Thursday, February 11, 2010

25

It happened one night. I was born, handled roughly in the abdominal area and pressed into the hands of a mother kept unnecessarily in suspense as to the gender of her child. In the neighbourhood of the room where my mother had been put up, there was a nineteen year-old woman who had delivered a tiny girl child. This child was tiny compared to my gargantuan proportions (I weighed around 4.5 kilos at birth. They tied an iron cable to my feet and used powerful magnets to suck me out.); however, her birth was big news to her family. Her mother went swiftly mad and started screaming and kicking and scratching and nearly gouged the eyes out of the nurses. She had what is now recognised to be post-natal depression; in the purest medical terms of those days, it was called "batshit crazy." It was not so much the appearance of the child that drove her over the cliff, it was apparently the fact that she had given birth to another human being at the tender age of nineteen.

My father received the good news with equal measures of equanimity and delight. Outwardly, he needed to maintain the dignified facade of the male, the ever unruffled, the always-under-equipoise. Inwardly, he was probably saying "Holy shit, I have a son!" He was also thinking, I surmise, "Wait, this thing emits stuff, doesn't it? I'm going to have to clean all that up. That's it, I'm not having another one of these." He was not thinking ahead several years, when my sister would be born. But on that day, who could blame him for lack of foresight? His firstborn, scion, offspring, proud bearer of the admittedly dim family torch had arrived.

My paternal grandfather was informed of my entry into the world and he too was delighted. His delight did not last long, however, as he soon expired. Yes, no sooner did I step onto the stage than he exited, stage left. I think his patience lasted about 22 days after my birth. So my father was in this extremely weird situation. His forebear had ceased to be, his aftbear (so to speak) had ceased to not be.

My maternal grandparents were ecstatic as well. They were of a family which produced roughly 10000 girls for every boy, so this was quite a break from the dreary routine of shrieks, wails and periods. My maternal grandfather would spend many subsequent nights rocking me to sleep (even when I was eighteen years old and didn't particularly want to go to sleep), and many subsequent years being unfailingly on my side, no matter how wrong I was. My maternal grandmother has a difficult job. She is on the wrong side of her husband and my mother and my aunt, no matter what they're talking about. Yet she always wins, always gets her way. I envy this quality of hers.

My mother, the heroine of the hour, struggled for several months carrying this large lump around. She had checked herself into the hospital several days ago in anticipation of my arrival. Judging by the size of her belly, doctors expected a baby the size of a full-grown Marlon Brando to emerge any moment, so they admitted her. However, days passed into subsequent days and, like a good movie directed by Subhash Ghai , I refused to appear. My mother said "Fuck this, I'm going home" and actually left. She had to hurry back the next day, however, when I made threatening moves inside her. Finally, with the doctor extremely unwilling to pay an anaesthesiologist, my mother delivered a large, bigheaded baby in a fully conscious state. The baby was swiftly carted away for further examination. It was made to run around in a tiny wheel and generate electricity, swim in a small trough till it developed gills and scales and eventually bathed in boiling hot water till it screamed blue murder. This was the same water in which all the needles in the hospital were sterilised, those being pre-disposable syringe days. In all this while, my mother was ignorant of the sex of her child. Nurses kept asking her "Do you want a boy or a girl?" and she kept replying "I don't mind either. Just give me the goddamn baby." She said it was half an hour before she discovered what it was that she had had. She was delighted and put me up for adoption. Her plans were inadvertently foiled by my father when, on the outlook to switch me for another less intimidating child in the hospital, he actually took me back with him without recognising me. My mother has never forgiven him for this.

And that was 25 years ago. The ride has been good.

5 comments:

pooja said...

Awww... You were such a fat baby! :)

Btw, I like your grandmother. She always wins. ;)

wanderlust said...

happy birthday, sir.

whenever people turn twenty-five, i am tempted to crack some or the other joke about kaal-age and college. at the moment though, i'm at a loss on how to convolve that into a tellable joke.

amulya said...

hilarious :) happy birthday kano.

New to Blogging said...

your aunt has turned admirer of her mother, her daughter, having turned out to be rebel without a cause like her mother 25 yrs ago:)

Parisarapremi said...

ನಿಂಗೆ ದೇವ್ರು ಒಳ್ಳೇದ್ ಮಾಡ್ಲಿ. ದೆವ್ವಾನೂ ಒಳ್ಳೇದ್ ಮಾಡ್ಲಿ!