The joy of being a father again

BY FAIZ MOHAMMED

Yes, yet again its a top-of-the-world, lump in the throat and I-am-the-king-of-the-world moment.

However it’s definitely different; even the discussion to arrive at having a second child is different.

Picture this :

“Hey, it’s time we have another one!”

“It’s time? According to whom??”

“Well everybody is asking about it, Our family, friends, relatives, facebook friends, whatsapp friends and even my beauty parlour wali friend”

“So we plan another baby to get “likes” or “comments” from them?”

“No, it’s not just that, I have always loved the idea of having a bunker bed in my house”

Anyways, emotion wins over logic (read wife wins), moreover there isn’t a prettier sight than having both your legs grabbed by your kids after you are back home.

Also, unlike the last time, you cant be so impartial about the gender; we have a boy, we want a girl (though having a healthy baby is THE ONLY PRAYER)

The D-Day arrives and you follow the exact schdedule of your “earlier achievement”; like the batsman who wears the same underwear he wore when hitting his last century.

Waiting out, is the longest hour of your life; finally the angel-in-white tells you, “Congrats, it’s a girl”. And you jump with joy; the last time I did this was when Dhoni hit that six to win us the World Cup.

The Almighty bestows a special grace on girls; I have always been biased and considered women a superior race, so am glad to be blessed with a daughter.

Our nest is finally complete and I can borrow a funny line overheard from a proud father. “I have two kids and two kidneys.”

Just KIDding 🙂

 

About the author:

Faiz Mohammed (or FM, as he likes to be called) has been with FM (Radio City, Radio ONE) for a decade; he knows really well he is better heard than seen. He is a Gujrati, born and brought up in Bangalore – now you know the real inspiration behind Chetan Bhagat”s Two States. When he is not convincing his clients to spend their hard earned money on air, he reads, and very rarely, also writes.

 

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How a daddy met his nurture side and loved it

BY NITIN PUJAR

Women who give birth have often ranted about the physical and mind-numbing body changes that they endure during the conception and postpartum processes. They own this kind of physicality of process that they thumb all males down with and, of course, never let their men forget for the rest of their life.

And I have seen all sorts of women personas go through this: the quiet pregnant woman who is nothing more than slightly plump through her ten month process of being mollycoddled by everyone around her, to the glaring ‘the-world-is-so-unfair’ working woman who is a shrieking banshee at work as well as home through her pregnant months..

One thing is common to all women who are pregnant: the presumption that men do not, will not and cannot understand what they are going through. And yes, that is physically true. But what is not true is that they don’t go through their own sets of peeves, fears and personality swings through this process.

I was suitably abused for not understanding anything about anything, for the entire nine months by my daughter’s mother while she was being tracked through a series of doctor visits in the womb. The doctors, some male and a couple of delightful females, kept looking at me quizzically as I seemed chilled and question-less while I interjected with nods and paper napkins when they were reached out for. I was asked by the mother of my daughter to read up tomes of day-by-day pregnancy symptoms and indicators and told the books were written for the Americans and so were irrelevant. The doctors had the ‘eyes rolled up’ look of having to deal with the over-involved couple, all the time. Though to be fair, I said very little.

The mother of the mother, both in-law and out-law, would call in and ask inane questions about their daughter’s (in-law and out-law) eating habits and so on and proffer advise to me about what their daughter should be drinking or such. All this was of course followed by the wife asking me what they said and then, being told in turn about how they don’t know anything. See? Makes sense, right?

My clients, my work and my life in general had ceased to be meaningful to my wife or should I say irrelevant. Which was fine because they all understood what it meant to be in the generic thankless process of being ‘becoming’ a father. They sympathized, or in most cases if they were men, did not even ask about it or talk about it.

‘Lamaze’ or something (laa-maaz) classes were paid for and thankfully not attended due to the fact that they were inconveniently timed for the wife (who worked till the last possible day ). Some sensitive friend of hers had done them with their respective loving wife and so we had to pay and forget about it and never mention it, ever. (“Never, ever”..like Arnab Goswami famously says).

Then there was that last minute panic outside the labour room of the Christian missionary-run hospital which forbade me from entering the labour room!! This is where the macho, male assertion that one will be there with the wife even if one were to be jailed for it, worked. Not that my wife noticed or has even spoken of it ever after.

Yes, it was horror inducing to see all the animal reality of mammalian birthing and the equally horrifying cutting and suturing and casual mayhem of a surgical labour room. In the middle of the timing the breathing I asked my wife “Shucks, what if it’s a boy? I have not thought of a name!!” She just looked at me with her cold stare and shrieked, “You are supposed to help me push, not ask me questions!”

And then of course, the moment when the tall woman who is now my teen daughter came into the world with nary a whimper, but a happy cough and sniffle, I was all relived that I did not have to think of a name. But what I was never prepared for was the stunning sense of nurture that washed over all my senses as I was given this tiny bundle of helplessness to hold. It is a trip that was never experienced before and never ever after. It is a physical, chemical and mental zoning out that makes for a whole lifetime of waiting.

 

About the author:

Nitin Pujar enjoys the never ending luxury of being curious about all of the women in his life, while trying to decipher them, knowing he can never do so.

The curious case of daddydom

daddyIn a strange sequence of events, the man I married came up for scrutiny every single day after we made a baby together. He still does. It is a fact that has crept into my head in an insidious way particularly after I read one of his comments on Facebook which said something like “Interesting how most of marriage is spent plotting how not to get screamed at by the wife.”

This needs damage control, I thought. The husband believes that he has the unique power to annoy me even when he’s not in the room, and I think he may have a point. In my overwhelming pursuit of being a good mother, I had clearly lost out on being the good wife.

I married a man who doesn’t cook, walk or exercise. Someone who always thinks of vegetables as the dressing for something more succulent, preferably with legs. One who hates trains. One who wields an electric racket to kill mosquitoes (yes!). One who was gifted a Nintendo by his father at age 14. One who may skip a bath but never forget his hat. One who could easily declare someone he met three weeks ago as his best friend. One who doesn’t read or play any sport, unless it involves a controller. One who is still afraid to pull over a T-shirt around the boy’s head, thinking it might hurt him.

After a child, everything that a man used to do semi-okay is now wrong. Women feel that men were already stupid to start with, and after producing a child, the last brain cell also vanishes. And so we are often guilty of trying to fix our men through our children. ‘Re is so perfect, his father better match up,’ is what I am thinking most of the time.

As for the men, well, one day they are the sperm, and the next day they are the parent who knows zilch about parenting. At least, women have the hormones that make motherhood a little more organic than it’s purported to be.

Some men beatifically fake the holding of the baby in the first few weeks and change a total of six diapers before they realise that this is not really their calling. And there begins the War of the Roses.

Women raise the bar for men after having mothered their children. Men are so overwhelmed by the complexity of post-partum behaviour that the only thing they are looking for is a place to hide. Since most of us didn’t marry with checklists and did it for larger causes like love and hormones, it might be a tad shocking that the product of our conjugation is very often greater than the sum of parts. I think if we have rigid ideas about how we should raise our children (bathing and brushing is sacrosanct, eating junk is sacrilege) we should have these conversations before our libidos get into a blur and the baby is already made.

And so I plead guilty on the following counts:

1. Maybe, when I expect you to take the ball and run, I should at least tell you where the ball is. Or what it looks like.

2. If I was so averse to technology, I should have told you right at the start, before our remote controls produced babies and grandchildren.

3. Somewhere, I fear that your tech toys may have a greater power of seduction on the boy than my books. Or cupcakes. Or salads.

4. I suck at drawing so I was hoping that you would doodle for the child and make dogs look like dogs and lions not look like hyenas. It was presumptuous.

5. I thought your OCD for orderliness would also translate into organising the child’s toys, clothes and books.

6. I celebrated your transition from PS2 to PS3 to Xbox360. Why now am I mortified by the PS4?

7. Someday, I decided that television was not okay. I should have told you then.

8. I know you don’t do parks and playgrounds but I was not counting on building Lego parks on the iPhone as outdoor stimulation.

9. I thought having a chirpy morning child would turn you into a morning person. I was wrong.

10. Sometimes, I am angry with you just because you can switch off. Maybe, I should find my switch-off button too.

Yes, I admit, we have never fought as much before as we did after the baby. But we never wanted to make up as much either. Maybe Re has helped us grow. A wee bit at least.

 

This post first appeared as my column in the Indian Express on 3rd March, 2013