I wrote this particular piece nearly 6 years back. Back then I wanted to be like Chetan Bhagat, a Rs 99/- wala book writer. You can safely say, I was naive. My naivety will reflect in my rather flat style of writing below. But this short little story is closest to my heart because it made me want to be a writer one day.
Here it is:
Spolier: It talks about me! 😀
DATE – 20th September 1988
TIME – 7:15 am
In a not so well-groomed courtyard sat Mr.Chaddha on his armchair swaying back and forth. He was sipping his favourite Darjeeling cinnamon flavouredtea greedily like there was not going to be a tomorrow morning. He was a portly man in his late forties, though he looked much older, had a pot belly large enough to store food for an entire battalion and had a good natured face with a frizzled moustache. It was exactly 7:15 in the morning of that drizzly September day. The South-west monsoons were on the verge of its end. And so it rained pretty heavily to mark its last. Mr. Chaddha picked up The HINDU and read the headlines.
He tut tutted something about politics going to the dogs and put the paper down as if it had deeply disturbed his conscience and made his heart ache. The expression on his face was terrific, humanly impossible to even form for us normal earthlings, but then that’s Chaddha uncle at his diplomatic best. He pushed the troubling thought out of his mind and went back to slurping his lukewarm morning drink. Wait a minute, enough of him. Because, this is not his story.
No, it is not!
Three blocks away was a hospital – Sita Bhateja Nursing Home, run by a gynaecologist. No prizes for guessing who ran the nursing home, Dr.Mrs.Sita Bhateja. Right then she was in the labor room nursing a woman terribly in pain. The hands of the clock slowly ticked as the anxious parents of the aforementioned ‘lady-in-pain’ waited. Her husband had been informed the minute her water broke and the father-to-be anxiously started for the hospital. It was their first child after all. All this was happening in the Garden City of Bangalore; and the father-to-be lived in theneighbouring capital of Hyderabad, and he left instantly to be with his wife. He knew he would well arrive after all of it is over, but still the excitement and the anxiousness got the better of him. He was overjoyed. This over enthusiastic ‘father-to-be’ is my Paa, more specifically my FATHER. And yes, the lady-in-pain is my MOTHER, my Maa. Oh, now you are getting it, this story is about me – the child about to be born.
Let me tell you how my Ma and Pa came together.
They met in the strangest of fashions. Theirs wasn’t a love marriage. It was arranged as was the tradition at that time in the small village of Rajasthan they hailed from. The story goes that Maa was the pretty maid in her early twenties and she had heaps of prospects peeping through her doorway everyday; she had a hell of a choice to choose from.
‘I’m confused’ is what Ma blurted out after meeting each prospect in due succession. And then…… enter Paa-The dashing young man! He was smitten by the beauty and charm of the beautiful young lady and her confusion made him fall crazily for her. Their meeting was arranged, Maa and Paa saw each other and it was love at first sight. An alliance was anticipated and everybody expected an almost immediate formal announcement of an engagement. But my Grand-dad played spoilsport and like all the typical prospective groom’s sides in India, my grandfather said he would give his answer in a week or so, but Paa found that too much time to wait. Overnight, he boarded a bus, traveled nearly a thousand miles from Hyderabadto Rajasthan to get to Maa’s house and declared his wish to get married to Maa as soon as it was possible. That’s the best thing Paa did because if he would not have made it then Maa was being forced to say yes to another prospect. And if this alliance failed to happen, I would have never existed to tell my story.
Now it was all settled.
Paa said YES and Maa accepted it more than willingly.
And then they had ME.
No wait, they were still in the process of having me. Maa’s in pain and Paa’s still in the train.
That rhymed. I started training myself in such feats in Maa’s womb itself. So, you could say that a genius is about to be born.
While Dr. Mrs. Bhateja nursed my mum through her painful labour, my attention shifts over to the anxious looking parents of the mum-to-be. They were about to have their first grandchild, an achievement in itself and were bloody beyond happy. Today is the occasion of firsts.
Now, the moment of action. Precisely, at 7.16 am, a minute after Mr. Chaddha tut-tutted about the Indian polity, I was born. Like an angel to curb the negativities of politics which ached Mr. Chaddha’s heart even as he sipped his tea. I was the saviour who was born as the one who would shine as the lone light of hope and the end of the dark tunnel of the disappointing administrative machinery. I was born to be the source of relief to the balding gentleman three blocks away. But, unfortunately for him, I was neither of these. I am a baby, after all.
So, big discussions can wait for now.