Monday, October 28, 2013

The not so Immaculate Conception



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. 






100 comments:

  1. Oh! Wow! Now that is the perfect combination of humor and sentiment - plus the mandatory tartness of Purba :) (Now don't go telling me to explain what that mandatory tartness is :) ) I have long stopped trying to quote lines from your posts - they come thick and fast and to start quoting would be to copy-paste the entire post here :)

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    1. Too much tartness and I will turn into a pickle.

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  2. Lovely post, had me in smiles all the way :)

    Btw on a side note... the image you have there might be subject to copyright (check the watermark)... might make sense to give credit to the actual source rather than just "Google Images" esp. in cases like these.

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    1. And I took your suggestion seriously and put my pic instead :-)

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    2. smart move :-) and I did not miss the watermark on this one either ;-)

      P.S- You can google for images using advanced settings.. configure to search for images that are free to use. You get a limited set but you are safe from any copyright issues that can crop up.

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  3. as a man, i can not experience all this. but i can say thank you for sharing the experience of Mother. salute to all women!!!

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    1. I felt and looked like Hercules all through my pregnancy.

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  4. Love the gentle sarcasm , the self depreciating humor and the Awww kind of sentiment running through this post <3

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    1. I took almost four days to write this post. Personal posts are the toughest to write.

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  5. I went down my own memory lane while reading this post. Amazing how you manage to tinge emotions with wit. Have a happy Diwali.

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    1. If I don't, nobody will read my posts :/

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    2. And a Happy Diwali to you, Alka :-)

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  6. Yes you were absolutely right when you said that everyone else knows better than us. And everyone else have their own sexual preferences and expectations of my unborn child! How weird can people be! And pregnancy is also the time when many people close to me freaked me out with scary stories ! I had a seriously tough time.

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    1. They think they are being helpful :p

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  7. That was fascinating. A good blend of what society expects and your own experience

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  8. So I was not the only one who didn't act filmy on seeing the little one :) And I agree. People just get too instructive and too overwhelmingly nauseating when one is pregnant.

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    1. I wonder why we put up with their shit.

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  9. A lovely tale of seeing the new born and all the opinions of the world, so beautifully penned! It was like going down the memory lane to live the moments when we were blessed with a baby girl:) Things will remain the same even half a century later in our land where every one is more worried about other people's lives!

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    1. Minding our own business is an alien concept in our country.

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  10. WikiMoma! Oh gawd you are just so funny. So funny ya. So funny!

    It's funny how parenting takes a full 180 degree turn every decade or so. Oh well. The best judge is you!

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    1. Tumhara number bhi ayega, Kartikay.

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    2. Naahhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnn!

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  11. I am imagining you bloated up, in a Shahnaz Hussain-isque ensemble, waddling like a penguin.
    Bahahahahahahahahahahahaha..............................
    Can we have an article by the famous Cacophonix on how he lived with a cranky, midnight gol gappa craving, capsicum hating you?
    And you puked at the sight of meat.......pregnant or not, that was sacrilegious!

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    1. I doubt if Caco recalls much. But it's a brilliant idea. Will ask him.

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  12. Humor and nostalgia all rolled into one post :) LOL on you wearing tents :)

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    1. I had put on 14 kilos. What did you expect?

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  13. Delightful post, Purba! I was guffawing all along! The angst and fun of pregnancy captured brilliantly. My biggest embarrassment was when I congratulated an acquaintance thinking she had "good news!" Alas, she had gained a lot of weight but was good natured about it while I was awaiting the ground to open up and swallow me. Now, I do not even congratulate full-term ladies till it is confirmed that they are expecting.

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    1. Hahahaha...that's so God damn embarrassing!

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  14. Nice. Something I could relate to - having seen this happen live very recently at home.

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  15. your humour and art of story-telling is so captivating and visual, that you in short took us to a small and concise trip during your pregnancy days... just simply awesome, You would make a great mom, hands down....don't you fret! :)

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    1. Thanks Raj. I think I didn't manage too badly. My daughter is in college now :-)

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  16. Loved the first part of the post a lot especially till the portion that you got pregnant. The wonderful world we live in and its thousand opinions about people, marriage and relationships, all make for interesting stories and you added a lot of humor to the same making it all the more wonderful.

    Loved the extraordinarily frank self deprecating humor when you narrated your pregnancy woes, if I may call it that as well :D

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    1. It's a life changing experience. You are never the same again.

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  17. Why do you have to make it look so easy? You're setting the wrong benchmarks in guys around here.
    :P

    Beautiful post, and full of wisdom for mothers to be and some real nuggets of advice for general consumption.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. No advice, this was written with the intent of scaring the living daylights out of everyone.

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  18. Half way through the post...I had sooooooo much to comment on. But then the Shahnaz Hussain tent part happened and I fell of my KURSI!!! Aren't you amazing or what?? and I am sure you did not resemble a penquin..you look adorable in the picture. And yes thank God for our wikiMoms. :)

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    1. My Maa called me a Penguin and I have never forgiven her for saying that. *Goes to a corner and starts sobbing*

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  19. i can identify so much with the after marriage phase when everyone keeps asking for the good news!!...well my good news are many and i bet it's not the one you want to hear i used to think!! .....

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. After a while you just learn to smile even if it annoys you no end.

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  20. Wow, what a brilliant post this is. I'm book marking it and coming back to it when I get pregnant :D

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  21. Lovely read Purba and witty too as always :-D

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  23. Hahah nice. I like it from the bystaner's point of view :-P

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  24. Lovely picture! And I guess many of the well wishers are still waiting for the second good news :D

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  26. One title that is apt "Witty-mom" :-)

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  27. For a moment, I thought you are 'expecting' again and that is why you got emotional and all. And that too with ample dose of humor and some tears, I may say.

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    1. Err...no. This was long long time ago.

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  28. Rioteous journey?? Lollzzz.

    Tussi Gr888 ho ji.. :)

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    1. As long as I'm not sounding righteous :p

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  29. Well, this post might act as a contraceptive by itself for some. :p Hilarious! On a serious note, you looked lovely back then and you remain the same even till date. :)

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    1. Hehehe...that was exactly the intent. Gosh, I'm wicked.

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  30. I did this twice! And, I put on 8 kgs more the second time than I had in my first pregnancy. I had cried because I was happy that I was alive after the ordeal. As always, loved it.

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    1. When I was in labour, all I could think was -WTF! is this what all women have to go through to give birth.

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  31. my fav line is the possibility of devouring the husband as "a tasty little snack"
    I love the way you ended it, with reassurance at the end of the all the doubts and diffident thoughts.

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    1. It's what I went through the duration of my pregnancy - a mixture of dread and ecstasy.

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  32. It's like been there, done that...was remembering each phase reading your post. When I had my son, I swore no more...the nurses laughed saying , you will come back here next yr. Well, it took six long years and the next time, was altogether a different story. :-) And I wish men knew the pain..;-)

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    1. Salute to women who are brave enough to go down the same path again!

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  33. Started smiling when you celebrated with a neat little puke in the corner and didn't stop till I reached the end. Lovely pic.

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  34. Purba I am now in the 7th month of my second pregnancy and I could relate 100% :) talk about shedding tears like a tap. The other day I went to the sports day function of my son and seeing all the tots running I could not control my tear glands at all and funny part is I was not feeling sentimental but just weepy hi hi

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    1. Congratulations and hugs to you, my lovely girl.

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  35. Now that is a perfect word by word account of what actually happens once a girl gets married (in India) The expectations, the relatives the "I know all" people, and poor hubby is in the side lines watching all this helplessly.

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    1. Hahahaha...at least he doesn't have to get fat and pop out a baby!

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  36. Now imagine if Pregnancy were to fall under the Male bastion. One, we wouldn't be able to write such a wonderful post on the subject, and two, that Reception Lady would have had us thrown on out of the lobby for humming a Kumar Sanu tune - pregnant or not.

    And don't even get me started about a new Dad, the one who just popped out a baby (not sure from where, though), hoping for help and support from his Dad. Not sure how the new Grand Dad would fit new Baby between golf course, bridge, morning and evening walks at Lodhi Garden, and snoozing.

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    1. Rickie, only you can write about this - a hilarious male version of pregnancy.

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  37. Nice post Purba. I was smiling all the time while I read this post:)

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  38. I am sure that most of us would agree that your entire experience is exactly what we experienced too. Everyone else but you is the expert, the clothes, the weight, the delivery, seeing and holding the baby, the emotions etc. But what is amazing is many of us say or narrate our experiences as a big ordeal and the kind of problems and difficulties we faced, but you make it sound like a joy ride. Read the whole thing, started with a smile, laughed out loud even though I am at work and am still smiling posting this comment.

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    1. Who wants to read a sob story about a woman who put on 14 kilos, looked gross, felt ecstatic and by the end of eighth month was so sick and tired that she wanted to give birth immediately.

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  39. Ah! always fun to read your posts... and this also had me craving to get pregnant... yes.. it did that to me...:o and now I have to get married soon; India hai after all.

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    1. Haww..did I end up making pregnancy sound like a fairy tale! Believe me, it isn't.

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    2. Then I will go for it araamse :-/

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  40. Really nicely expressed, Purba!
    Reminded me of my tryst! Thank God for WikiMoma!
    All's well that ends well! :)

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  41. Wonderful expression of some very feminine feelings. Nice style.

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  42. What a brilliant way to get introduced to a blogger like you- blogging at WordPress platform ,I realize that i miss many of such great Indian posts.Needless to say, this one almost made me glued to the chair-just as in the case of any other post of yours..
    Meanwhile, I was wondering whether there is any provision for me to follow or subscribe to your posts as in WordPress.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm not really sure about wordpress users, but I think you can subscribe to my posts by clicking on the "subscribe through e mail" button.

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  43. A fun look at such a tremendously serious event. I suppose we Dads will never know what it is like, even though you make it all seem so laughingly funny. Bravo on a terrific piece. :D

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    1. You always have such kind words to say about my writing. Thank you so much, Achyut.

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  44. Perhaps there is no compliment that hasn't been conveyed in so many comment, but still : beautiful beautiful beautiful .. Soo lively and lovely .. And funny .. Amazing thing you have written ..

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  45. I wrote a post some time back about what guys should never do and say if they do not want to get killed by their pregnant wife.
    Women are so unpredictable during pregnancy than it is a miracle that we men come out alive of it. :P
    Loved the post. It brought back a lot of memories.

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    1. We should have linked each others' articles.

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  46. With all you woman coming up with pregnancy and motherhood posts, looks like I am enrolled in a class! Well, on a serious note, carrying someone else's wish inside you for nine months is not a joke and that is why mothers are great. I doubt if men are able to cherish sb else's wish for such long a time.

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    1. Knowledge is always useful especially if it concerns women :D

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  47. OMG! What a lovely post and lovely description. Many congratulations to you. I am for sure going to share this post with a friend of mine who is expecting... I guess she will be able to relate to this one! I seriously loved it!

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    1. Thanks, Shesha. My daughter is in college now :p

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  48. Colourful Tents !! Wt... That is one of the best self-depricating humour posts ever, and btw you look way better than Shehnaz the official tent lady. Hansa Hansa ke rule diya....

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    1. Hehehe...Delighted that you found it funny.

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