Life is sum up of little poetic stories scattered all over the years we travel…
One such interesting incident of my childhood I want to share today-
“No we are not enough. I want a brother. I want it, I want it, I want it and that’s it.”
My younger sister who was five or six at that time said it with determination. Now I had to do it for her wish. Everyone was looking at me and I was staring at my new broken tooth in my hand. We were six friends playing at our terrace. I was eldest of all and not because of age but with choice of all was accepted as leader of the gang. We all were under eight years at that time. While playing I broke my milk tooth and Mona who was three years old very wisely told me that if I make a wish and throw this broken tooth on shed over our room’s window then goddess would accept it and my wish will be granted, which was actually my younger sister’s wish. Her wise old granny passed this knowledge to her so how could it be wrong?
Now all eager eyes were on me. “See friends it doesn’t work like this believe me. These are all myths”. All eyes had disbelief and accusation in them on hearing these words from me. Meenakshi a friend who shared my name and was one year younger than me asked angrily, “ so you are saying that our granny tells us lies?” She was elder sister of Mona. “ Hey don’t take it personal. I just want to say brothers are not born this way.” Renuka intervened and said, “ Even if it is not true what is the harm in following this. You anyway have to throw it “.
She was actually right. For happiness of my sister who was keen to get a brother at cost of my broken tooth I accepted this broken tooth wish game. So I closed my eyes wished to have a younger brother for my little sister and with faith threw my wish tooth on shed of our window. “ Now we all will come back tomorrow evening and if the tooth won’t be there it means fairy has accepted your wish”, very proudly and confidently Mona told us all.
We all started playing again and there was glow of hope and happiness on my sister’s face. Her eyes were beaming and lips smiling. She already did her part of job by dropping her wish to have a brother at Vaishnodevi when we went there on a trip. So she was double assured now.
“ Why do you want a brother so desperately?” I asked Parul at night looking at stars, when we both were trying to sleep. That was summer night and in late 1970s coolers or AC were not in reach of every household. They were considered luxury items. So almost everyone in Delhi used to sleep on cots at terrace. Our parents bought us both a mini cot and a folding wrought iron bed. Next to ours cot were theirs too. We were almost whispering so as not to be heard by them.
“I feel sad and very bad on Rakhi and Bhaiya dooj “; she replied sadly. Rakhi and Bhaiya dooj are Indian festivals celebrated as bond of love of brother and sister.
“I don’t have a brother to tie Rakhi. You tie it to our cousin Pankaj. Did you ever tried to know how I feel?” Parul was almost in tears. Suddenly I felt pang of guilt. She was right, I used to tie Rakhi to Pankaj one of my younger distant cousin (son of my father’s cousin brother). They only asked one of us to celebrate Raksha Bandhan and my mom asked me to go. “But I will no more going to tie Rakhi to him from this year. He has his own little sister now” I informed her to lessen my guilt. But it didn’t helped me to convince her that we don’t need a brother.
Years passed wishing and praying by my younger sister to have a brother. The incident of tooth was forgotten by all. No one else than my sister wanted one more member in our family. We were perfect family of we two our two. Then one day we overheard our parents to know that my mom was pregnant. Parul was over moon and stars. “See I told you we will get our wish fulfilled “ she was dancing. I was more worried than happy. I watched a movie on T.V. Where the mother dies after giving birth to a girl. The fear captured my little heart. It made me shiver to think how our mom is going to handle the pain and how could we live without her.
My fear became worse as it was very difficult pregnancy for my mom. Mostly she used to be on bed and in pain. Doctors advised her to be very cautious. Third time pregnant while already having two daughters used to be a mental torture for women in old Indian society and more so if you were a Punjabi.
She too used to live in fear. My father’s aunts were not easy women. Their instruction that,” this time you have to give birth to a male child” used to felt like a bomb on us. Now even I started praying hard for my mom’s and sister’s sake to have a brother.
On 1st of October in 1982 when I was ten and my sister was eight years old we took our mom to the same hospital where I was born. We hired a taxi when my mom’s condition started getting worse. Hiring taxi was also not common at that time. People used to travel in DTC buses and if very urgent Auto was hired. Black and yellow taxis used to be a costly affair at that time. Parul and I were crying and praying to God for safety of our mother.
My brother took seventeen days to born after she was hospitalised. This was the longest period we spent at our grandparents home without her. We used to go to meet her in evening and every time left crying silently hiding our tears from her. It was not easy for her too. On 17th October in evening doctors declared they have to do a cesarean. All preparations were made. My mom was at operation table and was waiting for doctors to start operation. Suddenly she saw her Guruji at her right side and Babaji a spiritual holy Sikh man at her left side. No one, not even a nurse was there. They both blessed her and disappeared and within ten minutes my brother was born without any operation. The doctors rushed just to cut the cord.
It was no less than a festival at my grand parents home that day. That is how tooth fairy took my tooth and gifted us a brother 🙂