Was the cord scissored?
by Annapurna Sharma
The pomp and show of the month long annual summer fair drew colossal crowds. Men and women, old and young were equally attracted. I and my hubby were eager to join the bandwagon. Just ten months into the marriage, every move we made ascended the compatibility factor – a must for all successful relationships. We planned to wolf down all the juicy, sugary and fatty junk food at the fair. The sizzling temperatures didn’t dampen our spirits of enjoyment and we returned home late into the night.
Next morning, I felt dizzy and nauseating. Buttery masala dosa and the sugary jalebis at the fair were found culpable of a hung digestive system. When buttermilk, the eternal probiotic didn’t help restore normalcy, the physician’s door was the next succor. We found the culprit – the new entrant into the household. With each passing day the cells differentiated, a network of nerves and vessels formed and finally everything integrated into a healthy fetus in the cozy cocoons of my womb.
My routine chores were jeopardized (I presumed it to be gestational, but never knew it was forever). Since I was the prime nourisher, kith and kin pampered me with extra care. The ‘D’ day came two days before schedule. The ‘umbilical cord’ that served as a bond between the mother and child was scissored. The mellifluous pain was long forgotten with the arrival of the ‘new born’ in the pink.
The chilly November temperatures made me wrap ‘her’ in layers of soft wooly material. The nip in the air was threatening, so I cuddled and cradled ‘her’ in the warmth of my arms. The blossomy and fragrant spring time passed with the blink of an eye. The gargantuan summer temperatures soon knocked our doors. Drops of boiled, cooled water wet the tender pink lips to avoid dehydration. Occasional drips of tender coconut water filled the parched little mouth. Was the cord scissored?
The pretty little one learnt to coordinate her motor skills. She was active both by day and night, demanding attention every minute. Her innocent smiles eased the stress generated due to nocturnal ululation, sleepless nights and work-filled days. As she neared her first birthday, she balanced herself on her little feet. Her small steps made my heart flutter and miss a beat, lest she would fall and get hurt. The tender cute lips uttered heart-ilicious words ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ effortlessly. The house resonated with her verbatim and dainty little steps. We were mesmerized by the toddler’s antics in our own small world. Was the cord scissored?
However, we couldn’t be ignoramus of the outside world for long, since it was time to induce social skills. As I left her each morning at the playschool, her loud ranting was like a piercing dagger. In the evenings, when I picked her up after work, she refused to part with her new found miniature playmates. Was I jealous? At home she recited the rhymes that she learnt with lisping piety. We were on cloud nine. Was the cord scissored?
Kindergarten had been a tumultuous phase with her falling ill every fortnight. Her immune system gradually strengthened and she could fight pathogens effectively. Primary schooling tested our patience as there was a lot to be learnt. The way she held her slate pencil is still vivid in my mind. Reading, writing, reciting, learning, playing (too many action words) filled her day. New languages, math, science and social science put pressure on her, but she carried it implicitly. At school, for her science project she presented a wild little forest with wild animals. All that she said was, ‘The lion was the king of the jungle and that he lived in a den!’ but it made me proud. The guests smiled and patted her. Was the cord scissored?
I, the loving mother suddenly became pedantic, maneuvering her through various schedules of extracurricular activities. I prodded till she excelled and performed skillfully. We travelled long distances to be coached and tutored in various activities. Each evening, I stood observing her while she skated in the rink. I shouted and encouraged her till my vocal chords were out, and she won the speed race. I stood still gazing intently at her first Kuchipudi dance performance. Her expressions and little steps moistened my eyes and I videoed each move. The patriot in me was awakened as she played the national anthem with her little fingers deftly on the Casio. Was the cord scissored?
Radio was almost forgotten, but it became live in our house to hear her sweet childish voice that pretended to be melodramatic while narrating a story. We glued on to the TV as she played the naughty little ‘Krishna’ that made the gopikas dance to his tunes. Her hands stained in different hues as she drew and colored a picture of ‘mother hen with her chicks’. The laminated picture adorned her little study. On a trip to Tsongmo lake or Changu lake, at an altitude of 3,780m in Sikkim, we huddled and cuddled her in thick jeans and fur. Was the cord scissored?
The era of High school was ushered in and an end to other activities was put. Tenacious corporate schooling that concentrated on studies started on a serious note. We stopped the babyhood adulations and played sport to her teenage tantrums. We chiseled her insolence and obstinacy that accompanied her age. Every move in her life was discussed, debated and scrutinized before execution. She passed her tenth class in flying colors making us proud parents – an emotive moment. Each day I wait for her incessant calls from a remote hostel where she pursues her further education. Parental tete-a-tete and guidance continued in adolescence and will continue forever. Was the cord scissored?
Are we strict parents? No! Are we measuring each achievement on the vernier? No! We are just modest fathomable parents guiding her through the maze of life. Because she is – the apple of our eye!
Who said the cord was cut? The cord was never scissored, at least not until I perish!!! ***