Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Birthday

Dear Shikhar,

[If you are anything like your father you are going to groan at the sight of *another* letter from your Ma, for there is about 50 GB already waiting for you to read. However, if you are anything like me, you are already greedily devouring each word.

You can look like daddy but please please please love words like your Ma does.]

You are One. One.
Can you believe it?

You are too little for any of it to matter ( something i am planning to take full advantage of) but for me today, one year back, life changed in more ways than i can count.

Today marks the most eventful, the hardest, the most brutal, the most beautiful and the most peaceful year of my life.

If i look back on that day i can just think of one moment. When the nice midwife gave you to me, you put your chubby little hand on my cheek, looked me directly in the eye and smiled (yes, smiled) as if to say ' Hello. Again'
Your daddy was recording that moment and when i see the video, i see myself looking at you and saying in a mildly surprised voice that is shaking thanks to copious amounts of drugs in my system ' oh, you are cute'.  My hands are trembling too and my lips are white. But do you know what, i look very calm.
And do you know why?
Because...there was such peace and wisdom in your little face that one look at it calmed me like nothing else could. You still half belonged to the other world you had just come from yet there was an air about you that told me to not worry any more. There was a calmness that clung to you that, in one second, strengthened me.

When i saw you, i knew without any doubt in my heart that we were not meeting for the first time. That we had known each other, cherished each other, loved each other in a different world. In that one moment, magic took a new meaning for me.

Though i churn out romance novels with alarming frequency, i do not think i ever really knew what it was like to fall madly in love in a moment before that.
In that one second, i was transformed. The entire chemistry of my existence changed as if someone had swished a magic wand on me. Yes, it was as melodramatic as that. In a flash, I was different. It was a new me, i had a new heart and a new soul and a new life and most importantly, i had you.

You will probably never understand, till you become a father, but perhaps not even then for i do believe a mother's heart is different from a father's, not better or worse, just different, how much i love you. But I know that somehow, even though you are just one, you know that.

The serious wisdom that clung to you in the first few months has given way to incessant chattering and such a naughty glint in the eye that i often find myself wondering how someone as docile as me could have given birth to someone as 'natkhat' looking as you.

Yet there are flashes of the wise and the sensible that shine through all the naughtiness. For example, often, ever since you were about 4 months old, i rest my head on your shoulders. And sometimes you clasp your pudgy little hands around my head and gather me into your chest. And for the few seconds this lasts, i do not know who the parent is.

When your eyes search a room, i know that they are looking for me. And when they spot me , your face brightens up like the Sun and i know that for you, at the moment, nothing, no one is as perfect as your Ma. You are my world and for the moment, i am yours too.

This will change.

There will friends, girl friends, your own life. I wish nothing more than for you to have a full, happy life. I am also painfully aware that there will be a time when you will no longer allow me to hug and kiss you in public. I am so aware of that that even now i often smother you with kisses, to make up for all the times later in life you will push me away with a horrified glare.

You are my biggest strength, Shikhar, you are my pride and you are the love of my life.  Grab joy from life, be kind and always treat people with respect.

Fly as high as you wish to, Shikhar, claim the mountain peaks. I have your back.
I will always have your back.

Happy birthday darling.


Monday, July 18, 2016

A letter to a soon to be Mum

Dear New Mum/ Soon-to-be Mum,

Welcome to the sisterhood. It is only the biggest sisterhood in the world no one really tells you about, but it exists and transcends age, country, colour...everything. I am almost an year old as a Mum and before i forget all that being a new Mum is all about (for really i have hardly slept since i went into labour) here is a heart felt letter to you.

Pregnancy is not easy for most people. If you are having a mucky day, breathe, it will soon be over. And you will forget it all. I know it sounds unbelievable, and inconcieveable but that is the truth. You will forget it all.

Birthing is painful, scary and gory in most cases, but it is OK, trust me, it is okay. And most importantly, you will be OK. Trust me, you will be OKAY. You will probably have a story to tell, a story you might tell often, but you will be okay.

I know you must have made huge lists of things to buy for your baby but do you know what, all a baby needs, really needs, is your love and in the first few months, your time. I know the first few days, weeks, months are going to be very hard, in more ways than you can imagine right now but they are also going to be more beautiful than you can imagine right now. Breathe through the hard days and remember that it gets better.
Madly absorb every moment of a great day with your baby because when it is beautiful it is the most beautiful thing in the world.

A lot of people probably tell you how hard mother hood is going to be and you probably want them to shut up. But do you know what, i will tell you the same. I am still surprised by how brutally hard it can sometimes be and i have no wise words here. It is hard and that is the way it is. Shrug , grin and bear it. They also say that it does begin to get easier and i am craning my neck to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

You will have proper meltdowns, the ones where you do the ugly cry, just because you are exhausted or because your baby wont stop crying or because you are hungry and the baby wont settle. And you know what, no one will be able to do anything about it, you will have to calm yourself, pick up the pieces and smile.
In short, you will grow up. Nothing bad about that ;)

Your body will change. You will have scars and stretch marks. Wear them like a badge of honour. Be proud of what your body has done- it has created from scratch the one person you love the most in the world. And with time, you will begin to like these changes, or perhaps make your peace with them. Most Mums i know have snapped back into shape. I fit into most prepregnancy clothes but you know what- it does not matter. All that matters is my son.

Almost everyone tells you how your life is going to change, and you think you understand what that means but you dont. Nothing in this world can prepare you for what hits you when the child arrives. it is brutal and relentless. It is beautiful too but sometimes you need to have slept a bit to appreciate the beauty. Yet, somehow, in some weird , twisted way that does not even make sense as i type this, it is beautiful.

Sleep. Sleep is gold. Your relationship with sleep will change drastically when the baby comes along. To put it mildly, you will ready to murder to get a few extra hours.  The concept of going to bed at 10 and waking up at 8 is alien to me now. All i can say is, gear up for that, take help where you can but mostly, just tell yourself that this will happen and you will have to deal with it. Also helps to remind yourself that a lot of people are parents and they have all been through this.

Friends. Your relationships with some of them will change. You will no longer understand what that friend , who does not yet have a baby, means by 'I am tired because i had to go to the party'. You just wont get some of them anymore. There will be a huge list of missed calls you need to return, whatsapp messages that you vaguely recall seeing at 3:00 in the morning need replying and general catching up to do. Your relationship with some of them, however, will not change. They dont need to be mums themselves to understand what you are going through. They will come armed with cake and will even offer to babysit your baby just so that you can sleep for a bit. Some friends once offered to come and baby sit my son just so that i could finish the final draft of my 4th book. Touched me, that one.

So what do i say about one year of being a Mum?
I can say that i am no longer the person i was before i had my son. I have changed. I am more patient, i understand love better, my heart is fuller. I am sleep deprived but i stay up nights so that my baby can sleep. I cannot imagine another person i could love as much but a little news piece about something sad that happened to a baby i do not even know breaks my heart. I laugh more, i smile more but i tear up at the drop of a hat. I am the busiest i have ever been, i cannot recall what i did with all that time i had before having my son but i have more time to look at leaves and petals and pebbles.

And if there is one piece of advice, above all else, i can give to any new mum, it is this: you will sleep less, you will be over tired, you will be exhausted. But please enjoy this time, please smile, be nice to people in the house. At times it is easy to be happy , but sometimes it is not. it is a lot easier to scream and shout and throw a tantrum and be rude to your partner or parents, specially when you have not slept in 10 weeks. Do not do that. remind yourself that this time may be hard but it is special in ways that are difficult to express. There will soon be a day when you would give up anyhting to have your baby this small and snuggly again.
Smile. Be nice. Smile. Your baby loves it.

An year old Mum.