It was 24th April 1991. And in the unbelievable summer heat, my Superwoman Aai decided to travel to Madha (Solapur) with her two tiny daughters. And she chose the trusted Indian Railways as her mode of transportation.
Reason? Her life was about to change forever!
At that time my Ajji was already juggling a lot of tasks. Ajoba was in Madha and so were Ajji’s parents (my great grandparents). So my Ajji was not only managing her duties as a Nurse but also as a daughter. Like all important events in life, Pradeep Mama was present for this one too. And then Ajji’s sister was visiting as well. To add to this family get together, came Aai, Chaitrali and Nupuri!
Then came the 1st of May – Ajoba’s birthday. Since Ajoba liked celebrations and since the family was all together, they had a small bash at home. But as the celebrations came to an end and the night grew closer, is when it all began.
Searing pain! But my Aai sustained it all, only for love. The hospital was right across Ajji’s house so Ajji took Aai there. And after enduring pain for what seemed an eternity, at 2:23 AM everyone heard me cry for the very first time.
That’s right! I chose literally the middle of the night to make an entry – what can I say, I’m a drama queen. I guess that’s why I am a nocturnal person. Ofcourse Ajji was right there through it all, right by my Aai’s side. I was a healthy baby. Although some would’ve preferred a boy (third time’s a charm they say), there I was. My Aai’s little bundle of joy. She was so happy that she could’ve cared less about what anyone else thought.
The next morning everyone came to see me – Chaitrali and Nupuri in the lead. Chaitrali was jumping with joy. The thought of a new baby in the house made her extremely happy. Nupuri chose to peep at me from behind Chaitrali (Nupuri was a peeper. She would hide behind walls or people and just peep. She was that shy). A couple of days later Baba came as well for a fleeting visit.
Aai and I came back to Ajji’s home within the week. The whole house was turned upside down. If the mad frenzy of family was not enough, there was a baby in the house – again! Mama being the sweetheart he was, took care of Chaitrali and Nupuri so that Aai could focus on me. And in his absence, Ajoba would fill in. Ajji was running pillar to post, taking care of literally everything else to make sure her daughter could take care of her daughter (Moms are amazing. God knows where they get this strength from).
And if all this was not enough, there it came – the storm. A storm like never before. Such strong winds that it shook all of Madha. Everything that wasn’t a permanent structure was literally gone with the wind. Thankfully our house and the hospital were safe. But trees, crops, tea stalls, huts – everything was destroyed. A storm that Madha had never witnessed before – that too in May! I guess the Universe was hinting something. But all my Aai cared about at that point was the well being of her daughters.
Though in the following years, my actions opened my Aai’s eyes to the fact that I WAS the storm! But back then, all she felt was pure love for her little toofan (just like a storm, I was unplanned and a surprise for my parents and just like a storm, I turned their lives upside down).
Everyone still teases me about the storm. But my birth story is much more than that. It is about the true strength of a woman. Strength that my Ajji showed – managing everything around Aai to ensure that I came into this world hassle free. And the amazing courage my Aai showed, when at 9 months pregnant, she travelled in a train with 2 little girls all by herself, only for my sake. Kept me safe through the heat and the storm. And got me back to Pune when I was barely 2 months old so that she could get back to taking care of the family.
Women truly are amazing. And more amazing are moms. The lengths they go to for their children is just mind boggling.
Aai, here’s a tiny thank you from your toofan for being so amazing, strong and wonderful. Here’s my birth story on your birthday!