'It's a girl' the nurse informed us. It was an anti climax of sorts. Mom and I were fervently wishing that Khyati would give birth to a baby girl. Sis and Khyati wanted a boy. Now here I was holding the little baby in my arms, I had prayed to God it be a girl and girl it was. She had been born without a fuss, just as we would have wanted. Maybe it was all the adrenalin in my system that had now drained me of all emotion. Happy? Yes. Delirious? No. Too benumbed for that.
About the second moment:The baby was less than a month old when I used to wrap her tightly
in a cotton cloth as many Indians do. It was evening time and I was pacing about in the room, holding her, the baby's head nestled against my shoulder. It was an exquisite feeling: realising that I was actually a father, she was my child, our child! That I had fathered a child at an advanced age (I had crossed forty at that time, Khyati thirty nine) made me value it more. For some reason, my connection to Diti was its most intense at that moment. I felt blissful holding the beautiful baby.
Life was never the same again after Diti's birth. I sensed I had to be more responsible, caring and sensitive to the family's needs.
Meanwhile, how swiftly the nine years have flown by is simply amazing! Watching her grow has been a source of joy and pride. Her first step, first words, her eagerly trying to form sentences....and my waiting for when she could have a meaningful conversation with me..
Vacations and activities have become centered around Diti. As I have been working from home since a number of years and my work hours are flexible, we get a lot of time to spend with each other. Being a Bipolar, I sometimes wonder if the child misses the life she would have otherwise spent with a 'normal' father? I comfort myself by reassuring myself that at least I am trying my very best to be a good father. She is not a demanding child, though. We have a playful, fun filled relationship. If I'm separated from her for even a few days, it's tough to bear.
I am sharing what I had posted on Facebook when Diti was on a long vacation last month and work pressures meant I could not join them. These words sum up my bonding with her.
Missing you Diti.
You and Khyati have been away just for a week,
yet the week seems stretched like a year
Have never been separated from you beyond a few days
Can't wait till you come back next week
Although I know you are having the time of your life,
Playing with snow which you have never set your eyes upon!
Away from the summer heat, surrounded by icy peaks
Your sweet voice on the phone is no solace
Craving to hear stories of excitement and fun!
Just can't wait for you, darling
those few days till I can hug you to my heart's content.
Until then, play on with the snow...
Thank you Khyati for a gift I'll ever cherish, thank you Diti, you made me a father.
Happy Father's Day!!