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I Wish You Were Here!

It was right after the day, Varad left for Reading on a three-month long onsite client assignment. The family had celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi together before he departed and the feeling of joy and festivity still lingered in the house. But amidst all the chaos, Jharana could sense it clearly. How could she have ignored the visible signs? She had her doubts about it for a week and this morning it became very clear. She was too nervous to find out. She could hardly believe it was happening to her. “I have to be careful”, were the first thoughts that came across her mind. She sat there for 20 minutes, before slowly picking herself, she walked towards the bathroom. The dipstick had changed its color confirming her doubts. She looked at herself in the mirror, a sense of joy and excitement sweeped within her. Tears of happiness trickled down her face, as she couldn’t contain her new-found joy. “Diiidddii”,  she heared her Bai screaming, “tumcha sathi phone ahes” (there’s a call for you).

Jharana walked slowly towards the living room, she saw Aayi (her mother-in-law) chatting with her mother on the phone. “You seem to be very happy today”, her mother teased her and she smiled. After the phone conversation, Jharana asked Aayi to go with her to Dr. Gaikwad’s Clinic  for a routine ultra-sound check-up.

The clinic was a 10 minute walk from their Prabha Devi residence. Jharana had already taken an appointment before leaving. The front desk assistant asked her to fill the new patient and medical history forms. She patiently waited for her turn. Dr. Gaikwad’s assistant ushered both inside and prepared Jharana for the sonography. Dr. Gaikwad, a man in his fifties came in. He smiled at Jharana and said “Hi! How you doing today”,  and she replied back smiling shyly “I’m doing fine, thank you”. “And who has come along with you”,  he asked turning towards Aayi. “My mother-in-law”, she replied back. “So I see you are here for your routine check up”, “let’s get going”, Dr. Gaikwad said preaparing to go ahead with the test. Jharana’s body tensed up and her heart silently praying everything to be okay as she felt the cold gel on her abdomen. She could hear the clock ticking. “I see something here and its 8cm in diameter” – Dr. Gaikwad remarked pressing the transducer on her abdomen and inching towards the monitor. Aayi got up and closed up near the screen. “Looks like someone is definitely pregnant” he said smilingly. She heaved a sigh of relief and finally started breathing. Aayi kept staring at the monitor. The doctor congratulated her and started explaining the images the sound waves made, “Bagaa, ethe ……..” (Look here).

Jharana was into her 6th week of the nine months journey. She and Aayi couldn’t stop crying, “you wil be blessed with a Ganesh” was all Aayi could manage to say in between wiping her tears. She was due for the second check up on her 8th week to hear the first heart beat. Aayi dialed Varad’s UK number and congratulated him on the “good news”. Jharana and Varad couldn’t hide their happiness.

Jharana’s emotion’s heightened, within two weeks. She and Aayi found a new definition to their relationship. They enjoyed their times discussing her three pregnancies, her feelings during those days, her cravings, her fears, her joys, bringing up kids and many more motherhood experiences. Jharana was enjoying her life’s new turn and was looking forward to her new role.

“Jhaleka ga”, (Are you ready?) Aayi said checking on Jharana. “Ho Aayi, aali” (yes, I’m coming). She adjusted her duppatta, checked her bindi and slipped her feet into the matching chappals. This time they decided to take a taxi. The clinic did not have much patients and the staff was preparing to close in an hour. Dr. Gaikwad walked towards them and said “How’s the Aaji doing?” (How’s the grand mom doing?) teasing Aayi. “Excited to hear my grandchild”- she replied back without any hesitation. Jharana prepared for the test. As Dr. Gaikwad started applying the gel on her abdomen, her body tensed up again and her heart started praying. She closed her eyes when the transducer started moving. She could hear the clock ticking, ticking and ticking…..she became nervous, this was taking unusually long, she opened her eyes. Dr. Gaikwad’s expression had changed, his face had become still. “I want to do this again, the sound waves and images don’t make sense” – was all he said after 5 mins. “Is everything, okay? – Jharana questioned. “I can’t find the fetus” – he replied back without taking his eyes off from the monitor. Her heart sank, her body turned numb, she couldn’t breath, “no there’s a mistake here” was all she could think off. Dr. Gaikwad started the procedure again, this time he moved the transducer with more precision,after three minutes, Jharana couldn’t stop herself “Do you see anything now?”, “I do”, he replied back, “the size of the fetus has shrunk” – he gave out. Jharana went blank, she didn’t follow Dr, Gaikwad. “I fear a missed abortion – he said without looking at Jharana, “and I advice a D&C”. He was finding it difficult to convey it to her.

Jharana felt amputed. She felt a part of her body has body taken away, she could hear Dr. Gaikwad’s voice but was having difficulty concentrating. Her only thoughts were “this can’t be true, this cannot be happening to me”. She was fighting within to accept it and she was far from acceptance. She was in a state of shock and denial. There was a sudden sense of loss, anger and guilt. She felt as if she lost the purpose of her existence. As she lay on the sonography table with a roller coaster of emotions surging within her, all her thoughts centred around ” I wish I could hold you first on the day you were born. I  wish I could read bedtime stories and watch you sleep. I wish I could celebrate your birthdays. I wish I could attend the PTA meets. I wish I could see you graduate from college. I wish I could see you sailing through life. I wish I could see your wedding. I wish I could spoil your kids. I wish our lives were changed forever because of you. I wish you were here.

30 New Turns Before I Turn 30

I was born on the 18th day of January, 82 and I was a day pre-mature baby girl. And just because I was supposed to be born on the 19th Jan instead of 18th, my Father always remembered the Estimated Date of Delivery as my birthday all through my growing up years. Please, imagine how many times I had to correct him and he actually filled in the EDD date on my school application forms too! Parents I tell you. If this was not enough, the city (Rourkela) I was born in decided to have curfew imposed, I don’t know for what reason on the very day I was born. So my Dad got my Mom admitted in the Hospital a day early, because of the curfew, and I decided to see the light of the world a day early and my rest of the family was blissfully unaware of my birth, till my Father decided to check in on my Mom after the curfew was lift up and was surprised by ME! Since that day I was named “Curfewwali” by my Grand – dad.

Come 2012 it’s going to be a milestone birthday. On the 18th day of Jan, 12 I will turn “30”. So what does it mean to me? While I’m inching towards my milestone birthday, I get to take the time to look at a new vision for my 30s. I have stopped trying to find myself and started creating myself. I have great experiences from my past and so now I get to add new ones!

A major birthday like 30 means better presents! (To all my friends who are reading this ;P) If I have learned nothing else from Desperate Housewives, 40 is the new 30 and 30 is the new 20 (I actually had this iced on my Brother-in-law’s birthday cake who turned 31 recently.) People naturally take you more seriously when you are in your 30s.You get to smile when people can not believe you are 30. Instead of stressing about acne, I can stress about wrinkles and white hair. When I was younger 30 was OLD, now I feel 30 is young. I maybe turning 30 but I will still always be the youngest in my family. Turning 30 makes you appreciate your 20’s and look forward to your 40s. Like the Christina Aguilera song it “Keeps getting Better“.

So why am I ranting and raving about my coming of age, which has still 6 more months to go. Yes, only six more months! And it occurred to be while I was wining and dining with my hubby dearest. I thought what should I do to remember my turning 30th in a special way? I quickly took stock in trade of my life’s past experiences and concluded what better way to learn new things, push my boundaries to achieve them and set new standards and respect for oneself. Hence I have decided to embrace 30 new lessons of life before I turn 30 and that starts from today and this post will be updated every time I succeed with a new attempt.

So Here I Go –

  1. Turning To Organic Food–  I have turned completely organic and have resolved to have diets free of food grown with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetic engineering. As an informed personal and an eco – friendly person this is a very important “TURN” towards being healthy and well nourished. I also give towards protecting the future generations, saving energy, preventing soil erosion, protecting our water supply, protecting farm workers and supporting local economy.
2. Turning To Be More Active Socially – I remember the good old days, when I used to get back from school and would immediately get on the phone and keep chatting with my friends for hours. My parents could never digest the fact that after spending good 5 hours together in school I still would find things to talk and discuss endlessly. I too miss those days 😦 . With passage to time and re-locating to many cities I too lost in touch with few good friends who still mean a lot to me. With the invent of social media it is possible to “creep” in their lives, but I still can’t wipe tears of my Mom’s face when we “Skype” or give a tight hug to a friend who’s upset of the fact that she can’t have kids on the phone. I have realized the importance of reaching out to people. And I am going to do that more actively this decade.
3. Turning To Be Off Gadgets and Internet – One day the Hubz returned from work and found that the TV in the living room screamed off  “Star Plus”, the one in the bedroom had “Netflix” running, the desktop in our study had “Pandora” on and I was with my smartphone checking FB & Twitter updates. That was it. We decided to do away with the Dish Network, No cellphones allowed when we are sleeping and when at home we are allowed to have two hours of internet access. Trust me, life  has been so good after that and its been three weeks and our “quality time” with each other has improved considerably.
4. Turning To Meditation – Now with most of the vices in my life gone and having more productive time at hand I turned to join a Mediation Group near my place. I have a great teacher and amazing group mates. The only problem I “doze” off to sleep as it is so divinely relaxing rather focusing within me. There are also few great android and i-pad apps which one can download for free and can try doing it at home, office, any where (but not when driving) to counter attack stress, anxiety and overactive nervous system.
5. Turning To Art & Craft – To be honest I have never done any art & craft in my life. The ones that were mandatory in school my mom would step up and take charge. Though I have always admired the artistic qualities in people who turn out beautiful handmade cards, quilts, dresses, mittens, sweaters etc, I never dared to venture on that path. I can start small. I though of making something handmade f or everyone’s birthday. Be it a small card but the personal touch would add a smile on my folks face which cannot be replaced by the expensive gifts ordered to be sent from the internet.
6. Turning to Take A Vow Of Silence – This is more out of spiritual practice. A still tongue can teach me self restrain, discipline, focus and a check on the unguarded speech. Though the Hubz would be the happiest on those days 🙂

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