Fate of an Almond

I show her a badam.
She smiles. 7 front teeth.
‘No,’ goes her little head.

I put it in my mouth and chew slowly. Deliberately.
She looks.

I show her some chewed stuff on my tongue.
She looks. A bit intrigued.
She wants, I hope.
She keeps looking.

I take out some from my mouth and quickly put it in her mouth with my finger.

Ummm. New taste. Funny texture.
Nah! I don’t want. She uses her fingers to clean her tongue of almond goo.

I lean forward and put her fingers in my mouth. Lick them clean.

I don’t want any chewed badam on the sofa. Or my skirt.

Thank You Everybody

Like an orchestra conductor thanks the artists after the performance. Like a Director thanks her actors.
Maybe more like a solo artist thanks all the technical staff.

Like a Mother who thanks all the experts in the delivery room actually.

Doctors, nurses, cleaning lady, pediatrician- there were loads of people in that room. Like a Mother who thanks everybody who helped her deliver the baby, stitch her back painfully, clean little Naseem-o and make soothing sounds for us, I raised my voice and said, “Thank you, everybody!”

Previous two times after Sahar and Ali were born, I was calm, relieved and happy. And quiet, I might add.

This time, I was happy, ecstatic and so full of energy! I was laughing. I said, Come, come, give me the baby. I will take her back with me from this room.
They gave her to me. I put the little one on my chest….and our stretcher was wheeled back to the same bed where I had been crying tears 20 minutes ago.

Mum joined us. I said, I am hungry. I haven’t eaten anything today. Mum fed me lunch. I nursed the baby. Sms-ed Afzal.
She was Naseem already. Born on 16 September,2008. Sleeping right now.

This is what I was born to do

An old forgotten friend found me and wrote to me and the happiness it has unleashed in my heart seems to have uncorked the writing genie from the bottle.
Maybe it is coincidence, I don’t know. A cat had got my tongue, but I have recovered it.
So much to type in and share…..a lot of it from my notebooks and scraps.

To start, please welcome the love of our lives, Naseem. Our Most Wanted daughter. Baby Bonus.

NamNam is sleeping right now. She’s 11 months old.
She is named after Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s award-winning film, Naseem. Cool breeze of morning. I made it to regain my faith, retain my sanity, he said about the film.

I saw this movie three times alone. Before I met Af.

Baby Nam was born in Batra Hospital on 16 September 2008.

I was lying in bed in the Labour ward crying loudly every time the pain came (I remember wishing I had an overhead camera to roll and record that dramatic, filmy crying). I had a drip going into my arm and my doctor had begun to induce labour in me. The lady in the bed next to mine pleaded with a Nurse, ‘Call her mother please, look how she is crying.’ When my spasm was over, I turned and smiled tiredly at her. It was full house in the ward that morning.

Suddenly, way ahead of Dr. Sen’s expectations, my lower body started convulsing and the baby started to push her way out. Nobody was ready.

Running. Calling out. They transferred me on to the stretcher, held the drip and ran as they wheeled me to the Delivery Room.

“DON”T PUSH, DON’T PUSH. TIGHTEN, Hold on,” people screamed around me. Which made me laugh (almost with pride) because the whole morning we had been hearing the staff screaming at and encouraging other women to “PUSH! ZOR LAGAO, TAKAT SE, PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!”

Anyway, I am all nanga-panga, being wheeled hysterically into the Delivery room, and I am suddenly very calm because my body is out of control by now and I know She is coming…….end of the worst pregnancy in the history of my life.

“This is what I born to do” This was the line in my head, crystal clear.

This is what I was born to do.