I still remember the time my wife gave me the news that we were pregnant.
I couldn’t help but scratch my head in bewilderment, “What? Really? You sure? Should we…mmmm check again? “
But the one cardinal thing that the few years of marriage has taught me is not to question the statement of the wife.
So there I was trying to look happy and pleased, though in reality I was too overwhelmed to actually feel any other emotion in me. It took me a few days to realize the actual meaning of the statement- the gravity of the situation. It was only then that I was ready, after the initial denial, to accept that I was going to be a father. But once that kicked in, it was yes, a feeling in itself.
Men are notorious for never growing up. Well, that’s till they become a dad. Or for me, it was before I got the news that I was to become a dad.
I was actually too in love with my vagabond life to give a shit about anything. My poor wife, hadn’t had a choice but to cope up with my ways. She complained occasionally, which sometimes escalated to ‘just more than a discussion’, but I had seldom paid heed to her pleas of being serious about life.
“Live every day. Life’s too short to be serious,” is what I would say!
But that piece of news was like a alarm bell for me. I needed to calm myself and think of the future. We were going to have a baby- now that is serious business.
Not that it was a teenage pregnancy or we weren’t yet married- that we would be made social outcasts in the Indian Society. It was just that we needed to change our attitude to life. And by ‘we’ i mean me.
But then I thought, should we? I mean we were happy living the life we were leading. All that was needed was some efficient planning of finances, I assured myself. Shouldn’t be too difficult a task. Well, that was till my wife decided that we needed to go shopping. To celebrate. Ok.
And so that kind of continued through the next few months.
Can’t blame her though. I too had ‘my moments’ and ordered those pretty unnecessary gadgets that we men so love, which do nothing other than allow wireless calls and fitness information, and what not. Oh and yes, I did buy some books on how to be a perfect Dad- I wasn’t going to let down my daughter like I had let down my wife. I was ready to use the next nine months for intensive preparation.
Meanwhile, fuchka was the norm of the day. Everyday. While i gorged myself on the occasional biriyani, which my wife had started hating by now. Said she couldn’t stand the smell of it.
Shit, I was all of a sudden pretty conscious about the food tastes of our yet to be born baby. Was this because of her?
And yes, by now i was pretty certain it was going to be a baby girl, as otherwise you couldn’t explain the fuchka spree each evening ! That, coupled with the kicks she threw every time a peppy number was playing. I was never quite a dancer. So she takes after her mother. Not bad. It’s going to be easier to control than a version of me. I know it sounds horribly chauvinistic, but well, that’s the truth.
(Don’t tell me you are smirking to yourself hearing my thoughts saying, just wait papa till I come out, and you will know who’s going to control whom !)
The months just flew by. My wife had her exams. But it was I who was scared stiff. As it is she is a little prone to those bouts of nervous tension. So one hair goes off in the wrong direction, I knew chairs were going to come flying towards me.
“This is all your doing!” I was ready to accept that with bowed head. Patience and tolerance is the key- i was reading everywhere- to being a good parent. I had nine months to practice and master them, and I wasn’t going to give an inch.
We did go out for movies and dinners though. After all, we wanted to enjoy what was going to be our last time together for quite some time to come. I felt sad at times, I won’t lie, as the life we knew and had grown so fond of was coming to an end. But as the date approached I also could not wait to get a glimpse of her.
And it was not long when suddenly the day had arrived. We were in the hospital. In fact i was standing holding my breath, in the operation theater, as ‘it’ was about to be delivered.
Sounds of pure joy. I could not believe my eyes when i saw her for the first time. Yes, it was a baby girl. And it was the best thing that could possibly happen to anyone. The nurse handed her over to me, and i could feel tears rolling down my eyes.
I held her in my arms for the first time. Was that a smile on the little face, or i was imagining things?
She put up her hand to her scalp, covered with thick black hair. She was undoubtedly scratching her head.
“This is the father I have to put up with? You have got to be kidding me.”
Archya, in his own words, is the trying-to-be-global bangali babu, who is attempting to carve out a niche for himself in blogosphere, having had mixed results in Medicine Practice. In short, a struggling artist.
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