A couple of days ago, as I fretted over my to-do list yet again, I decided to add one more thing to it, Mi – something you always urged me to do. “Scan all our photo albums“. Thrilled about taking one more major decision, I wandered into your room, with a bunch of the albums and settled down on your bed, mentally noting the time on the clock – and anticipating going into the kitchen to make a nice really large mug of coffee. That vision turned so vivid I thought, why not now? And bringing my mug, settled down again. As I turned the pages, lingering longer than I needed to over the pictures that were etched in my memory anyway, I couldn’t help smiling. I sipped my coffee, and suddenly imagined you sitting with me – reminiscing, laughing. You know what happens when the floodgates of those memories open! Do you remember the day I phoned to tell you I was pregnant? We were so overjoyed! I am grinning right now, remembering how you insisted it was going to be a boy. The months seemed to whiz by so fast! Even though I had a due date and we were packed and ready to leave for the hospital six weeks ahead, when D-day came, it was a complete surprise! You were so amused when my water broke – and the first thing I did was finish my leftover porridge and then called the taxi before calling Sury, who rushed home from his game of badminton. Then next day was the most glorious day of our life when Vidur was born! And what a few hours of tension that was – when it went from a normal to an emergency Cesarean! I still recall being worried about listening in on the doctors discussing a party they were planning to go to in the evening – I only had an epidural – and I freaked out when I couldn’t hear the sound of the baby crying until the neonatologist smacked his little bum and he just let out a cursory “ehhhh”. Five days later, when we brought him home, I was so nervous! Life suddenly transformed into a loop of activities – feeding, cleaning, washing, cooking, sporadically sleeping – feeding, cleaning. Vidur seemed to grow by the minute! I remember the day we took him for his shots – he was three months old and we sat him, holding him on either side. The doc gave him the shot on his thigh and we expected him to yell – but to our collective surprise, he smiled and pointed to the other thigh! Talk about Gandhi-ism – a la showing the other cheek! Soon, he started moving around so quickly on his fours – we couldn’t believe that a baby who couldn’t even sit steadily had the strength to pull out all the newspapers off the shelf! We thought we were being very clever when we switched the papers for telephone directories, only to discover he would drag a corner of the cover and flip it to the floor! What about that time he would silently crawl under the sofa and stay there for a few minutes? Turned out he was stealthily pulling out the stuffing from one of the openings there! We got so worried he would inhale the dust or transfer the stuffing to his mouth! I am laughing now to think of how we would keep him entertained, with that big sheet with the elephants printed on it. He would crawl from one end, where I waited, to the other, where you waited – what a fun game that was. He loved being grabbed and cuddled! He’d look so puzzled when the sheet got all crumpled! Remember his “push-ups” in his quest to raise himself? He’d let out a frustrated screech when he fell back flat on his tummy! One of my sweetest moments was when I held him, willing him to sleep and singing to him – he would “sing along” with a steady “ahhhhh”. This became such a habit that one day we got worried when he continued to “ahhhh” – on impulse, we decided to record it on a cassette just to see how long, so we could show Sury. 20 solid minutes! Still have the tape! Now I am laughing aloud thinking of how I would walk around with his head resting on my shoulder – trying to imitate Sury’s tactics – he was such a whiz at that and could go for hours. I didn’t have the stamina – and I would invariably begin with a short song and switch to the story of Raja Harishchandra. What was hilarious was how he instantly went quiet when I started the story and fell asleep at the exact point when Nakshatreyan enters the story every time – I suspect he was so bored with it that he decided sleep was a better alternative! How he loved his toy basket – aka his crib! He never slept in it and found it amusing that we always tucked him in – hoping he’d sleep off. The next thing we knew, he would kick off the covers and start calling out gurgling with joy when we lifted him off it. He always preferred his spot on the bed. An all-time favorite memory is his unbridled laughter – the minute we shook the broomstick, he’d burst out laughing and abruptly stop when we stopped shaking it! And this would set off hiccups! We found so many laughter triggers that way – shaking out the bedsheet set him off too. In fact, any bouncy shaky thing made him burst out laughing instantly! We actually had neighbors complaining that they never heard him cry, remember? Not that we didn’t have our own “problems!” We found it amazing that he would refuse to come out of his bath and would growl when the water stopped pouring on him! Oh, how he loved a good oil massage! We’d have such fun dressing his rapidly growing locks! I still visualize how his eyes would change color when we held him and stood near the window, listening to the waves as the sun set – it would turn a beautiful green, as if changing color with the water. My heart just warms over every time I think of how he recognized me for the first time and laughed right into my eyes! Today, each time he smiles when he looks at me, I remember all the abundantly beautiful moments I’ve shared with him. How can a Mother ever forget? I am blessed to remember the minutest details.
Life moves too fast for my liking, sometimes. I know Time waits for no man, or woman for that matter…so it is a good thing to be able to take that trip down memory lane and stop at places for as long as I want. I love the vignettes – watching Vidur stand up for the first time and walk to us, his first words, his first day at school, his first prize, his first poem, his first song… and the various milestones as he progressed from year to year. As he stands on the threshold of a new phase in his life when he starts undergraduate college, I feel nothing but pride in my heart. Sigh. May he always stay blessed for being the gentle, kind and compassionate person he has grown into!