For all my new friends who have recently started following this blog.....please start at the very is a good place to start to get the full impact of this fascinating tale.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Hello Daddy

Hello Daddy

And then it was time for Sandip to come home and meet Sanam for the very first time. She was prettied up in a beautiful pink smocked dress which her Nani had embroidered, and then we excitedly waited for daddy to walk through the door.
When he finally arrived we held our breaths in anticipation, waiting to see his reactions and expressions as he first set eyes on his beautiful little girl. It was such an emotional moment and hard to describe with so much joy, pride, curiosity and amazement flitting across his countenance. We tearfully gazed at father and daughter as he held her close and kissed her all over her little face.
He spent a week in Saraya before we travelled back to Pune with mum in tow. She stayed for a month to help me settle in comfortably, and I was miserable to see her leave since I had become very dependent on her support. Luckily my maid Sabira was a gem which made things a bit easier, but as I was a hands on mum I wanted to do everything on my own, as a result of which I found myself in a perpetual state of exhaustion.
Sandip got back to his busy routine so was not around to help out. I remember feeling a lot of resentment at the time, but then had to quickly come to terms with the harsh fact that real life is quite different to expectations. I had imagined us sharing baby duties and doing things together, but that is one thing the air force did not ever give us the luxury of experiencing. Unfortunately he ended up missing a lot of her early years due to service constraints but I must take credit for adjusting positively to his absence once I got over the initial grumpiness of him not being there.
The next few months sped by and then it was December again which was the time I traditionally went home to be with family. I travelled back with Sanam and we were having a wonderfully relaxed holiday celebrating her first birthday and introducing her to the joys of Christmas, when Sandip called with the news that we were posted to TACDE in Jamnagar. It was decided that mum, baby and I would journey back to Pune to pack up house and then make our way back to Saraya, as there was no accommodation available in Jamnagar at that point of time.

First Birthday and Happy Christmas

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A New Routine

Dadi and Dada

The next couple of months flew by in a haze of exhaustion, struggling  to cope with my new routine. Bottles had to be sterilised, feeds given, nappies changed and sleepless nights walked through trying to soothe a crying infant. Sanam had the appetite of a little bird and preferred to drink a couple of ounces of milk at a time, so naturally had to be feed that much more frequently. I seemed to drift around in an aura of the odour of baby puke no matter how many times I changed my clothes. I always thought motherhood was a mantle which would fall over me naturally once my child was born, but in reality I discovered I was tired, crabby and at my wits end most of the time!
A few months earlier I had read a gruesome article about a woman in the UK who had micro-waved her new born because she could not bear the noise of its crying. On one particularly difficult night when Sanam would just not go to sleep, I gave her a little shake and tiredly thumped her back into her cot, which just made her shriek all the louder. I felt such a wave of panic that maybe I had murderous tendencies hidden somewhere deep inside, so rushed to wake up mother and confess to what I had done. My good old mum was quick to reassure me that it was quite natural to feel impatient once in a while and advised me to curl up in her bed and have a good nights sleep while she took over for a while. That was all the medicine and therapy I needed to feel absolutely fine the next morning.
When Sanam was about two months old I found everything getting easier, or maybe I was just more attuned to all the life changes I was going through. One of the most looked forward to moments in the day was after she would have a bath, when I would bury my nose into her neck and breathe in the amazing smell of fresh baby! My favourite pastime was simply kissing her tiny feet that had as yet never touched the ground. I adored this tiny bundle and found myself gazing at her in complete amazement, still sometimes not believing that she was really and truly all mine.
Sandip's parents made their first trip to Saraya to meet their granddaughter and were completely smitten, more so because she was the first little girl born into the Sud family for a long time. Unfortunately it was also at this time that I noticed that my sweet mother-in-law was getting unnaturally absent minded. When I mentioned it to Pa he said she was just getting older and these things happened. It was a year later that she was diagnosed with the dreaded Alzheimer's disease, which was the most tragic thing that could happen to someone who was the epitome of gentle kindness.

Nana and Nani

Friday, 14 September 2012


Hello World!!
After hours of labour I was wheeled back into a dingy private room but was too exhausted and emotional to sleep. The conditions in the hospital itself were extremely pathetic and filthy in spite of it being one of the better establishments of Gorakhpur, so we decided to ask for an immediate discharge. I had to sign a form saying I was leaving at my own risk, but knew father's nurse sister Alex and Tara Babu his assistant would look after me in the comfort of my own surroundings.
The first thing I did on reaching home was to put my precious new bundle into her Nana's arms. He looked down at the pronounced dimple in her chin and with his usual wry sense of humour remarked " There is no doubt of this ones parentage!" 
The next thing I did was to book a  call to Sandip in Jamnagar to announce the arrival of our daughter, but the lines were down and much to my disappointment I just could not get through.
On the evening of the fifteenth I was waddling to Dad's room to see how he was doing, when the phone rang as I was walking past. I picked it up only to find Sandip on the other end demanding to know what was happening. I laughingly told him that the delivery was over and Sanam had arrived!This was the name we had chosen for a girl when we came to know he would not be present at the birth. There was a stunned silence at the other end before he excitedly begged for details. I babbled that she was all red and ugly and looked just like him! There was another surprised pause and I realised what it sounded like so quickly amended that she had inherited his dimple chin and I had not meant to imply that he was red and ugly. 
Mum was quite frantic running between my ailing sister, a very ill father and me so I did not get to relax at all, but bustled about exhaustively trying to adjust to the life changing situation that was now all I lived for.The next few weeks were difficult, though both patients recovered and mum and I took turns to change nappies, see to feeds and do the night shift. I would wail to my husband far away that I was fatigued and completely drained of energy and he apologised profusely for not being around to help.
I was so impatient for him to see this very beautiful little girl that we had produced, but had to  wait a few months more for that. He eventually first met his daughter in March 1989 when she was all grown up and three months old.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

D Day

My little miracle just an hour old
In September 1988 I returned with my parents to Saraya where I restlessly and impatiently wiled away the months in anticipation of D-Day, which was the fifteenth of December. I could manage to speak to Sandip in Jamnagar only once in a while, since getting a phone call through was always a complicated procedure in those days. 
My sister Juliet had came down from Lucknow to be there when baby came, but fell seriously ill so was of no help. At the same time my father was going through one of his bad spells and I overheard him ordering his assistant in a weak voice to keep him going  till his grandchild was born. I went into labour in the wee hours of the fourteenth and left with mother for the railway hospital, which was an hour's drive away and supposed to be one of the more civilised facilities in Gorakhpur.
Labour - nothing that one reads or hears prepares you for the hours of body wrenching agony that have to be endured. I have an unusually high threshold of pain but despite that found myself groaning aloud every so often. I lost complete track of time with baby in no hurry to make an appearance and at one point desperately announced that I had had enough and wanted a Cesarean. The doctor looked very startled and remarked that I was not even screaming so why couldn't I bear the torture a few hours more?
What really infuriated me was one of the nurses who insisted on continuously stroking my leg and humming "Sungmarmar ka badan". I growled at her through gritted teeth that if she commented once more on my marble like body I would get up and personally hit her over the head with a bedpan!
At exactly seven forty five in the evening my baby finally decided it was time to enter the world. " Its a girl" the doctor announced and I felt such a surge of joy and relief that I promptly burst into tears. The same thigh stroking nurse sympathetically clucked and said "Koi baat nahin, agli baar ladka hoga". I did not have the energy to tell her that I had longed for a daughter more than anything in the world and was just feeling completely overwhelmed.
The doctor then asked if I would like to hold my little one before she was sent off to be tidied up and I was handed over this fragile, naked, ugly, beautiful,  helpless little body who in an instant filled the deepest core of every fibre of my being with awe and adoration. Then she was bundled up and taken out to be introduced to her grandmother who off course also wept with delighted emotion and was immediately surrounded by a bevy of sympathetic nurses reassuring her it would definitely be a grandson next time around.