Afzal’s daughters have started to become quite bossy with him. Very bossy.

Naseem just climbs over him like he is a tree and perches on his shoulders, then tries to sit on his head. ‘Come and make a puzzle with me.’ She has absolute power over him. ‘MY Papa,’ she asserts.

Sahar scolds him, tells him off, explains things to him very slowly. Sometimes she interrupts our absent minded conversations to explain to Afzal what I really mean. Or want.

Aliza. I used to call Afzal and Aliza twins, when she was a baby. Afzal would stick his face next to her chubby face and ask, ‘Don’t we look like twins? Tell, tell.’ 
Many years ago, we were sitting in the front seats of a state transport bus on our return from Dharamsala to Pathankot. The seats ahead of the front door. Real private, except for the bus driver on the right who was too busy honking all the way down the mountains. I had my dupatta liberally over my head and face to protect from the heat and dust. And to soften the light on my face, I’m sure, so I looked pretty to him.
‘Why do you want to marry me?’ he asked me.
We had been having a rough time. On and off, on and off. Very happy when we were together, but sad in our silences. 
‘I think you will make a good father to my children,’ I said.
He was quiet for a while. Then he told me that apparently in Islam, the No. 1 criteria for marriageability is how good a person will be as a parent.  
That may have been the first of many future occasions when he would say (with amazement) that I am a better, more sorted out Muslim than all the ‘real’ ones he knows, himself included.
But to come to the point, how prescient of me, even in those troubled times. To know the reason why I wanted to marry my reluctant lover.

The man who never wanted to have any children.

Sahar: 8yrs
Aliza: 6 yrs
Naseem: 3 yrs

About Natasha Badhwar

"Because I'm a Tinker. That's who I am. Tinkers fix things. But I can't do it alone." (Pause for lots of action. Group Action......) "You did it, Tinker, you saved Spring!" I also have three children, one marriage, a million friends and one life.
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11 Responses to Prescience.

  1. Sucheta says:

    Wow. This was magical. Especially the last line.

  2. What a love story Natasha, what an extraordinary love story. Reluctance of many men to father children is something strong and determined women like you have been able to transcend with their love, thanks to them, otherwise the human race would have been extinct by now. This is a story rarely told. You tell it in the most gracious way and the pictures are worth thousand words more.

  3. Violet says:

    This was beautiful Natasha. Thanks for sharing. Somehow, me thinks women always have this urge to procreate at the back of their minds, and unknowingly they search for partners who would help them nurture their offsprings. We always look for good fathers in our suitors 🙂

  4. Priyanka says:

    'so I looked pretty to him' – that made me smile:)Such a genuine person you are.Beautiful post, yet again.

  5. Shnerfle says:

    I am swooning. Over your prose, your children and your romance. I swoon.

  6. Jo Chopra says:

    Beautiful. What a perfect tale. What economy of prose.And that last photograph – the circle of eye contact! Amazing.

  7. Banno says:

    Beautiful photographs, Natasha and a lovely, lovely story, so intimate, so true. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  8. lilylive says:

    I landed here from twitter, and so glad I did. You are a wonderful storyteller Natasha. The last picture warmed my heart completely.

  9. Sucheta says:

    Here is what I wrote after I saw that picture:"I cry easily. These days I'm glad I cry more for joy than sorrow.I see a picture. The daughter is not one yet. She reaches a little above his shin. She's standing, holding his pants for support; and looking up, neck extended, grinning, exposing all seven of her teeth.Him: the unsuspecting father of three. He finds himself smiling back. Crow's feet on his handsome, balding face made radiant by his newest belonging.I look at them and I am so filled with happiness, I weep. The joy that my body cannot contain comes out as tears."Thank you for writing, Natasha :)This is the picture I was talking about:

  10. quaintkal says:

    warm, tugging-at-heart, almost surreal 🙂 thanks a bunch :)isn't it what most of us women look for in our prospective 'mates' most of the time..a prospective father to our children. absolutely love all your posts but had to, had to comment on this one! 🙂 :)much love to the bossy daughters esp. Naseem 😀

  11. Sivlight says:

    Wow. Simple n beautiful form of depicting Love, family and father-wood. Quality read. Thanks.

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