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FULLARA NAG

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 11/10/2014 |




HOW A MOTHER WAS BORN

Today is 14th November 2011... around 8:44 A.M.
I must have opened my eyes at the same time thirty-seven years ago… on 14th November 1974.
You see, I had been put on anesthesia after the birth of my only born…
Yes, I had known that I had given birth to a son; but that was all I knew.  Before too long the placenta started moving upwards and my body started shaking… I could not keep still, but did not know what was wrong. However, the attendees knew. Soon I felt something cold on my face and before I passed out, I could see the white sleeves of my old doctor’s panjabi… he had not wasted any time when he got the phone call.
13th was the Kali puja night… and he  was at the puja in his quarter at the back of the hospital… when the call went, he did not wait to change, but came immediately…  without any ado… such was his dedication. 
He was an old man… my grandfather’s friend and many of my cousins saw the light of the day at his hand…   no, not I… I was born in an obscure village called Kinnahar in Birbhum district… at home at the hand of a local doctor… there was no hospital near by. My mother was  strong lady… when the pangs started she sent men to call the doctor and got hot water, clean cloths, sterilized scissors and everything else ready…. You see, I was third in the row and so she knew the procedure…
Anyway, my case was different…
It was my first childbirth… for that matter only childbirth… but at that time, it was only the first one … so I received special treatment…
I could not sleep on the 12th night… for the Panjabi family opposite, Diwali celebration had already started and they were having a party… I told my mother so… she understood why I could not actually sleep… she contacted the doctor straight way. He advised admission.
The 13th was new moon and the Kali puja… May be it is an old wife’s tale but they said, there was a chance that the baby would arrive during this time only… the pull of amabashya they said… otherwise the baby was not due yet… 
By thirteenth evening I was ready with my baggage and walked down to the hospital with my mother… she was a no-nonsense type and the hospital was not that far away… that I was not really fit was no excuse… walking would ease up the delivery. In short, I was admitted to the hospital around ten days before it was due on the assumption that the pull of the moon may hasten up the process… and yes… I was a little… you know… ok… not so well…And yes, my mother did not forget to pack up a knitting… what else would I do in the hospital? Time would hang heavy and knitting would help me to pass time.
I do not know if it was actually the pull of the moon… but the labor pain did start soon after the visiting hours were over! My husband too had visited me… he and my brother had planned to celebrate Diwali at the Park Street… I too could have gone if I had not got myself admitted so fast… Well, there was nothing for me to say… I had just followed the Hitler’s command! I wished them happy boozing… I know they would get drunk… and of course, they did… but that is beside the point…
As I said, the labor pain started at around eight o’clock! I concentrated on my knitting…  I had prayed to God before I left home that I may behave in a dignified manner and not make any kind of scene… I kept repeating it… Oh God! Please give me strength to bear all the pain in silence…  Well, I am glad to say that God listened to me that time at least… I kept knitting… in-between the pangs I walked up and down the long corridor and kept on knitting… At ten o’clock I saw my mother walking into my cabin… she could not stay at home anymore and the hospital allowed female attendance for the cabin patient.
The pain began to become more and more intense… more and more frequent… doctors and nurses kept checking on my condition… finally I could not knit anymore… I put it aside and lay down in my bed… but it did not help… pains did not decrease… I kept saying Oh God! Oh God! And all the while, the child’s father was making merry at the Park Street… unaware of all this… Anyway, what function did he have? It was better that way.
Still in my cabin, I writhed in pain silently. Suddenly it seemed that something had burst open… I yelled… ‘phete gelo phete gelo’ … was it the water sack... is there is any such thing? I do not know… but a bustle of activity started… the trolley was pushed in… but I had no strength… “I can’t…” I said… “But you must…” my mother said… So I gave the last push and heaved myself on the trolley…
I was the only patient in the labor room… I don’t exactly remember what happened there… but my doctor kept saying ‘’Push hard… harder…’ I did, but it did not have the desired effect… then she said, “as in constipation’… I understood this time… and my son was born… a tiny life… he too cried out… may be in fear… or may be he felt too cold… they brought the baby to me and then took him away to have him cleaned up and nicely wrapped…
Was I elated? Frankly no! May be I was too tired to feel anything… soon my legs began to shake and I could not keep them steady any more…  soon the cold feeling on my face… and the old doctor’s white punjabied hands… I slept…
So, this is how a mother was born... at 3:17 AM on the children's day back in 1974... 
But, I do not really know when motherhood really sank in me! To be frank… I do not think it ever did… Yes, I gave birth to a life… but does that entitle me to any greater height? Did I become a better human being for that? I do not think so… Oh, why does one glorify a mother? Well, I do not deny the fact that as a concept, a mother is an epitome of unselfish love…something divine! But, is my love for my son that? Do I have no expectation from him? Of course, I have… then what makes me set apart from the rest?  I am yet to find the answer.







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