Full of life

So we’re on this train, huddled in a corner and travelling RAC, when this woman who has a berth but wants another is trying to persuade the TTE that she needs a lower berth. (For those wondering why we ‘huddled’ – there were three of us sharing it. And Laloo dearest has added a third berth above the window on the side berths – which makes it the most uncomfortable journey on earth)

At this point one of her friends helpfully pointed out to the TTE that she was pregnant. The woman turned around and hushed her up. And then I looked at her belly and realised that she was indeed – and atleast at five months. I just hadnt realised it in her loose kurta and bulky sweater.

I’ve always wondered why we try so hard to cover up what is just so beautiful and joyous. It’s something to be celebrated, right? And while I don’t suggest midrif bearing tops, I wouldn’t shush up anyone who mentioned it. Yes, I know lots of people are superstitious.. whatever…

Anyway – that is neither here nor there I guess, since I am done with the baby business. What I do want to do is join in and appreciate M.I.A’s pregnant belly at the Grammy Awards. Not only did she totally celebrate it, she also danced with the best and is due any day now. I just like her spirit. It embodies all that is female – full of life, literally a belly full of life, celebrating, doing her own thing until the last minute and being healthy and glowing and gorgeous.

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46 thoughts on “Full of life

  1. What is with this *huddled in a corner* *travelling RAC* thing? You make it sound so tough/bad.

    Me: LOL! Arun – when is the last time you travelled on a train? now the narrow side window berths are also three tiered. do you know what that means? it means you arent able to sit up… and it wasnt just the husband – it was husband, big built male cousin, AND me…. now do you understand why it wasnt fun?
    Me, during the college days, I always delayed the reservations till the last time so that me and my GF can travel RAC. We always had a blast, and that too in the Tird-tier!!!

    Me: ah – huge difference between young teens wanting to cosy up and a very tired set of parents wanting a night of rest before getting to office!

    I know it is painful travelling RAC with a stranger.. but travelling with a spouse and still sounding like you had a tough time??

    Me: so now that you know why i had a tough time – you can apologise πŸ˜€ surely you know better than to think the UPwaali in me would crib unnecessarily!

    Come on!!!

  2. MM,

    Given the number of things that can go wrong, I’m not really surprised. Or she may be trying to avoid comments on how she got that way, if she wasn’t travelling with an obvious husband. (yes, I’ve seen workers on trains, including the TT, making such comments – they didn’t know I understood the language).

    M

    Me: yep, maybe all of those….

    although to the first I have to say – how does it change anything? I could give birth to a stillborn baby…. i cant not tell people until the day i deliver no? after a point its rather obvious that i am pregnant or else swallowed a football :p

  3. FYI- M.I.A. went into labor soon after the Grammy’s and now has a baby! But kudos to her, I was so tensed, all through….wondering what if her water breaks now, or what if she goes into labor during the act! WHEW!
    btw I am really surprised that anyone would shush up on their pregnancy!!!

  4. Perhaps she didn’t want to invite unwanted attention/commiseration?

    Me: Sure…. but then you cant want everything, can you! why on earth will someone randomly exchange berths with you if you dont give them a valid reason.

    And while i’m amazed at M.I.A’s energy, i;m not too happy about her exposing the will-pop-out-any-minute-now baby to speakers at deafening volume. What if she went into labor on stage? What if she couldn’t get to a hospital on time? I know everybody would have been prepared for it, but that’s hardly a wise way to welcome a newborn, in my opinion.

    Me: Well I’ll disagree again. We all do our best – and a once in a lifetime opportunity isnt going to come again – specially for an artist. Its rather obvious she doesnt do it everyday. Children turn out fine without our fussing and pregnant women who work in construction work through the dust, the roar of machinery, heat… everything. No doubt they dont have a choice…. but in MIA’s case I just think its a glorious celebration and acceptance of pregnancy as a normal, natural and wonderful part of your life. i was so sickly through both mine that i absolutely envy her the health and the joy… and bless her!

  5. Yes indeed it is something to celebrate!! When I was pregnant with my kids I did not wait to tell my friends. Just the day after I found out the I shared it, coz I got pregnant after lot of trouble.

    I loved the feeling of being pregnant. The second time around during the days before delivery, I felt sad that this is it. This is my last pregnancy. You know the mixed feeling.

    Anyways, I am glad I enjoyed both my pregnancies.

    BTW, M.I.A had a baby boy the day after the Grammys. She is one cool Mama.

  6. Oh ho ho…I would love for my girlfriend to read this. Several of her “intellectual” “liberated” friends think that pregnancy is ugly, unsightly, like a disease. They think a woman who is visibly pregnant, shouldn’t venture out in public. She isn’t that extreme, but she generally thinks it’s ugly. I find it really weird that girls should think this way. I mean it’s natural, right? And I hate to sound corny, but one of my colleagues was pregnant(until recently, she is now the mother of a very pretty little girl), and that “glow” that they talk about? I could see that in her, I really could. Remember Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair? I was like…just dumbstruck by that picture. It was just really majestic somehow.\

    Me: wow – its a rare single young man who doesnt think pregnant women look like cows! it usually takes your own wife being pregnant to realise that its a lovely, glowy, ‘full’ period of life… tell your girlfriend she’s a lucky woman!

  7. yes,yes and yes…exactly my thoughts…and you know its not just about superstition…peopel just dont think its beautiful or wonderful…the arrival of a aby yes,the care of a mother to be yes…but dont flaunt it is the advice…thats crazy!
    who wouldnt want to?women who are pregnant are always trying to hide behind a dupatta or something or have a shawl all spread out over the belly…

    celebration should be the mantra….the glorious feelings should be exhibited..shared…flaunted..

  8. TTE = Travelling Ticket Examiner.

    The idea of pregnant sex fascinates me. I once read this story about a Mughal who had sex with a wife during labour– the baby was stillborn. Anyway. As you said, doing the thing until the last minute…

  9. she was actually due the same night…at least thats what I heard.

    wow..

    gutsy allright but didnt quite favor her outfit.

    Me: LOL! neither did i. guess its just a matter of taste

  10. Hmmm… that’s one way of looking at it. But she was reportedly offered a bed at the awards fucntion so she could perform on stage or some such thing… doesn’t it look at least a little bit like she’s making money off it, and somehow render it a bit cheap?

    Me: I will disagree you know… If it had been just another professional banker/software person/journo, working until she went into labour we’d have lauded her professionalism. our maids work literally till they have to go to hospital. its just another job na? and a prestigious opportunity – to perform at the grammy’s. why not go ahead if you feel up to it? carpe diem?

  11. I think its an Indian thing! Many of my friends too wore bulky clothes to hide their tummy. In the US,its the opposite. Here the mom-to-be keeps patting her stomach as if to reassure her baby inside and they dont mind someone touching their stomach. One of my friends was here on a project and his pregnant colleague asked him to feel the baby kicking inside. He was scandalised….actually scandalised is too tame a word for what he felt,LOL πŸ™‚

  12. I was thinking just that when I saw Aishwaryas Rai’s recent photos. I dont know if she is pregnant but she sure looks like it. The clothes she has chosen to wear suddenly are so… hiding my baby bump style! If she is pregnant I am sure many will rejoice. Why not just celebrate it.

  13. I agree… πŸ˜€

    I wish I could find a post of yours on which I didn’t agree and then commented and then have a nice long debate with you on that particular post/subject…*sigh*
    No such luck so far! πŸ˜€

  14. Hey MM,
    No pictures of the babies even today??? 😦
    Btw… absolutely love your writing and have an award waiting for you at my blog πŸ™‚

    Prashanti

    Me: thanks so much prashanti! and no pics because i’ve not even had time to breathe yet!

  15. this reminds me of my undergrads days. there was this girl from bihar who was pursuing her undergrads after marriage. she got pregnant in the second year of course.. and all the girls of the class became so worried, as if it was an illegitimate pregnancy. we stopped talking to her, nearly outcasted her… and her fault was that she was pregnant. unfortunately she lost this baby and everyone was suddenly so happy.
    now i realize how bad a conduct was that. pregnancy is indeed such a beautiful experience how can one not feel proud about it?

  16. What a beautiful title! I’d never thought that the common phrase could ‘hold’ such meaning!
    I really do like your writing.

  17. Actually superstition takes higher place. I was the first person whom my cousin informed about her pregnancy. But she warned me to keep mum as her in-laws didnt want anyone (ever our family) to know unless 3 months pass!!

    Another friend did the same, didnt reveal it to me until it was 6 months. In-law instructions!! Needless to say, I was dismayed. I will only pray for her wellbeing and her kid’s. I just wish there were not such in-law compulsions to stifle happiness.

    Me: not just inlaws. often parents are supersitious too. in india there’s that whole concept of nazar – they believe women who cant have children will cast an evil eye on your belly – yet another sad aspersion cast on someone who is already struggling with infertility. very sad.

  18. i have heard of hiding till three months, though i was too excited to even comply with that!

    and i had so much fun during my pregnancy! i had a tee that showed an arrow going towards my belly and said Baby Under Construction! πŸ™‚

    i wore it as often as i could because i found it so cute and i felt wicked wearing it! πŸ˜€

    am dying to use it second time round though in between i gave it to preggie buddy! dunno if she wore it!

    cheers!

  19. It’s wonderful to be celebrating life but one reason why a lot of women try to hide their bump is that they’re not comfortable with their bodies. If you can be that pregnant and comfortable in your skin, kudos to you!

  20. MM, I used to feel exactly the same as you.. why would someone cover up or try to hide something so beautiful? I’m 30 weeks pregnant now, but I had an ectopic and a miscarriage before this one – and for reasons I cant explain, was ashamed that I couldn’t seem to carry a pregnancy to term. And for that reason I kept very quiet this time around until I was well into the 2nd trimester – and even then only to those closest to me. So I guess for some women its more than just superstition that makes them keep the whole thing quiet. Of course, for me, now there is no hiding it. I still wear western clothes but lately started attempting to wear a shawl – no superstition or anything, but people actually STARE at your belly. Initially I used to be proud that people notice, but after a while it gets pretty uncomfortable when random strangers – the liftboy, the servers in the cafeteria, etc stare at your belly. It IS a part of your body after all!

    Me: I’m terribly sorry to hear that… and I would never understand, never having gone throught it. Have you had your baby yet? Congratulations….

    And as for people staring – I realise that people stare anyway… At a lot of stuff. I didnt mind it really. I just hated the touching!!!

  21. Its sad that some women would want to hide something which is so special.

    You have a living being inside you! I think I would be very proud!

    I didn’t like the dress but I think it accentuated her pregnancy perfectly, beautifully.

  22. Well I hadn’t quite looked at it that way. Sure it is just another job… but one sees so many celebrities using their personal lives to make more money that one does become cynical at some point, I guess. Nothing against pregnancy or preggie women … it’s a choice after all, the ‘how long you want to work for when you’re pregnant’ thing.

    Me: okay – i dont care strongly for the argument i am going to make, but i shall make it any way – what harm is there in making money on your body if there is no harm in making it on your mind? or your talent? just a random thought that struck me. although i dont know if its relevant in this case. i mean why is it better to sell your brains to the software company, than it is to sell your body at a brothel? at the best of times my mind is a lot more important to me than my body is….

  23. It is a great feeling to be pregnant and the best part is that you are not getting your periods for such a long time! Real freedom. It is not a ‘natural’ or a ‘normal’ feeling- its inexplicable…both wonderful and scarey. There is however no point in hiding the fact that one is pregnant, I had read somewhere that for a pregnant woman, even crossing the street can be a risk, but before doing anything the lady should reflect upon it and if she feels confident she can go ahead! So it is entirely the lady’s concern and decision.Don’t you think so?

    Me: well at any point, anything is a risk – isnt it? for the first three years of a child’s life you carry it in your arms to cross a street and risk getting knocked over by a car and injuring the child too – but you do it, dont you? Of course anything you do is entirely your decision… but people will always have an opinion… thats the thing with observation and free speech πŸ˜‰

  24. OK.. I apologise, but I did’nt knew that it was 3 of you…
    πŸ™‚

    Me: :p accepted. three of us in a new format – of three side berths! lalooji ki jai

  25. Nah, no harm really. Bet they all think “Okay great so people are going to pay me to simply pose, or say a few lines… so why the heck not?” and go ahead and take the money for that. No harm. But like you said… at the best of times, the mind is more important than the body … IMHO, perhaps because it takes more to … do brain-work, more effort, compared to … using looks. These days it’s so much easier in the looks department, anyone can go under the knife and emerge looking great (or not, but mostly they do). Talent is innate. Which is what renders it and being brainy ‘special’ and maybe for that reason, earnings based on either of these are somehow considered more hard-earned and deserved, even respectable, than those made by looks alone. ‘sides, celebrity is such a confusing thing… there’s no saying who’ll be one next, no basis for it as such. And occasionally it seems easily achieved.

    I’ve gone off on a tangent. And probably gotten ahead of myself.

    Me: not at all… this was fun πŸ™‚ i loved hearing what you had to say…

  26. I cant wait to be married, so i can have my baby! My boyfriend and i keep ‘planning’ on when to have the baby and then we stop mid sentence, to realise that the one thing we look fwd to, and fast, is our own lil one! πŸ™‚
    My mum supposedly had the biggest tummy she had seen, when she was carrying me, and till today, he face lights up when she talks of just how wonderful that whole period used to be – everyone suspected triplets (yeah, that’s HOW BIG!) and she used to waddle (walk) πŸ™‚ to work, everyday!
    I know i am gonna flaunt my tum when i have one – who cares what the others think?

  27. @ Mad Momma – didn’t they announce that they were gonna get rid of that three birth thingy? I distinctly remember reading about it in the papers. It’ll probably go away in a while.

    Me: well i’ve got my fingers crossed. its going to be the death of me!

  28. NK had told me that log appne kute ke pregnancy bhi chupate hai.

    I sent emails, phonecalls and texts as soon as I found out I was preggo. Only when I was preggo with my last child, i didnt tell people until I was visible because of all the negative comments I got.

  29. I guess some people may have their cultural/religious sentiments associated with not openly talking about their pregnancy. I asked a nurse (originally from Nigeria) I work with if she was having a boy or a girl recently and she said to me if was a bad omen to talk about it. So I got the message and backed off. But you know some people like to celebrate and some may want to keep it to themselves (or hide it as it may seem to others). To each their own! Apna kya jata hai?!
    πŸ™‚

    Me: πŸ™‚ apna kuch nahi jaata hai – though for someone like me who runs a personal blog – its quite strange. That said – i’ve begun to realise its yet another form of repression. everything surrounding women – we’re taught to hide and be ashamed of. the reasons are different, but you either wear a veil and head scarf because your religion tells you to be modest, or you dont work during periods so that you can rest, or you dont talk about pregnancy because its superstitious. we perpetuate such stuff by saying, its none of our business. i dont agree. if it were something to do with men, i can bet you there’d be a lot more openness. we just repress ourselves, and perpetuate all this nonsense – giving it new reasons and each time using the religion or superstition card to oppress our own gender… sad. we need to give such stuff more thought.

  30. i have no idea about superstitions and why it is all hushed but i m just taking a guess

    cud it be because of the psychological stress that comes with a whole lot of people knowing and the expectations of the in laws and things for women? maybe the women are just dealing with a whole lot of sickness and changes in the body for them to handle additional burden of answering people hazaar questions… even worse if it’s a house where people only want a son

    i dont know i m just trying to justify the situation *shrugs*

    if and when i get pregnant my only reaction will be to run to the guy and say oops galti ho gayi πŸ˜›

  31. i just remembered

    a friend of mine had henna party when she was pregnant. a henna artist drew henna on her tummy. it was great! i’d do the same if i ever get pregnant. πŸ˜€

  32. Yo Momma!
    Good observation…it’s quite different here in Melbourne. While not in midriff baring tops, women here are quite proud of the baby bump, right down to the belly button protruding through the tee shirt. It’s a good sight…girlfriends sitting at a cafe, with the mom-to-be looking pretty in an off-shoulder dress that happily accentuates the life she is bringing on earth. I’d like to be like that someday.
    nice post.

  33. i dunno… i didn’t like her dress, and it had nothing to do with her being pregnant. I wouldn’t have liked it even if she wasn’t.
    It’s true that being pregnant is nothing to be ashamed of… but I think that that dress is! πŸ™‚

    Me: LOL!!

  34. I too feel very strongly about this thing. How can someone keep such a hugely exciting news hushed up. I am sure whenever I am pregnant I would almost shout it out from rooftops. It’s a thing to be celebrated!

  35. oh you are done? I thought maybe there was a brood on the way judging by your enthu on the blog πŸ˜‰

    And from moi limited experience, girls glow the most when preggie..i noticed..

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