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February 11, 2006

Warning - a womanly post!

I am not a parent and I will never know exactly what it feels like to be a parent until I have a child of my own (That was my original title - On being a parent - I changed my mind). That's what everyone says. Our generation is such that getting married is increasingly being viewed as a commitment, a decision irreversible, final and hence to be taken with utmost care, so much so that people seem to be missing out on the fun of the whole process. Single guys and girls seem to be scared to commit.

Easy for me to claim, you say. You are married and have put the tension behind you, you say, shooting me your best accusing look. True but that won't prevent me from observing and commenting :) But, I digress. I want to write about being a parent, on caring for a child, which brings me back to fears that our generation (which of course includes me) seems to entertain enthusiastically.

Someday I will write about that but for today, I just changed my mind again. What I really want to talk about is about a woman and her child. Really, by now you should have given up on expecting what I really ask you to expect at the beginning of a post :) Anyway, here goes more 1 AM randomness.

Which woman is ready to have her first child really? We are all apprehensive, scared, nervous wondering if we are ready to handle the "responsibility". We, who have been selfish all our lives, now worried for the first time that we cannot get up when we want, do what we want and live a life without planning ahead - a movie today, hang out with friends tomorrow, eat out the day after - and what happens when we have a baby?

We view it more as an event that will curtail our freedom, force us to shoulder responsibilities that we are not ready for, because we are too busy taking care of ourselves!

And so we have the sixteen year old who baby-talks with her older friend's child and then wonders how she manages it all, "I can never do that!", she convinces herself in her mind; we have the twenty year old woman who looks at the diapers, stroller, burp cloths and shakes her head to herself, "I have a lot of time left for this, am just not ready!" and we have the twenty-six year old woman carrying her sister's three-day-old baby in her arms, looking at its reddish little face, hardly distinguishable features, clump of black hair on its tiny head and wondering, "Gosh, is it time for me too? How will I ever prepare myself for this?"

And then one day, its your turn - pregnancy, baby, diaper and all. And I guess, that day, you know you are ready when you hold your child close to you for the very first time! (You better be!)

And vaguely related to this outpour, k & I were exchanging childhood stories and how our parents managed to put up with us and I recalled this image of my dad sitting on his scooter, reading kumudam under a dim street light, right outside KSR's IIT-mathematics class (in Nungambakkam?)...he was always waiting for me outside but somedays I would be fifteen minutes late, some days half an hour late and I would walk out with my friends, discussing topics that surrounded a fifteen-year old's world...very rarely, I would stop talking when I walked out, say bye to my friends and for a few seconds think about what I did to deserve him. Very rarely though. But, today, for some reason, the memory hit me with full intensity...

7 comments:

Saranya Kishore said...

Good one..
well, dont know how the last paragraph relates to the rest of the post, but, I can _totally_ relate to it.
Been there.. My Dad used to travel by bus for an hour to just pick me up and take me back home in the nights after IIT classes.
I realized how much he has done for me, right after I came to the US, when I had to do everything on my own :( and I still miss him a lot of times.

littlecow said...

...i used to wonder about how dedicated these parents must be to wait and take their kids back... patiently, without wincing, invariably proud when watching their kids stomp out after a hour of breaking their heads. and the location of KSR's house gave an especially poignant touch to the whole thing. some days, the slum kids used to stand outside his home watching us stream out, wondering what we do inside. and those moments hit home hard too.

Is there any news about KSR? Does he still teach? Its been almost a decade since I went to those classes but I cherish those memories dearly. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

BUS said...

I think even men also go through the same emotions @ the thought of being a dad. I will agree with what ur going to say about the giving birth part but the rest of it??

"Single guys and girls seem to be scared to commit" ... easy for u to claim??? hmm...

bindu said...

Wonderful!!! During my X classes, I made my mother took leave for my sake.. only cause.. I wanted her to be with me when am studying..

All the while, when am studying.. shed be there right besides me..giving me coffee whenever needed.. waking me up when I needed to..

and even listening to all my mood swings.. Wonder whether I can ever be like that!!

RS said...

saranya - me understands...sigh.

littlecow - hmm, quite out of touch...not sure if he is still teaching, he was one terrific teacher, though!

bus - me agrees...

bindu - yup, only in my case, it was horlicks and after much protest, tea late nights :)

An Idiot... said...

havent been reading for a while.....was skimming through the rest as well..but this was a two part writing and the first par fell in the contradictory zone of may singles:)...yes...I would still say marriages are huge commitments when you resign your lonliness and design your life with someone whom you dont know very well(talking about the arranged marriages happening in India...)..If you are already in a relationship and getting married, that commitment is extended companionship....and I guesss nobody is sacred to do the latter....

I cannot say nething about your second part....

The last unrelated paragraph..got me back to some memories of the past...I can say one or the other day everybody in living away from their parents miss them a lot...

Ardra said...

a very endearing post...
that image of u'r dad waiting outside did something to me- and nicer that u remember his gestures...

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