Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maanasaputhri- The daughter of my Dreams!

I

Lalita reclined further into the sofa languorously, and her leaden eyelids closed on their own accord. Absent mindedly, she caressed her swollen abdomen and a smile lingered on her lips…as if in response she felt the sudden movement beneath her fingers…Lalita hummed a lullaby softly…the same one that she had heard her mother sing to her little brother years ago… “Omana Thinkal Kidaavo…nalla komala Thaamara poovo..” she could not remember all the words, but it was a really beautiful one- and there was another one which her uncle used to sing- “ente makan Krishnanunni…”Lalita decided she should get both the songs from her mother- there was still time for it…

Thoughts of her mother filled her heart with longing for her mother’s presence Today, she was also soon going to become a mother, but that did not mean that she would stop being her parent’s baby… she felt tears – tears of love, gratitude, yearning for her mother’s touch…She always knew how much her parents loved her, but now, she could feel the intensity…today at the threshold of Motherhood, it suddenly hit her like a whiplash, the tangibility of the affection of her parents’ overwhelmed her- she was always aware of the invisible cocoon, and she had basked in it warmly…The realization, the awareness filled her being with a surge of love and zealous fortitude.

Lalita drifted into a dreamlike stupor, she knew it would be a daughter, Vikram wanted to name her Lavanya, and Lalita loved the sound of it…Lavikkutty- Lalita spoke to the baby in her womb incessantly- sometimes in her thoughts, sometimes aloud…she sang to her, she read to her- stories, shlokas, played good music…she wanted to instill the best into the spirit of her unborn daughter..her grandmother had written to her to read The Sundarakandam from the Ramayana daily – Lalita had never been very religious minded, perhaps spiritually inclined maybe- but now, she was inspired to follow any measure to ensure a healthy spirit in her unborn-

Her abdomen felt so taut and glazy, she could even ‘see’ when Lavikkutty moved. Vikram also talked to his daughter, he emotionally underwent all her pregnancy symptoms …he even admitted to feeling a trifle jealous about the physical bonding that a mother always had with the offspring. Vikram was so anxious, he would make a note of Lalita’s condition each day, and grill the doctor with a zillion doubts when they went for the monthly chek up- he was unmindful of their friends’ and relatives’ amused comments teasing him for behaving as if he was the first father-to- be in the world! Every evening he would coerce her to take a long walk- Lalita forgot her own anxieties watching Vikram’s apprehensions. In fact she was more concerned about how Vikram would bear “her” labour pains… She smiled at the thought… How true that men of today’s generation was so different from the husbands/fathers of bygone times…

Lavikkuty, why are the days crawling by so slowly? Every moment weighs so heavily… and yet I want to savour these moments when you are a part of my being- my body, my soul…but I can’t wait to hold you in my arms, to hold your little finger- to bathe you, to dress you- to sing to you…

I would like you to grow up into a loving, caring , compassionate person. I would pray that you bring Happiness and cheer to those who touch your lives, I would have liked you to remain untouched by pain, sorrow, but I know that is impossible, so I would just pray that you emerge stronger with every setback in your life- you would find your parents with all their love, affection and blessings- we will let you fall, make mistakes… and we would urge you to get up… brush the dust off- and move on…

The months passed at snail’s pace for Lalitha and Vikram. One night Lalita woke Vikram up in the middle of the night. Vikram was alert immediately, he saw Lalita’s face wince in pain…her face was beaded with perspiration. For a moment Vikram was alarmed, Lalita smiled weakly, and whispered- “Vicky, Lavikkutty is on her way…”

Vikram immediately went and woke Lalita’s mother who had come down for the confinement, the bag was all ready weeks ago. He called up the hospital, and they had asked him to bring Lalita over immediately.
They reached the hospital, Lalita was immediately taken to the labour room.
Two hours later, which had been like eternity for Vikram, the nurse came out smiling- it was a girl. Both mother and daughter were doing well. Vikram and his mother –in-law were relieved and thrilled. Vikram had been praying to all the Gods whom he had seen in his mother’s puja room…but had forgotten long since…and now he breathed easy.

They went into the room, Vikram moved towards Lalita, she gave a tired smile, he just held her hands…and there was this inexpressible feeling which threatened to overwhelm his being- he then looked at the little bundle by her side…and he gasped- she was so perfect, so beautiful…he just could not believe his eyes…He felt as if he was beholding a miracle…He gingerly touched his daughter’s little fingers and she immediately held fast to his finger…that moment in Vikram’s life…it felt as if the core of his existence concentrated into that single moment…

II


The years passed one by one, and Lavanya seemed to be growing healthily. But now and then Lalita felt that soemthing was not quite right. She voiced her fears to Vikram, but he just shrugged it off- Some how Lavanya seemed perfect from the outside but as she grew up, her motor development, her attaining milestones, then her performance at school all suggested some problem- they kept denying it to themselves…but when others began noticing and making enquiries, Lalita was forced to confront Vikram with the option of consulting a specialist. Vikram refused to accept, and argued bitterly with Lalita. Lalita though pained, had no choice but to consult the doctor on the sly. And her fears were confirmed- there was definitely something different about Lavanya…and the prognosis was far from encouraging.


Lalita’s world came crashing down and she had no idea how to break it to Vikram. She knew she would have to fight this battle alone, but she was determined to put up a fight for her precious daughter.


Handling Vikram proved to be much more challenging, that there were times when tackling Lavanya seemed easier. Vikram simply refused to accept the fact that his precious daughter was "less than normal". He kept longer hours at office, fought with Lalita, sometimes even behaved as if Lalita was his and his daughter’s enemy. There were times when Lalita reached the end of her tether, but she realized Vikram just did not have it in him to face life. Vikram however lavished his love upon Lavanya.


Lalita went to a counsellor to seek help to manage her upturned life…Vikram refused to accompany her…Lalita took up courses to learn how to teach children like Lavanya…she left her daughter with her parents during the day…Her parents were her major source of strength and support. Lalita taught her daughter to cope and manage with the limited faculties that she was endowed with…
The days of yore when Vikram had been an indulgent husband seemed like a fable now to Lalita, but she had no time for sorrow or moping.


Years passed, Lavanya grew up into a beautiful woman child…but she was as na├»ve as could be… Vikram kept expecting her to perform in par with normal children of her age, and Lavanya was constantly seeking to win appreciation in her father’s eyes. Lavanya adored her father and craved for his approval. The innocent girl was however sensitive to the dissappointement and frustration that she constantly saw in her father’s eyes…and her mother was her only ally- she would sob in her mother’s lap, telling her that “papa does not love me mamma”.
And Lalita would spend hours trying to make her understand that he did, and it was just that he showed it differently…


But Lalita’s painstaking efforts had its effect and today Lavanya is much better than what her doctors had foreseen- of course she would never be completely normal, and Vikram too has kind of come to terms with the situation. He has realized that his darling daughter was different..he tries to help Lalita in his own way nowadays…


I don’t know where to take this story from here- because, as you must have guessed, again, it has been woven around a real life situation and the circumstances are yet to unfold…I just hope and pray that Lavikkutty, Lalita and Vikram live a happy life.

14 comments:

cheti said...

ardra

amazing ! :
.. the description at the beggining, it was so sensitive and heartfelt about the expectations dreams and thoughts of a mother
.. the description of the helpless father and the brave mother, I have seen this happen too, men becoming completely wasted when facing a tough reality
.. the number of amazing people you seem to know !

cheti said...

and the name .... of the blog !

inspiredbylife said...

mommy... gripping and unwinding narration! Well, its very hard to bring up a normal child and kudos to parents who bring up such children. :)

Nithya Swaminathan said...

Hey Ardra,
This is the narration that has ur touch all over..:-)))

I liked part 1 better than part 2... You really took your time to get into the minds of Lalitha and Vikram in Part 1... Relatively, part 2 was in a hurry...

But on the whole, a great read..:))

Peppy said...

Hey great blog! loved the transition from the pregnancy to the delivery and the childhood..I've known parents with more than one challenged child and man, for all the sympathy they get, they have been way stronger than any of us ever could be. hats off to parents who believe in their children, no matter what the challenge.

anagha said...

ardra simply awesome...i loved the way u have described the pregancy part in the first part....the way she mmisses her mommy....really nice one...

But as nithya says second part was kind of short n hurried..

Ardra said...

Thank u Cheti, sumit, nithya, peppy, anagha..
ardra

FunnyCide said...

Hey Ardra,
Very nicely woven. You seem to have such strong and wonderful women around you! These real life stories are very touching.

I like the way you dont feel forced to build it like a story, with a climax and all that. And dont apologize for the endings. No matter what you write, I just love the way you write it. :))

I know a certain couple too, the older boy is like LavviKutty, now their little girl has some feeding problem. She is 10 months old, but for the last two months she has been on a feeding tube. Life is not fair most of the times. And we get to accept it as we grow up and face each day. *sigh*

buckwaasur said...

beautiful narration ardra...loved reading the story...very poignant

Ardra said...

Thank U Funny, Buck...
ardra

dinesh said...

Wonderful !! Loved the description of her (and his) anticipation for pregnancy. Very pragmatic yet beautiful ! I share nithya's opinion about part 2. It went through quickly ! Great job !

RS said...

Ardra - Nice...the way you weaved fiction into reality...or vice-versa. Hope to read more :)

abhilash warrier said...

Wow, you are a true writer.

An honour to meet you through your blog and your works.

niyas said...

well written.