Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Sudhir and Me in Sayali's Living Room,N Y November 2009
Lotta and Sudhir at Letchworth Park,2005
Sayali and Sudhir--At home in Mumbai,2007
The 3 of us at Hever Castle,July 2012
I had been worried about Sudhir's reaction to the "empty" nest Syndrome far more than mine---because factually he was more demonstrative about his bond with the girls.In 2000 August Sayali left--Lotta had left earlier and as a result of this I had expected Sudhir to react very strongly to both our daughters moving far away--halfway across the World precisely!!His total acceptance of the situation and his moving on seamlessly into a life that focussed only on himself and me both surprised me pleasantly as well as reassured me about the new phase in our lives.Having not had much time with my own father and later him dying when I was just 21 years old made me even more determined to ensure that both our daughters got a lot of quality time with Sudhir.The result of this was that he was an exceptional father--given the type of fathers we saw around us during that period.
Sudhir's involvement with becoming a father began very early--in fact both of us approached parenthood together.Sudhir's earliest contribution to fatherhood was in driving me across the length and breadth of Bombay in search of whatever Food caught my fancy--fulfilling even my most impractical whims and fancies without a demur or a murmur!!He also was by my side when I saw the Gynaecologist Dr. Nargis Motasha at her Clinic and also there for the birth of both our daughters.Lotta's birth meant that he was outside in the Waiting Room pacing up and down the area waiting for news--it was actually Sayali's birth that made him determined never to have any more children!!I had a very slow process where my Dilation was concerned---and Lotta took a good 8 days to be born naturally---that too only after the Doctor told me about a C-section scheduled for me the next day. The second time Sudhir was right outside the Labour Room--and caught an earful of my howls!!!I'm basically a person with a high threshold for Pain and with Sayali too I had kept a stiff upper lip--concentrating on my breathing as I had been taught.Unfortunately the Nurse did not wait for the Doctor to arrive and turned Sayali who was feet first right in the middle of a contraction--resulting in my uterus tearing and my losing control finally!!I was appalled at the terrible howls I emitted--but just could not regain my control back---the next day I found it very difficult to face the Doctor--though he was all praise for my performance prior to the loss of control!!
The first thing I remember about both the births is the look on his face--wonderment,awe and the pure delight when each one of them curled a fist tightly around his finger---literally holding on for dear life!!That was the day he made a vow to give them the best he could---and till the day he died, he kept that vow he had made to himself totally!!While he never changed the nappies,he took turns in staying up with Lotta after a full day at Court just to relieve me--for Lotta would cry the entire 24 hours for no obvious reason!!It was he who ensured that Lotta welcomed and accepted Sayali into our lives--holding long conversations with her about the new Baby--in Marathi we say "Babu" that was coming.Now the word "Babu" is synonymous mainly with the male babies and Lotta was well aware of this.He'd ask Lotta to feel my abdomen each time Sayali kicked--and would also tell her about what all I'd be doing after the "Babu" came--just to prepare her for the loss of attention later on.When Sayali was born Lotta turned to him--very indignant and accusing--- and said--"That's not a "Babu"--that's a Baby!!"
When we shifted here he'd take Lotta to her School in SoBo every morning--on the way he would question her about everything--and she would share all her innermost secrets with him.For the first year and a half he would never directly interact with Sayali--always doing so only after Lotta made him include her in their magic circle.By the time Lotta was 5 years old and Sayali 3 years old--the three of them began ganging up on me big time.We had a hidden bed specially made for them in our Bedroom because Lotta tormented Sayali whenever they slept in their Bedroom with Ghost stories.This bed would slide in under ours during the day and would roll out at night.Sudhir had to sleep next to their side--holding both their hands till they slept--a painful job for sometimes they'd cling to his hands and keep telling him stories about their day--cutting across each other's tales--and tugging at his poor aching hands to get his full attention!!
Sudhir was very particular about everything--he'd go meet their Teachers regularly in School just to follow up on their Educational Progress.While I did the disciplining he always knew about all their mischief and their minor problems--and would very subtly let them know that he was aware of every small feature of their lives.He'd mildly remonstrate or reprimand them but rarely went beyond that for there would be no need of that.I firmly believed in not not spoiling the children and my methods of disciplining would at times be pretty harsh!!Sometimes he'd ask me if I felt left out--but then I never did. Atya would always complain that I concentrated only on Sudhir and that my daughters came a poor second in my affections--something which I have always admitted openly.I don't think I was half as good a mother--but as I wife I have no qualms in claiming to have been nearer the 10 mark!!I had promised myself that I'd have him all to myself and that we'd be together after the Girls married and moved out and I'm very grateful to The Almighty for giving us those last 11 years together.For me it was the best period in our marriage.Our responsibilities had been fulfilled,our parenting days were over and so we were both mentally and physically relaxed.We were both young enough to live Life the way we wanted to and enjoy spending all our time together.We always had been talking a lot to each other---but sharing our thoughts became even easier as we became just the two of us---sometimes we'd just sit holding hands in a companionable silence---- for our relationship had transcended to a level where words were not needed anymore.Both of us knew everything about each other and had reached a comfort level together that was truly exceptional.
Today I am battling a deep loneliness in my soul--but I am coming to terms with him not being there physically.The period of denial is passing for Time does not stand still.However, I look on the passage of Time favourably--for each day that passes brings me closer to that day in my life when we will be together again--never to part!!