|Thank you, Google.|
It is that exact time in my life when people have started poring over my stomach to look for signs of a second pregnancy. After all, my first child is now going to be four! And even Doordarshan has known since times Krishi-Darshan that just like the ideal gap between two saplings is 3 feet, the one between children is the same number, in years. While I feel intelligent enough to draw myriad pleasant-thorny parallels between children and plants, wrap those inferences into a theorem and publish them as natty derivations, I am yet to figure out how to keep those eyes from gazing intently at my belly. Or those stranger-getting-weirder mouths from pronouncing, ‘It’s high time now!’
High time it is, indeed, that I claim my uterus and its neighbours, my husband’s similarly located organs and my family’s personal choices as exclusively my own. Oh, add my fertility (waning as it may be, main lut gayi) to that list too!
That family-planning is the community’s business is the single greatest truth that drives the generation which has been-there-popped-theirs’ and packed up the nether regions in chaste panties and briefs for reproductive use in another life now. (Thank God! Some genes need to go dormant till the dinosaurs walk back!) But that doesn’t mean well-wishing minds will jump into the noise-cancelling well just when you want them to, which is exactly the second they ask ‘What about number two now? This is the best time!’ One would imagine they mean it’s a good time to go shit, but a few years into motherhood and you know they mean … well, shit still. Regardless that they barely know you. Oblivious that they may be intruding into private territory. And ignorant of the expression they make when they ask such silly questions – one eyebrow raised, half-a-smile and fleeting glances at your spouse which may want you to scratch their faces with pitch forks.
Such violent thoughts seep into your cherubic minds as would shock you, but probably not more than being asked in McDonalds over an extended family-cum-friends birthday party and across a table-for-twelve in a hall full of din – ‘Your first child is going to school. Are you trying for the second one now?’ Around you heads turn to look (often at your stomach) and on your lips are the words – ‘Yes, madam, I am, with my hand on my softy and his on his Maharaja Mac right this second. Demi-Gods have been born in such super ways one never knows, right?’ But you just smile, shake the image of those hair-spa heads into the fryer and convince your mind that some murders will be in self-defence. Plus, God helps those who help themselves. Amen.
To be asked ‘when next?’ by those you don’t feel akin to is like hearing the sound a fork makes when your tod’s teeth rub against it while having a banana, again and again. But to be advised to ‘have one, one more’ is like seeing the same banana-infested fork being shoved up your nose. These being my exact feelings.
So, what’s my plan?
Maybe I can carry an 18”x18” cushion and push it in my jumper whenever my radar catches the signal of an individual with an inverted red triangle (c.f. GoI) for a mouth. What fun it would be. ‘Second trimester, aunty ji. Cancel your Europe trip and stay ready for an invite to the baby shower soon. Theme – Stone Age.’
Perhaps, a better idea would be to ask the experienced to speak up in the same gathering they advise you so politely in - ‘Do you think a particular rare position is conducive to producing a healthy second child? Planetary, planetary position of course. Your pandit ji should know, nahi?’
On a day when I feel totally vanquished I will just remind the tied and dyed kitty party that ‘You know, the world’s oldest mother to conceive naturally was 59 years old. And you are way beyond natural, so why not try it yourself, hain ji?’ All this with one eyebrow raised, half-a-smile and fleeting glances at the revered uncle jis, of course.
Now, any questions?