It’s how we define good news defines the various stages of our life. We all start as our parent’s good news and continue being the harbinger of good news in their life. After all, this is the sole purpose of our lives, to be our neighbour’s envy and parent’s pride! It’s what good news is all about, to induce various shades of envy in people who mean little or nothing to us.
As a trying-to-be-funny-blogger once said – one wo/man’s good news is another wo/man’s cause for acidity.
There comes a stage in our life when we fall in love and get married (not necessarily in that order). In India, once you’re married, your sex-life becomes a matter of public discussion. Whether it’s your colleagues commenting on the dark circles under your eyes, or the snide comments the hickey on your neck invites or the knowing look in your friend’s eyes as she surveys your expanding décolletage – your bedroom antics become the source of entertainment for one and all. As the months turn into years, your love turns into a responsibility to keep the family lineage alive. If you dare ignore it, everyone you know and might not know takes it upon themselves to constantly remind you of your failure to contribute to the world’s exploding population. And then one fine day you’re so fed up that you walk up to your husband and say – Darling, let’s do it, I’m ovulating.
So, when you are finally ready to make the announcement, it’s news so good that it doesn’t give acidity to others but you – an acidity that doesn’t last a couple of hours but nine whole months!
When I first held the lab test report confirming my pregnancy, my hands were trembling with joy. Yay! We were finally going to have our own baby, who will be only too glad to take on the responsibility of becoming the caretaker of our joy. Phew! What a relief.
I celebrated it with a neat little puke in the corner.
Pregnancy is not just joy combined with a certain degree of creepiness of experiencing life within you. It is the process of discovering a completely different you, trimester by trimester. It’s like being possessed by an alien, who makes you start hating capsicum, throw-up at the mere sight of chicken, wake up in the middle of the night to intense craving for gol-gappas and start shedding tears like a tap without a washer. And you’re always so hungry: you’re petrified that you might end up devouring your husband as a tasty little snack!
Just as you come to terms with setting a new benchmark for grossness, you go ahead and set newer standards for other expecting moms to follow.
But I must admit, there are some divine side-effects as well. No one dare mess with you because of your delicate condition. You get to yell at your bitchy colleague in front of the entire office and blame it on the hormones. You can take as many snack breaks, gorge on ice-creams every day and claim you’re eating for two.
This is before someone calls you Moti for the first time in your life.
By the third month I had a cute little tummy. My Mom would console me by saying she didn’t look pregnant till the ninth month.
In India, pregnant women have this interesting habit of covering their belly with a dupatta. Perhaps it’s a valiant attempt to hide their good news or protect their unborn from the evil eye. I have no idea why, but pretty soon I was doing the same. Strangely I was eager to tell everyone about my pregnancy. It was not with the intent of sharing my joy about my impending motherhood but out of fear that strangers might mistake my protruding belly as obesity. So, there I was waiting at a lobby humming the latest Kumar Sanu number (kidding), till I’d notice the girl at the reception looking vaguely at my direction. Alarmed that she might draw her own weighty conclusions, I’d give her my best toothy smile and chirp – guess what, I am pregnant! She’d hastily mumble “congratulations” before proceeding to die of laughter.
|Image courtesy - Hubby Ray|
I didn’t have to worry about it for too long because I was inflating at an alarming rate. Since I had managed to outgrow my entire wardrobe, I adopted the Shahnaz Husain look and started dressing up in colourful tents. People had already started talking about my “prettiness and slim frame” in the past tense. In my eight month when I had started resembling a football and would waddle around like a Penguin, a girl in my school bus asked me if I was married.
This is India meri jaan, of course you are allowed to get pregnant before you marry!
Women can be alarmingly frank when it comes to passing comments on your growing frame and extremely large-hearted when it comes to giving unsolicited advice. Wherever I went, I was ambushed by women of all shapes and sizes, who’d gaze at my tummy like a crystal ball and make predictions about the sex, sexual preference, choice of career, hobbies of my unborn and conclude happily that I’d have a caesarean delivery. In fact, this particular lady who I wished I didn’t know would make it a point in informing me that I’d have a Caesaaaaar, every fu*&^%ng time we met.
This is the first lesson you learn during your pregnancy – everyone knows better than you. So, shut up and listen to them and wait for time to prove them wrong.
No, I did not give birth to Caesar. In fact I proved all my neighbourhood aunties and their aunties wrong, had a normal delivery, a baby girl. Like any other Mum who’d screamed her guts out through 12 hours of labour and had succeeded in staying alive only to hear her Gynae hum – Mr Hero, ban gayaa zero~ as she stitched her up, I thought my baby was the sensation the world had been waiting for.
When the Doctor approached me with the miracle I had managed to pop out, I did not act like a filmy Mum, hugging her close, shedding tears of joy, wailing ‘meri betiiii’. I just managed one long look at her and flopped back in exhaustion.
When I finally held her in my arms, I felt more fear than joy. She looked so tiny, so fragile, fists clenched so tight, a mop of jet-black hair framing her pink face....Am I holding her properly…how am I supposed to take care of a helpless baby, I can’t even take proper care of myself… what if I’m a lousy Mom… why don’t babies come with an instruction manual!
Suddenly you become the child your Mom lost and look at her helplessly across your hospital room. She smiles knowingly and gives you the –Main hoon naa, look. Phew! It does feel good have your own WikiMoma. You sink back in relief, smile at the best news you’ve just produced and ready yourself for the most exciting chapter of your life.