Recently came across some beautiful illustrations by Soosh, and this one is my absolute favourite.
you can find more of her amazing work at http://vskafandre.com/app/#/home
I spent my childhood in a small town of Arunachal Pradesh. Life was different in there! Happiness was not a concept! I felt it in me, day in and day out. And there was a special love-affair that I had with my father.
Sudden and long power-cuts used to call for “extreme joy” ( for me at least) as that was our time for the great hand puppet show. With the glimmering light of a candle kept at a distance, I, with my father formed all sorts of animals and birds on the walls! They looked so real to me. He would whistle tunes of songs and asked me to guess the names..I did a great job there, just that, could never catch up with his whistling skills.
I was very mindful about my time with my Dad. Few things were customary for us to do together!
Who goes to the post office with him?
Who accompanies him to the bank?
No one else washes his car with him.
Who taught me how to check if the eggplant that you were buying from the market had worms ?!
What do you do, every year, in December?
“Go to the card shop with my father and buy greeting cards for friends and family”
And a slightest of change in the pattern would break my heart!
I picked up a lot of things from my father…all good ,bad and ugly. Some things that I am thankful and proud of. I have always seen him, trying, before saying- ” No, I can’t or It’s not possible”. He tried, and tried again. And most of the times it was a triumphant victory.
I try to follow suit and repeat, “Never say never!” And with time, I have realized, it indeed makes your journey a little easier to walk with this thought or belief!
With all the love and mush also came tough punishments. Poor scores (always, always in Maths) would call for heavy scolding and not talking. I used to be extremely sad with this ‘no-talking’ business. But that never helped me in going beyond the dislike towards the subject and study harder! So, the scores were pretty much consistent and also the silence from time to time.
P.S:Physics and Chemistry were the other two super villains of that time, but definitely after the Messy-Maths!
We broke our hush by writing letters to each other…which turned into sophisticated emails, with time. We poured our hearts out there. And slowly it became very awkward to not run for a bone-crushing hug. Definitely we missed each other soooooo much.
My father had (still has) a black notebook in which he wrote things that interested him. He also added some interesting recipes in it… Paneer bahaar, Kebabs, Rezala and Paratha, Momos, Kadhai chicken (I, at least know the names by heart).
Every time, we expected guests at home (almost every weekend), I saw him open that book and read out loud the ingredients to our help, who would help him in the prep-work. And, I would intently watch the entire show and soak in the aroma of the lovely spices. For Mutton Roganjosh, he would stand still, right in front of the pot and add milk to the meat with a tablespoon, one at a time. He would follow the recipe impeccably. And he would give it a final stir and say, “Fatafati hoeche, bujhli” (It has come out awesomely, you know). And that twinkle in his eyes *hearts*
My father lost his dad, when he was just 3 months old. He has always told me, how he saw other’s fathers and had an image of a perfect father in his mind. He tried his best to be that PERFECT father for us. And he surely did a good job.
A beautiful movie, a soulful song, a good read…I can only think of my Dad as one of my best partners, when we both have our share of good cry, a mad laugh, a clown-like act, a serious face, a dirty fight, a super ego clash, a silent sob, a loud call….Babaaaaa 🙂
The person who helped me know my knees, who treated me as his special baby and at times…became a child himself, who is trustful, heroic yet a pile of Love…I call him my Father. All I know is, wherever I end up in life, not a bit is going to change between us.
I was planning to sit down and start writing for a long, long time now. And like always, there was something that kept me away from this one. Even now, I feel my tired eyes need their well deserved rest..and here I go and hit the bed..hoping to bring myself together, once again and write..may be tomorrow, may be some day. Good night!
This is some 4 months after I intended to write a post. With an ever growing toddler in the house, it is quite difficult to make some time for…well…
A ‘Me’ Time – most importantly with a sharp and ready to work MIND of your own. Because if you fail to achieve that state, next thing what you do is, take a nap by his side.
Work on a Computer, at the same time, try and keep your baby off it. No Screens, you see!
Strive for some inner peace- in between- flu shots, appetite slump, UTI checks, ‘NO’ commands, struggles to make sense of your child’s needs when he goes…aaanhh…atttaaa…tadaaa…bab…ajiii…!
I was never a regular writer here, though. But, I always had these mind scribbles that I wanted to store somewhere. And they say, it is also a good idea to keep your sanity in one place.
So, before I begin a new journey of my doodles, let me quickly do a recap of last two years of my sabbatical.
I became a Mother of a beautiful baby boy- Mr. Toe ( my friend gave this name to my son and now, I feel I should use this here- more like an e-name!). Now, that pretty much explains about nine months,straight. But, for me, it went a little more than the ususal calculated time, you know! With my very active foetus in my uterus, there grew a fat and mammoth being, named- Obelix. (Scientific name: Fibroid). Yes yes, we are Asterix fans.
So, everyday, there was this quintessential fight between Mr. Toe and Obelix over Food And Water, (read nutrition and blood). And, all I was supposed to do was keep calm, take power-ups (progesterone shots), eat good amount of protein, iron and other right stuff and wait! I was told by my green-eyed Gynaec, (read good looking and other relevant adjectives) to put my feet up- that actually sounded great, but soon it turned out to be very boring and tiring!
My system soon started to misbehave and went haywire. Obelix became obese and with additional weight of Mr.Toe, all on one poor Uterus, my body like a fool prepared itself for a very early delivery rewarding me with a wrenching pain, like I felt my pelvis was tearing apart! ( Symphysis pubis dysfunction). This was as early as just 17 weeks of my pregnancy.
Now, suddenly one fine day, Obelix felt all unattended and just to grab the limelight- went into a phenomenal changing process, with a very fancy name- Red Degeneration. While I was rushed to the hospital after a long excruciating pain ( over 36 hours), my doctor ( I could barely feel his charm that day) moved the transducer up and down my lower abdomen to show us that Mr.Toe has been keeping all well- despite of all the Red, Blue , Green done by the Obelix, and in few seconds we all breathed a sigh of relief as Toe took a somersault to kick the Obelix hard! ( We actually saw that on the monitor!).
The next moment, the nurse was shoving pain killers and antibiotics up my vein to calm my system down. Now, this is fairly hazy, but yes, it was sometime around then when I felt that all the unceasing pain, I was living with was a part of me. A standard, normal being. I stopped fighting it and accepted it with all my heart. And that is what people around me advised me to do. I asked myself to do the same.
I became flat. Like a millpond. Toneless.
I started seeing my days pass by in front of me. Mornings, day times, ouch, pain, noons, evenings,excruciating pain, some more pain, more, nights, mid nights, pain! But, flat, numb. I could feel my baby kick me…I counted them. But they were just some strikes! They were not enough to nudge my emotions.
And then, on 30th of May, 2015, late in the night I was wheeled to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Half past mid night I heard a croaking sound along with a visual of a tiny baby and the faint voice of my good looking doctor came into my ears,” So, Shaonli. It’s a Boy”. All I did was..close my eyes. (And my mind must have said, so what…now, leave me alone).
It wasn’t “The happiest moment of my life”…I DID NOT forget all my pain after seeing my baby…There wasn’t any tear of happiness. I proved all the mush written in some baby books and shown in movies- WRONG. But, how was that possible to not feel attracted to your newborn child? So, not correct..is what I thought.
I started lactating after 48 hours! No big deal. Feeding marathons. A crying creature was brought to me, whenever he felt hungry and the moment he was full- was taken away for burps and blahs! And he came back in next 1.5 hrs again.
The morning sunshine burnt my eyes, I did not like it. Still don’t. I used to draw my room’s curtains and be with the baby. I couldn’t nap with my son and stayed up. And things got worse. Another one- “Sleep when your baby sleeps”. Sorry, doesn’t happen with me.I tried hard. I was exhausted, anxious, weak and vulnerable. And a pile of numbness. I was dying to feel that profound love towards my son. I was dying to feel at least something. No luck. All I felt was empty and wasted.
I was missing out on the first smile, the first gurgle, and the many firsts of my child! I was diagnosed to have postpartum depression and anxiety. Very common you know. All you have to do is, talk it out, pop some pills may be, think happy thoughts and you will be back in say 6-7 months! Not always. NOT ALWAYS.
So, I was prescribed a solid dose of Setraline (a form of SSRI…umm..an antidepressant) to control my symptoms of depression. Not just that. I could not feed my baby for 6 hours after having it! Some more GUILT? Why not? Now, that a baby can thrive on formula and the mother needs to be healthy for the well being of her child- these theories do not really get into the brain of the person suffering from PPD/PPA, so easily. Trust me.
To add to my ordeal, I was hit by Insomnia, wherein I did have enough time to sleep in between the feeds and other stuff, but I could not sleep at all. It was tremendously draining. My eyes were tired and my body wanted to give up- and NO SLEEP. I was advised to pop up a pill before bedtime, send my baby to a different room for the night (anyway I was not supposed to feed him for 6 hours straight) and wait! I was in a weird half-baked situation. I was emotionally numb, yet a plethora of sadness…I desperately wanted to sleep, yet sending my baby off to a different room made my heart sink. Initially, I would wake up in the middle of the night, on a wet sheet-wet by my breast milk! Well the foolish Oxytocin did not understand the sudden change in feed schedule! (a break of 6 hrs)….But it did settle down quickly!
P.S: Mr. Toe was on formula for the night and rounds of questioning (by family and random people) as of why was I putting him on formula when I produced enough milk…that’s another story! A bag full of self-condemnation.
I started going for my therapies. A diaper bag, pumped breast milk, a nanny, my father or mother OR Both, and Tiny-Toe (all of 2.5 months) followed me. I told my psychologist that I felt as if I was looking through a screen. My vision was Foggy and Cloudy (And it still is!!). My therapist told me, it was a common symptom of depression and is called Derealization/Depersonalisation. Whaaa? Common? Who feels foggy and has a blurred eyesight despite of having an all clear report to an eye test! And what about “the” part where you feel you are living out your body, everything seems to be unreal – like a dream. “It is termed as Depersonalisation, dear”- said Priyanka, my beautiful therapist.
With time, I stopped spotting myself as the person I was, instead my being became synonymous to the symptoms I experienced!
My little Toe started growing up just too fast. And each morning I used to get so exhausted even before starting my day with him. I read to him, sang songs, gave him a bath but everything was so superficial. That is not me! Everytime I had to pinch myself to feel real or splash ice cold water on my face to feel grounded. And there, right in front my eyes, my baby turned one.
I took tons of pictures to keep the memories alive and whenever I get time I flip through them. They make me smile. Again, memory is an issue here. Something I just did this morning feels like- has been done almost a week back! Yes, it’s that edgy and bad.
So, we had a Jungle Theme party for our Big boy on his first birthday. And we completed 12 months, together! With medication, crazy feeding times, therapies, burps, immunizations, colic pains, brain fog, afternoon naps, lullabies, anxiety attacks, introducing solids….It all went in a jiffy.
I know, it is going to take some time for me to heal. I know I have to see the pictures and catch up on my son’s growing up for a while. I know it is not going to be easy. I know I will give up and get up to try again. But, I would remind myself again and again that my illness, my symptoms are not going to change who I am. I am the same zealous girl I used to be who always believed in trying and trying again….who always loved with all her heart and cried like a baby. Yes, it’s little misty in here but that is going to lift and get better.
Note: Finally finished this piece and my son just turned 19 months!