Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Nights

Not every morning you open up your eyes to recieve a warm and peace welcome from life. Life brings you surprises when your expectations are least.

I vaguely remember, it was abt 3:15 am in the early morning. Winter has already made its presence felt couple of weeks ago with average temperature in our city at 21C. However it wasn't too cold that night to use traditional quilts, a very cosy thin blanket over us was just fine. She was pregnant and a nine month old baby was kicking inside her… yippee I was gonna have a baby :D

Suddenly I felt some very uncomfortable movements under the sheet. Soon I could hear the murmurs of my wife. It took me only a jiffy to realize that she was in labour pain. Doctors did suggest me to get Kangan admitted by Thursday morning but it was Wednesday only..But then as the phrase goes “Destiny has its own plan” – and will-nilly you have to be a part of its plan. Ofcourse there was no time to waste. Though I heard many a times that after the first pain the woman feels, you don't get to hear the bay cry for another 4-5 hrs.. I talked about this with the doctor also and she made me understand that the cervical dilation of 10 cm is needed for the baby to come out and the rate of dilation is generally about 2cm/hr.. But since it was early than was expected so I was bit more than worried.

Sometimes life can turn real stranger to you to expect a help...or it tests you.. i dunno...
Why am i saying this? Just look at the irony of life: we got our own car but on that very night my Optra rolled its wheels to airport to receive one of Kangan's cousin and it got stuck somewhere in the traffic..

Anywaz I already made the call to the ambulance and it did arrive exactly at 3:37 if my eyes didn't deceive me during that rush. Fortunately the hospital wasn't that far away from our home. I immediately made a call to Dr. Nidhi Godse, as she was dealing with my wife's case during that course of 9 months. We were lucky as she informed me that she was there at hospital only and there's nothing to worry.

We arrived at the hospital and my eyes were desperately looking for Dr. Nidhi as I stepped inside the hospital. Though she told me that there was nothing to worry but then I was not a doctor… I was just a man.. I was a husband and “to be a father”! I was more than just worried because I feared what if that pain means something else?
                                                Very soon Dr. Nidhi arrived and though she looked a bit befuddled and puzzled (may be she wasn’t.. it was just me), she consoled me again to calm and not to worry. She took Kangan into a cabin for the check up.
15 mins of her checkup and then--

Dr. Nidhi : “ Mr. Shreyansh, please be calm.. its just a bit ahead of time I scheduled or I thought. That’s it. There's nothing to worry… stop gasping… we have admitted her and she will be fine.. I am here today all night..” as she patted over my shoulder.

Me : “Thanks doctor but its just..” “its just that … I mean .. its my first time…” (what did I say!!)

Dr. Nidhi : “haha… everybody has got their first time.. I understand…” and she quietly left for her cabin…

5hrs passed and I was napping sitting beside Kangan’s bed.. suddenly I felt that my hand, which Kangan was holding, was getting gripped real tight and strong….
God! It was time… she started sobbing n sweating.. her murmurs transformed to squeaks and then to squeal and then to scream..it all went real fast…
Me : Doctor! Nurse!

Within moments Dr. Nidhi and nurses were there and I was provided with a mackintosh to wear. I was standing just beside her bed.. she was yelling and screaming hard in pain as Dr. Nidhi continued asking her to push the baby out… Though I made her do Kegle exercise daily (3 times a day) still it was real tough for her… I never experienced such a yowling in my whole damn life..

Kangan : “Shreyansh!..oh myy goddd!!.eeee.. its hell of a pain shrey...cant bear it!!” kangan was continuously bellowing..
me : “have patience kangan.. be a strong mother...” I tried to pacify her
Kangan : “Damn! aaahhh.. don tell me to be strong...u idiot..” (u got no choice to escape.. this is the moment your wife wont listen to anybody and will constantly punish you with her stony adjectives at you.. but actually she loves you more than anyone in world..)
me : “Its gonna be all ok.. kangan...
easy kangan easy.. i m with you... its all gonna be ok...!hold my hand.. look into my eyes... This is what you always wished for kangan…”

Kangan : “Whaatt?”
Me : “To have a baby…!”
Kangan : “Shuuuuuuuuuuuuut up ! aaaaaaaa..”


And then - the cry of a baby waves into your eardrums…gift of life..
20 minutes of huge struggle and I was holding a 6.6 lb baby in my hands with her legs constantly kicking on me…yup… Kangan gave birth to a very sweet and beautiful angel.. Nobody on this earth could ever imagine the extent of our joy at that moment. Moment I touched that small “angel being “ with my bare hands, the only thing that came to my mind was, if there can be any best example or epitome of largesse on this earth, then it ought be a Mother. We named her Anushka right there in that cabin as it was all decided earlier.. you know we all do such stuffs – deciding names, schools, toys n all those etc. etc. during these nine long months.. She was the most precious gift of my life and for this I will be thankful to Kangan all my life. I think every female walking on this earth should possess an espirit-de-corps of being a female. Today Kangan gave me one more reason to love her.
   Doctor and nurses left us for a little tete - a – tete. She was born on the day of Dipawali in the month of November.

8 years passed in cuddling, caring, caresses and bill & coos..

One morning I had this very weird dream..

White, white and white – it was all a bit creamy, pure divine white everywhere around. I could see nothing but this white surrounding, it was like I was caged inside a white box or something but with dissolved edges. Suddenly that white world transformed into snow capped mountains….they were real giant and huge I ever imagined in my life or in my dreams. When I looked around  I found myself standing on a large iceberg floating on an endless blue ocean. There was this strange restlessness in me. I felt like left alone and lost in that bizarre world of white and blue. Suddenly a loud thudding sound startled me, it looked like as if mountains were going to explode, everything around were shaking terribly, I found myself very helpless in a severe blizzard – no place to hide. The worst I expected, turned into reality – avalanche. I couldn't describe the dreading sight of that avalanche which I was witnessing in front of me. Left with no other choice I turned around and the only thing that came to my mind was to “Run for your life”, and so I did. I ran like no other sports runner would ever had imagined.. after all I was running for my life..:)
Running and running in deep haste being aware of the fact that, that iceberg got its ends somewhere and I was going to be soaked up in that big blue devil, yet nothing seemed to stop me but.. but that iceberg seemed endless, I could see the end of it but the distance seemed to be constant. In that haste I got hurt by a small block of something strange and vague(the only thing I can say about it is that it was white) and fell down. I was lying on my knees, panting like hell.
                                                            Then someone just patted on my shoulder very softly and gently from behind and within moments I felt like everything was fine, there was that strange feeling of relief and calm – dunno why ? and how ? When I turned around, it was some real beauty of nature worth to be espied. All that white had turned into green, a vast Greenland – long and thin grasses everywhere, gentle breeze flowing everywhere, humble brushing of leaves on those fresh, green and beautiful trees – all calm and beauty. On the horizon, the lusty sky  with a slight orange tint on it seemed to be busy in romancing with the green tops of the grasses. Far near the horizon I could see some bands of black mustangs and herd of some brown brumbies, some were trotting, some were galloping and everyone of them seemed to show off their every single beautiful gaits. Finally the person whose soft hands I felt on my shoulder was a very sweet little angel. She was standing right in front of me – very sweet, round face big eyes, was wearing a bright orange colored frock with some red and white flowers & splashes over it. She was my “Anushka”! She was staring at me, looking into my eyes, standing politely and decently as if she wished to demand something from her dad.

Anushka : “Dad do you l…” before she could complete her question everything around me went silent and started to fade away. The only thing I remember last, clear and distinct in that dream was her sweet smiling face – and my dream discontinued as Kangan hit me on my butts – “Rise up, sleepy head! Its 7 am, time to get up”

Kangan was drying her hair with a towel sitting in front of the mirror. Whenever she steps out of the bathroom after having shower she looks like a fresh, new beautiful daisy just popped out of it buds.. her aroma used to permeate the entire room and that is the time when she gets real naughty.. and so do I.

Kangan : “I think you promised to make me breakfast this morning !?”
Me : “hmmm…sorry honey..” “it was this bizarre dream… all white… and then anushka.”
Kangan : “Anushka?”
Me : “Nothing leave it… just another dream…” I didn’t want to discuss at that moment.
Kangan : “Ok.. as you say…Everythings gonna be fine..”, and she caressed me on my head with her soft and sweet lips..
Me : "some more please.."
Kangan : "Another time.. poor guy", and she laughed on my pity face.

It was Diwali that day – it was Anushka’s birthday.
Kangan : “Gotta do a lot of work…am snowed under all these and you are sleeping…huh.” Me : “What work…”
Kangan  : ”Its diwali”
Me : “so.. ?”
Kangan : “Its Anushka’s birthday.. shrey”
Me : “Jesus Christ… how can I forget that..?”

Anushka gently knocked on the door and kept her eyes rolling on us. She stood leaning on the door and staring at me with all her sweet natural innocence.
Anushka : “Doesn't matter dad..” “this day ain't that special ” “wishing me birthday is not important.. dad” “what mat--” “matters is that you two love me” and she chuckled.. I must tell she was looking cutest gal I have ever seen in this world and those lines from her made some tears drop from our eyes.. Rarely you expect such kind of lines from a girl of her age…
Kangan and me : “Happy birthday beta…”

And she pranced and jumped over us on the bed yelling with joy : “Thank you mom.. thank you dad..”

<span>Evening</span> :

It was 7 pm in the evening, although I didn’t prefer doing those ‘Puja’ but Kangan used to do that and so even I had to surrender for that. Even Kangan wasn’t that sort of a devotee or worshiper kinda woman, but she definetly used to pray for 5 mins everyday – me only 40-50 sec. Our Lakshmi Puja concluded after 20 min and now it was time for some fun and real entertainment : Crackers.. Kangan made all the arrangements –she is such a darling – bought gifts, crackers, knick knacks etc. etc…, everything stood managed – perfect house manager. We have our colony garden just behind our apartment and beside that there was an open area – quite good and safe to burn crackers.
Anushka was chattering with her neighbor.
Me : “Hey anushka come here with us “, but she seemed reluctant to that…
Me : “What happened, anu ?”
Kangan : "Come here anushka.. your dad is calling you", but she wasn't moving .
Kangan went near to her, held her small soft hand and brought to me.
Kangan : “What happened Anu baby ?!” as she cuddled and embraced her in between her arms – “you not happy today, beta ?”
Anushka : “No, mom, I am happy..”
Me : “then…”
Anushka : “Its just that I don’t want to burn firecrackers..”
Kangan : “but you love it, beta. Don’t you ?” – Kangan looked a bit puzzled – “Every year you enjoy it, remember..” – and there she got interrupted by Anushka.
Anushka : “Dad ?” – silence for couple of seconds roared in and then – “mom ?”
Kangan n me : “Yes honey !?”
Anushka : “May I ask you two something ?”
Me : “ofcourse beta, anytime..”
Kangan : “What is it ?”
Anushka : “My teacher says that “Diwali is a festival of lights” – “festival of diyas and candles
Kangan : “ofcourse it is”
Me : “you saw your mom light those ‘diyas’ and ‘candles’ this evening, didn’t you ?”, “ofcourse it is festival of lights” -  as I chucked her gently trying to read her eyes.. to no avail although.
Anushka : “Then why we burn firecrackers ?” – must say, a very innocent question.
Kangan : “Just because its fun baby ! we enjoy it.”
Anushka : “see, that’s what I told to Viraj, but he is….”, and she prattled and muttered some words in her childish way.

Viraj was 9 year old and a very good friend of Anushka. His family moved into the apartment 7 months ago. Both Viraj and Anushka were in same school and they seemed to have developed a very great bonding between them. They were true friends.

Me and Kangan : “What ?”
Anushka : “This Viraj , mom… I asked him to come with me and enjoy the firecrackers but… but he denied.”
Kangan : “Why ?  What did he say, darling ?”
Anushka : “He says – its not good for the environment”, me and Kangan stared at each others face.
Anushka continued : “Even in my school when I asked my teacher about this – she said something…”, anushka seemed to be struggling hard to recall something. “aaa…..She said I am too young to understand polluu…”
Me : “Pollution ?”
Anushka : “ya – that was the word, I think. It’s a tough word dady” and that made us more than to chuckle. But anushka didn’t seem to stop there – “and so she just said that we should avoid firecrackers. Its no good.”
Anushka continues : “There was this chapter in my textbook mom – ‘Human and Nature’. How nature sacrifices for human, How human helps other human, How humans help nature – she explained to us that if we love our nature we shouldn’t encourage crackers and if we love each other we should stop this and we should also advice others to quit even.”, for those couple of moments we were like her disciples and she was like our mentor. Questions she asked after that were some real honest and worth answering one :
Anushka : “Mom………… Dad ?”
Me and Kangan : “Yes”
Anushka : “Are we human ?” – another innocent one.
Anushka : “Should we human love our nature ?”
Kangan : “Yes, honey”
Anushka : “Do we human love each other ?” – I expected ‘Should’ instead of ‘Do’, don’t know why she used DO instead of SHOULD ?
Me : “aaaa….hmmm.. yes. Yes, we should and we do.”
Anushka : “Do you love me ?
“ofcourse darling ! Come here..” and we hugged her tight. She was more than just an 8 year old girl.
That last question reminded me of the dream I had that  morning. But in the dream I heard only “Do you l…” and after that every thing went silent. I wasn’t able to decide that wether that question was really asked by Anushka or it was just one that echoed in from my dream. I never confirmed it from Kangan neither did I ask about this to Anushka.
That night , an 8 year old girl taught me something  which I thought I knew better. That night, an 8 year old girl taught me ‘What it means to be human ?’, she taught me ‘What is love ?’ and what really ‘to love’ means. That night I felt ashamed and proud as well. Ashamed because a small girl who barely knew ‘what is environment’ and I doubt if she had the faintest idea about the Environment pollution – knew more than me. I felt proud because that girl was MY DAUGHTER. That night reminded me of the night 8 years past when me and my friend went to a mall to buy gifts for his daughter. There was this shopowner who asked me to buy something after my friend was done with his small toy house.
Shopowner : “Take something for your angel, sir” – he didn’t even know me neither did he know that I was married. Till today I still wonder why did he say that to me !
Since we were in hurry, I tried to cut it short without being rude : “Oh thanx! But I don have one” – what did I say !!??
Shopowner : “I wish you shall have one very soon, sir” and we left. Next year it was the same day Anushka was born – an angel for sure :)

Today when I sit back and try to hark back some beautiful and bizarre moments of my life – those two nights are always the first to knock the door – the night I learned from my daughter and the night that shopowner wished for me to have an angel. I shall never forget those two nights.

Special Note : Though I didn’t mention but there was one more night and one morning that I shall never forget –
-       My first night after marriage.. blush blush.. :) 
-       Morning – anushka was born – I never demanded something from god for me or for my family directly. I wasn’t that kind of ‘God/good guy’ but on that day seeing Kangan in pain in the hospital, I made a bizarre wish that any husband could even think of : ‘Oh God! Bless Kangan with the Orgasmic childbirth’ – Bizarrest I must tell .. 
Its been 17 years from that Diwali night but still.. I don’t know who asked me that question , wether it was Anushka standing in front of me or the one in my dream or it just echoed in to my mind at that moment. I never asked about this to Anushka and shall never in future.

I don’t want to conclude this story with any moral line. Its upto the reader.