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.
The past few months had been very exhilarating for me. Since my last post I had a chance to visit quite a few places within a short span of time. The months of April and May were travel months for Neil and I and Boy – what travelling did we do 🙂
India was such a welcome change with respect to the weather. It felt awesome shedding the winter clothes. It was time for shades, sunscreen and slurps! The theme of our travel for the rest of the two months was “SUMMER“. We did a marathon of four cities in three and a half weeks. Caught up with family and friends, visited new cities (for Neil), did the routine touristy adventures, had good food, shopped (only me) and came back with loads of pictures and memories of good time spent.
On our way back we decided to take Etihad Airways so that we could stop over by Dubai and Abu Dhabi and get a taste of Middle Eastern culture and hospitality. And that was one of the right decisions we made.
In Dubai all I wanted was a rebirth as an “Arab”. The United Arab Emirates is ruled by “Emirs” hence termed Emirates and Abu Dhabi and Dubai are one of the seven emirates. Oil industry, tourism and retail make the biggest chunk of their economy. A Dubai police car is a BMW5 series sedan! Its called the “shopping capital of the Middle East” with 70 shopping malls and the 7th largest in the world the “Dubai Mall”. I felt as if I had visited the final pilgrimage of my shopping destination 😛 Dubai is also known for its “Souk Districts” and I was like a child lost in a candy store. Dubai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles “Burj Al Arab” and “Burj Khalifa“ being one of them. We had fun doing the city tour and the desert safari.
We were still getting over the Middle East hangover and settling in into our sub-urban Chicago life when Neil one evening announced that he has to be in Anaheim, CA for a four-day conference. And all my mind could capture was “CALIFORNIA” . I have quite a few friends staying around the Bay Area and I was meaning to meet them since I came to United States. What better opportunity than this. I literally begged Neil to take me along with him, promising not to pester him during his “working hours”. I was elated with the idea of visiting yet another new place.
LA took my breath away with all the Hollywood stuff. The Universal City Walk, The Kodak Theater, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Rock Walk, The Hollywood Homes, Rodeo Drive. I am still digesting it 🙂
We decided to drive from LA to San Francisco and enjoy the scenic sea view on our way. The drive was long but worth every cent. My want of meeting my friends which was long pending finally materialized. I had a great time meeting each of them.
SFO surprised us with its chilly summer fog and we ended up buying jackets to protect ourselves. We were thrilled to see the steep rolling hills, mix of Victorian and modern architecture, famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Cable Cars and Chinatown.
California visit is not complete without a visit to the Napa Valley. Napa Valley is considered one of the top wine regions in the United States. We did the Napa Valley Wine Train Tour to have a wholesome experience within a limited time.