The husband wasn’t in his elements since a week. As the day drew close, he switched off, his diet parted ways, and as the clock started ticking he used the washroom more, too.
Our baby was going to travel alone. Her first international travel solo @13!
I attempted to be busy so as not to affect her and maintain some semblance at home. But my girl was as chirpy and lively as only she can be. Busy packing, repacking, modelling and making mock videos like her current favourite YouTuber Zoella.
The better part on the day of travel I spent reminding her to keep the passport safe, the keys, phone… which she dismissed with the same air as she does my finish-your-cornflakes-make-your-bed-put-your-stuff-back… instructions.
Finally at the airport… I had to ask for a hug. “Oh mama! You want a huggie,” she said and wrapped her long arms around me saying, “be a good girl, mama!” And she walked off excitedly, while I stood silently praying to the Divine to keep her safe.
|At the airport…before I could ask for a hug
I returned home and sat wide awake into the wee hours until the take-off time. Later, my friend laughed, asking: “Crazy you. Didn’t you have an early morning the next day…”
But crazy and more I am. I was. And I will be.
Over a decade back, in 2002, on a chilly December night I stood weeping at the Dubai airport watching my one-year-old being carried away from me. Those were the years when the system had failed me. And people, too. Women especially. But none saw my tears. That I was determined about. Not even my family.
With no visa to sponsor our baby, we decided to let my mom take her while I stayed back to switch job. The toughest decision I have taken to date. I was called a hard-hearted person; accused of being too selfish… “Career can be made later. Not kids,” said a friend. A woman colleague even exclaimed, “Are you a mother!”
The taunts haven’t stopped. Even now old-timers find me a classic example for anything related to motherhood. One of them said at a recent gathering, “Nisha! she’s a different make. Imagine staying away from your newborn…” the laughter and expert comments at the lunch table continued, while I switched off as I’ve mastered that art effectively over the years.
But my mastery makes all know-it-all-women believe I deserve their advice. When my girl was asking her dad a doubt in Math, a friend who was at home, said: “Why are you wasting her time with subjects like algebra… children need to do what they love to do…” I can’t remember if I laughed.
On another occasion, on hearing my girl talk about her classmates, she spat, “Take her away from that damn school! Why don’t you put her in…”
Every time, I am privy to such accusatory comments, I wait for the night to fall, when my girl comes over to give me her good-night kiss. Those nights I hug my baby tight and thank the Divine for giving me such a wonderful child. I turn over, pretending sleep, so she walks off to her bedroom quickly. And then I let it flow under the covers….silently… I’ll let the world spew on me. I’ll soak it all in…silently… praying my baby blooms into a beautiful lady with a heart to understand people, women, especially!