Let the record state – 07.06.2006


Let the record state

… that a few hours before giving birth to my son I was picking up the father of the child-to-be from the railway station. I had already been told that for various medical reasons I was going to have a C-section ( no need to go into reasons in this post) and it was only a question of fixing a date so that the other adult could make it. And so we chose a Thursday since that was the earliest he could get a flight. A full ten days before my due date to avoid any further complications.

The morning of the delivery dawned hot and sweaty. And I went to the station to collect the other adult with my mother. My MIL had already arrived and was having kittens watching me run up and down the stairs at my size ( I had gained 17 kilos despite being the most active preggie woman in the country) and the thought of venturing out on the morning of a major, albeit routine surgery was more than she could handle. Although I think she was rather touched at the devotion to her beloved son.

We all set off to the hospital – the rest of the family in their Sunday best and me in a raggedy nightie since I was merely the person delivering. Ma prayed all the way and had been praying for the last 20 days. And I was growing more irritated by the minute. Statistics show more danger to mother and child in natural birth than C-section and she was behaving like I was not only doing something terribly pathbreaking and dangerous, but also betraying entire womankind by doing something so unnatural in the process.

I had not been allowed to eat as is usual with surgery and to top it all, I was not even allowed to drink water. The heat was increasing. My belly was getting to be more annoying by the minute and the baby was kicking with increased might and regularity as if he or she knew it was time to get out.

My little cousins J&K sweetly sat by me placing a wet spoon on my dry lips every few minutes and once in a while cheating and letting a few drops of water trickle in when the grown ups were not looking. Yes, those were the last few hours that I was still officially not a grown up. The room was full of anxious family and I was getting nervous and impatient. Mum was looking more miserable by the minute and looked like she would burst into tears any moment.

That is when someone pointed out that it was 05.05.05 and a Thursday or the 5th day of the week. The child would be very lucky.

Nurses and doctors floated in and out and various shots were given without explanation. I think I shocked the family and the MIL when I lost my temper and finally yelled at a nurse who just walked in and started rubbing my already sore wrist to inject yet something else. Unused to a mere patient questioning her uniformed self she almost dropped the syringe. I refused to let her give me the shot without telling me what it was that the doctor has asked her to give me. Losing control over everything I was clutching at straws to assert myself!

In the midst of the chaos a junior doctor walked in to calm my fears. And then pointed to the prone form of the OA stretched out on the bench beside my bed. What is wrong with him, she asked. “Oh, 9 months of pregnancy have exhausted him,” I replied caustically. I finally learned what they mean by beating a hasty retreat. I don’t think she was willing to continue facing me in that mood.

A couple of women went into labour while I was waiting for my turn (I had been scheduled for 12 noon) and because of fetal distress were rushed in for C-sections. Finally I was to be taken in at 4.30 pm. The hunger, thirst, impatience, exhaustion and excitement were taking their toll on me. The other adult in the mean time was trying to rig the number 5 business and ensure that the baby was delivered on the stroke of 5, with my numerologically obsessed father egging him on. I of course couldn’t care less by that time. Get the baby out, I begged anyone who gave me a moment.

At 5pm I went in and all hell broke loose. I had been promised general anesthesia by my gyn who had checked that I was fit enough for it, instead of a spinal. Why the insistence? Well, because the gyn herself has admitted that spinal anesthesia often left you with a backache for life.But doctors preferred it to general because general meant monitoring a lot more and needed to be much quicker. Basically the easy way out for them. Whatever.

By then I was almost hysterical and was refusing to let them give me the shot in my spine. Anyway its not easy to roll up like a prawn when you are the size of a whale so that they can give you the shot in the correct location.

I think the doctors met their match in me that evening. I wriggled my toes in impatience and my legs refused to cave in and go numb under anesthesia.

On the outside the other adult was trying to sneakily find ways to be with me because he had already been refused admission. He made some rude sounds about the “village” I belonged to and began to form his own underhanded scheme.

Many years ago I had heard of banking cord stem cells and I knew that I wanted to do it somehow. Fortunately by the time I got pregnant it had come to India – we were one of the first 50 parents or so to avail of it and were in august company like Raveena Tandon and Karishma Kapoor! The Life Cell head office was in Chennai and as luck would have it, we were posted there at that time. The other adult picked up a refrigerated and specially packed kit from them and flew it in for the delivery.

So this was his wild scheme. We had already informed my gyn about our desire to bank the cord blood but the rest of my little town and the little hospital had never heard of any such thing. The junior doctors had been given certain peremptory orders by my Gyn and they had no clue why they were doing certain things. The prepping for the operation was not beginning because of this confusion of course and my gyn who was late and still with the last C-sec, was not there to explain. Nobody bothered to check with me.

So there I was, huge beached whale lying on the table, the lights above me taking on scary proportions, chaos abounding and my toes still wriggling. The OT door burst open and I saw the OA sneakily trying to follow the gyn in. I also saw him being shooed out in an undignified manner. He had decided to come along on the pretext of teaching them what to do with the kit. I give him full marks for trying. And a zero for believing it would work. Most people in my little town were shocked at the thought that he would want to be with me even for a natural birth, let alone try so hard to hold my hand through an operation dripping blood.

The rest is a blur. They made me smell something and pass out because I wouldn’t shut up. Or stop wriggling my toes.

Now I wish I had done some sort of drugs in college because I believe you should try it all, but I was a funk and I didn’t. Anyway, the next half an hour passed in a psychedelic daze and I saw the most bright and amazing visions – like the visualisations in Windows Media Player!

And then I regained consciousness and could feel them pressing down hard on my chest. Lots of hands touching me and pressure from every side. And disjointed voices saying that the baby was stuck. His head was too big and they had to cut some more. I could feel hands moving around my insides and when I opened my eyes, all I saw was black – they had taped a piece of cloth over my eyes and tied my arms down so that I didn’t accidentally touch one of the doctors. The overdose of restraint coupled with what I could hear them saying made me panic and I started crying and thrashing around. I think. Before I knew it, they made me inhale and I was out like a light again.

And then, filmy style – I heard a baby wail. I keep replaying the thrill in my head. It was worth all this nonsense. And I unsuccessfully tried looking through my blindfold, and then passed out again. When I regained consciousness, I was all stitched up and good to go. And the baby was nowhere to be seen.

Desperately I looked around and asked the nurses if it was a girl or a boy. A boy they answered. I don’t think they had ever been faced with such a reaction before. Still quite doped out, I broke down and cried hysterically,”I don’t want him, please give me a girl, exchange him with any of those who want a boy.”

I wish I could describe the stunned silence. This is small town UP where a boy child is worshipped and a the birth of a girl child is mourned. In rage they pushed me out of the OT and left me lying there all hooked up and stitched up, on a trolley in the corridor.

I lay there wondering how long I would have to suffer for my sins! Fortunately my friend came by looking for me when they realised it had been an hour since the child had arrived and there was no sign of me. Wheeled to my room I was taken aback by the crowd. I rolled in like a diva and spoke in tongues. Yup. I was doped out of my head and spoke to everyone in all 7 or so different languages I knew. But I still didn’t want to see my baby.

And then my mother insisted that I stop acting childish and open my eyes and look at my son. Small, pink and white, with bright beady eyes looking up at me. I wish I could say I fell in love with him immediately. I didn’t. I felt nothing. Not even when a room full of people urged me to feed him. I glared at them to get lost while I gave this breastfeeding business a shot. It was not fun.

The rest of the time in hospital was not fun either. The contractions that pulled at my stitches when I fed him, the injections, the drip, the catheter, the pain when the anesthesia wore off, the inability to sit up and lead a normal life, the inability to have a cold shower in the hot, dry, north Indian summer, the inability to change his nappies or even carry him for two entire days. Even after his birth I was not allowed to march up and down from my first floor room with him in my arms. And oh, they didn’t let me bathe for the 9 days that the stitches were in and finally my mum had a bed carried into the toilet (ah the joys of old rambling homes) and then lay me down there and bathed me top half and bottom half, excluding the stitches because even she could see that I was sweating and miserable in the May heat.

Mum swore her natural birth was less painful and if she’d been given an epidural life would have been different. Barely any labour and absolutely no recovery time. All those who think C-Sections are a style statement – you have another think coming, and I take offence. Pregnancy is not easy. Neither is childbirth. And I don’t think you are in a position to diss something you have never tried and hopefully never will.

Sometimes I looked down at the C-section scar and wish I had fought the doctor for more than cosmetic reasons. But scared first time moms cannot be blamed for caving into pressure. Check out this mother’s traumatic experience and the trauma of another mother who expresses her trauma through art.

It doesn’t matter anymore though. I have the most adorable son and I love him to pieces. Literally. Sometimes I squeeze him really hard and hope that will make him stay this size forever.


Sure could use a little good news – 05.06.2006

MONDAY, JUNE 05, 2006


You are tagged

20 years ago I . . .
1. was about to start grade 2
2. was dying for a Barbie doll
3. didn’t know what a computer looked like

10 years ago I . . .
1. was 10 days away from my first day of college
2. was wondering how I would survive college in Chennai ( fortunately I didn’t find out)
3. joined St Stephen’s and realised how uncool I was!!!

5 years ago I . . .
1. was 6 kilos lighter
2. could have been up at this hour and not been giddy with sleep
3. had a crush on the other adult and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

3 years ago I . . .
1. was on my honeymoon right about now
2. learning that shaving and waxing don’t really matter
3. learning to bring home the bacon for a husband who was straight out of college and not yet working

1 year ago I . . .
1. was learning that my 1 month old baby didn’t care if I hadn’t painted my chipped nails
2. breastfeeding was a great way to lose weight
3. was more bothered about my stretchmarks than I am now

So far this year I . . .
1. have a few great freelance offers
2. am back in Delhi, a city I love
3. am the most comfortable I have ever been in my skin

Yesterday I . . .
1. started considering actively working towards weight loss
2. been thrilled because a friend in Bombay, M had a son early in the morning and another friend M has just discovered she is expecting! Baby boom time!
3. realised that I could not have married a more wonderful man (yuck…mushy but true… )

Today I . . .
1. have not done a shred of work
2. cuddled the brat while he was eating his breakfast and let him get porridge all over my dress
3. forced myself to eat bitter gourd for lunch in an attempt to set a good example.

Tomorrow I will . . .
1. hopefully go for a jog
2. start work with a new magazine
3. spend up all that I earned last month

In the next year I will . . .
1. probably be diaper-free
2. hopefully be preggie again
3. probably give up hope on a career at all

In the next minute I will tag . . .
1. Candy 2. Jedi 3. Dipta



Sure could use a little good news…


I used to love this Anne Murray song as a kid, called A Little Good News.

It makes me heartsick when I hear it now and sometimes makes me wish I had not brought a child into a world where we wake up every morning to a newspaper carrying bad news as the headline. I found a site some years ago called goodnewsindia. I check it out once in a while as an upper! Check it out some time when you feel that the country and the world are headed for disaster. They might be, but its nice to know that someone out there is chronicling what is right with the world. And here are the lyrics to the song I love.

A Little Good News

Anne Murray

I rolled out this morning
Kids had the mornin’ news show on
Bryant Gumbel was talkin’ ’bout the fighting in Lebanon
Some senator was squawkin’ ’bout the bad economy
It’s gonna get worse you see,
We need a change in policy
There’s a local paper rolled up in a rubber band
One more sad story’s one more than I can stand
Just once how I’d like to see the headline say
“Not much to print today, can’t find nothin’ bad to say”, because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down
Nobody fired a shot in anger,
nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

I’ll come home this evenin’
I’ll bet that the news will be the same
Somebody takes a hostage,
Somebody steals a plane
How I wanna hear the anchor man
Talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air,
How everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me

Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland,
all the children had to do was play
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down
Nobody fired a shot in anger,
Nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

Reservations unlimited – 24.05.2006

So another old post I’ve dug out. I used to do a lot of current affairs in the good old day. I notice that has dwindled. Anyway, be gentle. These are old posts.


Reservations unlimited

And another viewpoint on reservations by Purushottam Agrawal. Here’s yet another article I loved by Amit Sen Gupta in this week’sTehelka. And since you need to subscribe to it to read it, the only way I can get it to you is to paraphrase some of the points he makes.

To begin with, how many of those protesting actually plan to stay on in the country? From the IITs to the BHUs to the little universities tucked away in Punjab and Tamil Nadu… almost every student is taking examinations to go abroad. So they don’t want to give seats, they want to study in colleges that are subsidised by tax payers’ money and they want to take this education abroad to benefit others?

Next, exactly how do you define ‘merit’? By your ability to study in the best schools and attend the best coaching classes that teach you to beat the system? I don’t think that would be right.

Moving on – the next argument is that Indian educational institutions will lose their competitive edge. Oh but that would be terrible! We wouldn’t want to lose out on all the brilliant research and inventions that the IITs and IIMs give us! And we certainly wouldn’t want Silicon Valley to lose out on the steady flow of worker ants they get from India. No sirree. We just need to keep subsidising higher education with our taxes, sending our children to coaching classes to find a way to “crack” the entrances and then send them off to the land of milk and honey to benefit the white masters. And we certainly wouldn’t want to send those who don’t make the cut.

Something I had no inkling of – The southern states have a much higher percentage of reservation for backward classes and they seem to be doing better than the BIMARU states who are vociferously objecting. Valid point I must admit.

The inability to cope is equally valid. The system needs to be sensitive to those taught in the vernacular. Almost every educated Indian speaks three languages. Everyone of us has a mother tongue that is not English. So why not take that into account?

He makes many more valid points but those are also part ofPurushottam Agrawal’s write up. And my oldest favourite AnilThakraney and his piece on The warring students.

Having said that. I would still oppose reservations because simply, they don’t really achieve their purpose. And the scope for screwing up in this corruption ridden country just increases manifold. All it gives us is a few more students starving to death and a beautifully divided vote bank.


Merry Christmas – 25.12.2006

I had planned to go chronologically with the posts from Ye Olde Bloge but it seemed like a good time to pull out this old post – actually I was over enthu and had three posts up on X’mas in 2006. We were in Allahabad and this was Pre-Bean. Do you remember a time before the Bean? I don’t. It seems like I’ve just always been her mother. I present the X’mas season posts that week. Have a great X’mas and a Happy New Year you all. If you don’t hear from me in the next week – it’s because I’m busy travelling. Catch you on the other side.

But where is the X’mas tree?

This year since I am going to my parents’ home I decided not to put up an X’mas tree… it would gather dust while I was away and my son would pull it to pieces when I got back… So I just put up a twig with red and gold baubles and filled the vase that holds it with red and gold star and heart shaped baubles… It’s nice… but oh to have put up my very own tree!
Maybe next year when the Brat is older…. oh damn.. that is when the next one will be swinging on the branches….I think my tree is going to stay wrapped up in bubble wrap and tucked away for a few years yet…

Rocking around the X’mas tree

For those who are wondering why I haven’t blogged in a while… this is the reason why… I am at my parents’ home for X’mas and have just been too lazy to get on to the www…. I have been lying on a rug in front of the fire place, watching the flames for hours on end, sipping hot cups of tea and listening to music while my son sits on his haunches and methodically takes decorations off the X’mas tree and rearranges them… Sorry if I gave you guys a scare…

Last night I was dancing with him in my lap and in the mirror I saw another mother and child…. with almost identical features dancing to the very same X’mas carols, cheek to cheek, around the grand piano almost 25 years ago…Thanks for some beautiful memories, ma…

is what the OA and I have been most of this vacation on a rug in front of the fireplace…

For those who knew we were going away to a wildlife reserve for a few days, well that got cancelled. All that eating rich food and partying late finally got to me and I am laid up with some amoebic infection and surviving on toast and tea… Bah. Merry X’mas indeed!


Compliments of the season from the little drummer boy

…who only opened his gifts on X’mas morning..

began opening gifts at 2 am, when we returned from church after the midnight service…. shall soon show pictures of all my loot!

Father and son

…..have spent plenty of time bonding this vacation and I don’t know how my son will deal with the lack of space and lack of company once we get back to Delhi…playschool, here we come.

Sugar and spice and everything nice…

If you glow it’s a boy they say, some turn the theory around and say you glow if you are carrying a girl. If you carry to the front it’s a boy, but if you gain weight all around, it’s a girl. We even tried my wedding band on a chain and then on a strand of my hair to see what I am carrying. Old wives tales abound and women have for centuries tried every trick in the book to find out whether they are carrying a girl or boy. Friends and older family members want to know why I am so keen to know the gender of the baby.

Well, right from reasons like asking my brother to buy me cute baby stuff from abroad to picking the colour of the bassinet, there are a dozen reasons…. but the biggest reason? Well I don’t know about others, but I am eager to know just like so many women over the last few centuries… There is a life growing inside of me and I am not willing to be just a blank vessel!! I am eating healthy and taking every precaution to make sure that little life is nurtured and cared for. And I would like to know as much about it as possible. I am signed up for four different baby mails a week and I can tell you which body part is developing this week and how big baby is… and after all this surely it comes as no surprise that I am eager to know the gender.

My brother did buy stuff from abroad for baby bean…Baby bean’s first X’mas gifts..even before she has arrived…..Merry X’mas my little angel… Only God and my blogging friends know how badly I want a daughter!!!

My parents who have a vague grasp of blogging were very aprehensive about me posting this entry. What if it turns out to be a boy after all, they ask. Well, I will be disappointed for a while, but I will grow to love the little fellow anyway. And he will have to wear pink for the first few months because that is all the poor Mad Sibling could get, no gender neutral colours available. And as for those who read my blog…. I think they will understand my disapointment more than anyone else and be my greatest strength. For now, thank you all those who prayed for a little girl…Now all we need is a healthy pregnancy or what remains of it… and a healthy baby.

The compulsiveness instead of the impulsiveness – 18.05.2006

THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2006

The compulsiveness instead of the impulsiveness

Ok, so I don’t really have any devoted readers hanging upon my every word yet, but I still feel the need to update my blog once in a while. A bit of compulsion – not the impulsive need to put down something about a burning issue!
I would have written about poor Budhia running 65 kilometres before he collapsed – particularly because as a new mommy I feel a lost more strongly about little children than I ever did before – but seeing the amount of media space he got, I realised I was adding to the frenzy. So where is poor Budhia now? While Sabrina Lall and the medical students can keep their cause alive, who will fight for little Budhia? And after all the hullabaloo, he doesn’t even get his Limca Book mention.
I could of course add my two paise worth on reservations and quotas but there is little left to say when all has been said. Besides, who is listening? It is also rather ironic that the existing quotas are not fully utilised and that the very same SCs and OBCs for whom the quotas are being granted, are dying in hospitals while doctors go on strike to protest it.
So then let me talk about something that no one else cares about yet means the world to me. I lost my grandmother 5 days ago. She had Alzheimer’s and was suffering, but saying she is in a better place is such a cliche and really doesn’t fill the void. And it was while we were sitting around her body and grieving that my aunt mentioned in an embarassed way that it was Mother’s Day. My mother broke down further but I got up and kissed her anyway, and my cousins hugged and wished my aunt. And then suddenly everyone kissed and wished me and I realised I was the youngest and newest mommy on the block. Yes, we had lost one mommy and were all grieving, but the circle of life goes on and I was part of the continuity. In all the hugging and kissing, my little one year old toddled up to me and aping the rest of the family, gave a sloppy little kiss. I know my grandmother was smiling down on her little great grandson for consoling her favourite grandchild. May her soul rest in peace.