19 years ago…
The Engine whistled and the train pulled to a stop. I got down from my compartment to be met with a crowd of people who wanted to wish me well – for I had a Daughter! My First Born!
It was just like my best dream – I have a daughter? I am a father? “Holy Cow”! When did that happen! I now have two girls in my life! Thank the Gods! Both are well. Healthy and happy.
Just a little more than a year ago I was a bachelor courting a girl. We used to write to each other, wherever we were. Including a dark and cold November evening in Belgium when I went to the nearest Post Office to post my letter to her. The lady behind the counter was surprised at the address! “India! Wow! I have never sent a letter to India! Who is She?” 🙂 She knew I was writing to a girl! I must have blushed because she started laughing, winked at me and said “She will be waiting for this one! I will send it right away! Best of luck!” I came away befuddled. A middle aged, white, Belgian woman could take one look at my letter and my brown face and realize that I was sending a letter to the girl I loved! Wow! Humanity. Perhaps all young men look the same when they are thinking of their girls 🙂
They took me home to my in-law’s place. And when I entered the house, my dear wife placed my daughter in my hands. She was so small! I could hold her in my two palms! And she smiled at me! My little baby smiled at me! How did she know I was her Dad?
I know that every father goes through this moment – when they hold their first born in their hands and wonder – “Do I deserve such happiness?”
Diapers. Sleepless nights. Badly sleep deprived, overworked, cranky wife. Years roll on. The wife tells me I used to snore while she rocked my baby to sleep 🙁
And a pram. With my little girl in it. Evenings, pushing her around the apartment complex while the neighbors called out to her – “Mamli!”. And she, the darling, giggled back at them and waved.
I haven’t measured my chest before and after – but there is definitely an increase in chest size! She is mine. That lovely little girl, smiling at everyone. With those dimples!
And the bed time readings from the Amar Chitra Kathas. The very first one I read to her was “Sakshi Gopal” on the very first night she slept all alone in her own room and my wife cried all night. Since then I have read each and every Amar Chitra Katha to her. Bought them one by one to read to her.
Last week, she traveled the length of the country – from Manipal to IIT Kanpur on their invitation and won a competition there!
Don’t ask me about my new Chest Size. Am afraid to try on my old shirts and the cost of replacements.