The Mad Sibling, aka Tambi can’t stand the sight of blood. No one else gives it much thought but I joined the dots and I seem to remember a childhood incident triggering it.
My uncle (Chhote Nana) was about 18 and Tambi was probably all of 4. So uncle was in a bike accident and he was carried into our house by some men who found him on the road. His foot was dripping blood all over the wooden floor and I have a very vivid memory of it. He was on the right side of my vision and on the far left, Tambi walked in, took one look at him and began puking all over the floor. It was a scary sight for a 4 year old particularly since it involved a loved one. Me? Apparently I’ve always been hard as nails.
So anyway, while it wasn’t severe enough to prevent him from watching chickens being slaughtered for dinner and running around headless, it was enough to ensure that he never again got involved in anything that required him to see human blood. Years later a cousin came to us for some weeks. He was in our town for college and had a foot injury. Part of the ragging rules required him to be in formals and his foot had festered within the closed shoes to an extent where he needed to take medical leave and leave it open. Everyday I would sit and clean his foot in a basin of warm water, press out the pus, and dress the wound for him. Tambi ran around and did his errands but refused to even be in the same room when I cleaned the wound.
Tambi was dating my SIL when I had the Bean. The OA was with me right through tests, examinations, injections, everything and of course finally even sat through my C-sec and watched the doctors carve me open, put in their hands and pull out a
plum, Bean. The OA was held up by the SIL as a shining example of everything a man, husband and father should be (I am wondering how he deals with the pressure) – although if anyone had bothered to ask me, in true wife style I’d have described to them in great detail, every one of his flaws. He is in fact held up as a shining example all the time, very often by this man’s wife when she wants the curtains changed or the fans cleaned.
Anyhow, Tambi shrugged and told the SIL that he’d do anything that didn’t involve being in hospital. And to be fair, he did – from romantic proposal, to stunning ring engraved with a verse, to surprise romantic getaways. I figured the SIL was running out of luck because you can’t have all the luck on earth you know. And if you can, then where the hell was my romantic proposal and diamond ring, I ask you?!
Now if I’d been the SIL I’d have given him a kick in the pants and told him he had another think coming and he’d jolly well be in the labour room having his fingers crushed to a pulp. But the SIL is a wiser, gentler girl who accepted his failing and moved on. Or perhaps she wisely realised it wasn’t yet the time or place for that conversation.
Now this might be time for a full disclosure. The SIL too, has a terribly low pain tolerance level and the last time she was in town, she fell ill and needed an injection. The sibling went in with her but was looking so grey that she chased him out and called Ma and me in to be hold her hands. At that time I remember teasing her and asking her how she’d go through labour pain. She wanted kids and there is no way around that. She paled at the thought and admitted to being absolutely terrified.
By the grace of God when they did plan kids, she had a smooth pregnancy and as the due date neared I was beginning to feel bad for her. To have a husband who is not comfortable in the labour room is not the ideal situation. Being a rather intrepid sort myself, I am usually very dismissive of people who have any sort of fear or phobia. And yet, as his sister and one who has for years seen him react badly to blood and hospital situations, I couldn’t help but want to pat him on the head and say, ‘There, there, baby, I understand.’ Thankfully her parents were going to be there for the delivery and I was very proud of her. I know I’d have not bothered with the OA’s fears or phobias and would have insisted on him coming in with me, dead, comatose or alive and kicking.
So anyway, Tambi was with her through a number of injections and tests but we were all still wondering about labour. When he called to say that she had gone into labour I spent the night praying for her to have the strength to deal with the pain, sending her messages and crying at the thought of how terrifying it must be for her. When it was over I mentally doffed my hat to her and wrote her a note and told her on the phone how proud I was of her. More so because I remembered the terrified girl who only some months ago had asked me to hold her hand through a mere injection.
I am sorry to say, I forgot all about my brother and his phobia of blood. Until this morning. Ma casually mentioned that he cut the baby’s cord. And then it all came back to me. Him rubbing a ball on her back through labour. Holding her hand while she laboured and finally witnessing his son being born. Perhaps I am just a fond sister, but I was so proud of him for putting his own fears aside and going right in there and being with his wife when she needed him.
That long night, both of them conquered their fears. And as they became parents, they also grew just that little bit stronger. Something that will hold them in good stead as parents. I see pictures of the two of them smiling into the camera, protectively holding their son between them and I see two very very strong people. Two young people who are finally worthy of being parents to my beautiful, bright eyed, alert little nephew. Who, I might tell you, I have fallen deeply in love with. I think he is the most beautiful child on earth and I am considering auctioning off my two children just to buy a one way ticket to see him.
Allow me to present the child we’ve awaited so eagerly …. our little prince. *applause*