about the c-section, but about rushing to the hospital. Even though Vij had advanced his ticket to arrive on Oct 5, as per the earlier plan of c-section on Oct 6, the baby couldn’t wait till then. My wish to see Vij holding his son as soon as he comes out of the operation theatre couldn’t be fulfilled and that pain will remain with us forever… 

On Oct 2, Gandhi Jayanti, in the afternoon, the little one arrived. Vij was still in Doha, he must have been felt cheated. There was no time to inform him. Everything happened very quickly, in a fraction of moment, there was no time to think or make any calls. 

My gynaec, who was supposed to travel to Bangalore for a function on that day, gave me two options: “If you want me to do your operation, you have to be here within 30 minutes. I’ll finish your c-section and leave at 2 pm. Else if you are okay with any other gynaec in the hospital, they will do your operation after 4.30 pm. The decision is yours. Let me know at the earliest, I’ll arrange everything.” I was not ready to go for any other doc and we rushed to the hospital within 20 minutes and as promised within 2 pm I was shifted to the room with our little monk. 

Vij arrived on the fourth day of our little one’s birth. His joy knew no limits as he had got the best ever gift from me. He had become father, he was holding his son, he was with his own flesh and blood… moreover, he had answers to all those who had insulted us for being childless. 
Vij with the little one
There was an aura of positive energy surrounding the little monk. It rained when I came back to India for delivery, it rained on the day I gave birth to him, it rained we came back to the house from the hospital with our little bundle of joy. As they say, “the heavy rain falls washing away pettiness, floods our homes with love…”

Naming ceremony      
As decided earlier, we named our little monk “Buddha”, Siddhartha, on Oct 10, ninth day of his birth. The naming ceremony and the cradle ceremony were held on the same day. Vij spent some quality time, in fact whole night, with our baby before getting back to his work in Doha.  
We named him Siddhartha
The worst was not over yet… Vij’s relatives had sent copper and brass bangles as a present for the baby, which deeply hurt me. Had they not sent anything for the baby nothing would have happened, but sending those things (gold jewels are normally given as a first gift to the newborn) had humiliated me and my baby, and I don’t think we would ever forgive or forget the first gift my little one received from his father’s relatives!  
Our world has changed...
Ah, whatever… our world has changed! Now I have answers for each of those humiliations, insults, taunts, sarcasms and pain. Hopefully, the bad time has gone and for the good, my spirit to face the world with pride and positive energy continues. The bad news is time flies like an arrow and the good news is the bow is still in my hands and I’m eager to welcome 2015.  After all, like Maya says:
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still like dust I’ll rise…
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries…
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise…
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise…
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise…

P.S. Chethana and Vijay also had a baby boy and they have named him Gautam. Yes, another name of Buddha!