An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Babies Are Not Us

While Gubdu babu would get restless around 7 months inside the womb, I would sit on a comfy sofa, close my eyes and listen to Bach. The bold chants, the heavenly music, surreal appeal…it’d take me to another world. Another lifetime.

I would hope that my baby would grow to appreciate such music. Would inculcate such spirit. He was not born yet while I was already sowing the quilt of my dreams with my knowing threads. I bought some dresses for him, Polo Ralph Lauren ones – the brand that his daddy patronizes. I got them in midnight blue, sea green, sky blue with white clouds printed on them. The hues and prints that I like the most. I got some baby books to scatter in the nursery; you know to create an ambience. I threw some nice cushions. Some jingly toys. I would pray that he grows up to be a charming young man, knowledgeable and wise, a good human being. He was not born yet.

When he finally came out to see the dawn of the day, all I needed to do was feed him by the clock and count the diapers for the times he pee’d and pooped. The cushions were lost in the haze of life. The books and toys promptly moved, so that I don’t trip while swinging him in my arms, trying to put him to sleep for the nth time. He was too fragile to get inside the Polo Ralph Lauren dresses, way preferred the white zippered bodysuits. My cute little G’babu has a mind of his own.
I would very much want that. Yet, I get back to my stronghold every now and then. I feel elated when he smiles and gurgles at people for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a very social being. Miserable, when he would scream and bang spoons in public. Though he is only running 7 months now, I pretty much assess him by the standard I’ve set as per social decorum: cognitive and physical manifestations. My dad did the same. He wanted me to be eclectic in body and spirit. Result? By the time I was 5 years old, I was heavily into Indian classical dance, painting, swimming, reading and reciting.

Also read:  Mother by Dr. Beena Menon

As I grew up, his expectations skyrocketed and I was subjected to constant evaluation in terms of academic performance and social finesse. It got so demanding over the years that finally it reached a point where there was no other way but to snap the cord of constant estimation. It prompted me to act in diametrically opposite ways, to be a rebel just to prove my point; to preserve my identity that I wanted to brandish, in my own terms.

Now that I am a mother, I understand my father much better. I can identify with his the then state of despair, anguish, apprehension, insecurity. I feel the same as I go his way. For that is the only way I’ve known. So, the only path I follow is the path that I could pertain to and just began to comprehend. It would perhaps take a lot of courage to let things go and shape up accordingly, to free my child from the tense clutch of angst that I hold in the face of worldly norms and yardsticks. Or maybe it was because of such a grasp that I’ve found a footing in the world after all and so will he. Who knows?

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