A New Life… A New Story…

You, little Radhika, yes, for me you will always be little. You were born into my arms. Or atleast that’s how I choose to remember it.

For a moment, in all that confusion and chaos, when your drunk father was absent and your aunt had gone away for her lunch and your mother was under anesthesia, the nurse plonked you conveniently in my hands. She didn’t see the cluelessness on my face or the shaking of my legs. She wanted to go on to the next baby. You were just a number.

Wrapped in a dirty cloth. Had I known they don’t have disposable cloths to deliver new born babies into, I would have brought some clean sheets from home. But I did not know. All I knew was your mother was in pain and she was confused. She is a brave woman. I give her that. She has her faults but she is a brave woman.

You were in my arms, freshly cleaned of the blood and placenta from which you had emerged. Red and tiny. Very tiny. My heart skipped a beat when they placed you in my hands. You were almost the size of my hands. The other relatives of the other waiting babies to be born that day started coming around, seeing my distress, their inadvertent first question being “Baby che k babo”? Your first five minutes into this world, and before your well being people wanted to you what your pronoun was going to be. Random people, people who had no relation to you, might never see you again, never knew you before. That was the world you had landed in. That and my trembling hands. Naked, a bundle of life, in a ragged dirty cloth.

I searched for your sister. For in that moment, that 12 year old little girl, Ravina, seemed wiser than me. She seemed to have known when the nurse asked for a cloth, that the cloth was to welcome you into this world. And not as I thought, a rag for your bleeding mother. She knew how to hold you. She knew where I was supposed to take you after. She seemed to have become, in that short time, the man of the family. I feel you are blessed, for you had her. She probably didn’t have anyone when she came in.

And just like that, in the dark, dirty, crowded, hospital smelling corridors of the maternity ward, we walked gingerly, carrying you to the pre-natal unit, to make sure you were ok.

The guard at the entrance of the unit, stared at me, a well-built, well dressed, clueless confused baffled  thirty something female, carrying a fresh pink new born baby wrapped in a dirty red rag, accompanied by a scrawny,  malnourished dark skinned, poorly dressed girl of 12. She let us in.

We walked you through a corridor of transparent boxes carrying more babies born on the same day as you, under different circumstances, better, I hope. Your cube was at the end of the corridor. You were weighed and your height was measured. Your temperature taken and your time of birth recorded. Something that will write your destiny in the years to come.

The nurses who carried you around, were not very gentle. But for them, unlike for me, you were a product on the consumer belt. They had to move on to the next baby soon or else the new new borns wouldn’t get their assigned govt milk bottles. And the raucous crying would escalate.

At that point, once I knew you were in good hands, not gentle, but good and safe, I left you, with Ravina, who at that time, was older than me and wiser for sure. She was gently practicing how to feed you the milk with the pipette. A girl who had begged on streets and never gone to school, was building a skill so intricate, so confidently. You were lucky, Radhika.

I left that pre-natal unit. I knew then, I would watch over you. From far. Because you have a family. I would have loved to bring you home that day. But you had a family. And the laws of the universe that I don’t understand, had placed you with them. So maybe you belonged to them. But I have been watching over you. And I will continue to do so as long as I can. You might feel I am not doing enough. I know for sure I am not. Because the boundaries are hard to navigate. But I’ll be there. When you need me.

And tomorrow, we are celebrating your first birthday. You have grown into a very happy, stubborn, and strong beautiful one year old. And I am looking forward to a lifetime of May 7ths ahead.

*Written in this particular format as an exercise for Write Club Bangalore’s session on writing second person narrative pieces.

Published by Iris

I'm an aspiring blogger... Experimenting with poetry, fiction and self-help articles.

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