|...more to escape the fury...|
|The Storm ravanged...|
My mother's mango trees that were heavily laden with ready to ripen huge mangoes are nearly bare now, which is a pity really, as I was so looking forward for a taste of the fruit right from the bough , instead of from the cold storage. "Evil eye of the servants took them" my mother would mumble . Those juicy mangoes have always been the eye of the storm between a lot of contenders, before they perish each year to the raging skies, and to be picked up raw for pickling by the passersby.
But this year, not to be defeated completely, I picked them up , baskets full of 'em, and drove a hard bargain with the neighbor who makes delicious sweet mango chutney : she makes the chutney with my mangoes ( I am the next in line of heir-ship since the real owner , my mother is in Canada for while ) and I get half of it . So dear folks, I am now sitting pretty with two large jars of yummilicious mango chutney, to dip my fingers into!
That said , I had to tell you that as I was resting on one sultry summer afternoon , I had an epiphany about my own being. I realized that I am here because of an intuition! Now this is an interesting tale which I must relate, because its really worth sharing with you all how you nearly missed having me here ; had it not been for the intuition.
My paternal grandmother was married off at the age of five to my granddad , who must have been a lot older than she was at that time , since that is the way, it used to be till about three score decades ago in India ( you could put a baby in the lap of a bridegroom and tell him that it was his bride) . Now being the landlords that they were, my ancestors were bound to fall into family feuds , which would result into falling out and then falling away. So not so long after her wedding, the young bride and her groom were sent hither with their respective share of land and wealth, and set to establish their own property and reap their own harvest.
Being alone, and coping with responsibility was a hard task for the child bride , who having reached puberty got a big belly in place of her periods.
Now let me digress here, to let you know, that till, not very long ago, all births in India took place at home. The modus operandi was to make a squatting seat by placing two heaps of three tiered bricks beside one another, make the woman climb on the platform placing her feet on both the tiers , and there was a gap between the two platforms. Then they would place a small charpoy , standing on its one side , in front of her, to hold on to, as she pushed while in labor. The birth would soon take place as the baby emerged and fell within the gap in between.
So my granny's first born was a bitsy baby girl , who barely survived her minuscule self , perhaps because being the lesser mortal (female) she was less prone to being mortal.After that, there was an array of still births to follow, all boys. Thus having produced a string of seven tiny corpses; while the eighth one landed in the cul de sac , he lay very still, like all the previous little ones had. As the mid -wife's moan rose a wailing once again , my granny had an intuition. Even before she set her eyes upon the baby boy, she had an intuition, that he was alive. But no amount of patting could move the inert baby to cry.
So she did something strange.She got up and went to a niche in the wall, where she kept her sewing equipment. From there she took out a needle and threaded it ; took it to the baby, and pierced its nose using the thread to ring it ; and lo behold the baby started wailing and was alive and well after that !
The baby grew up to be father of me and my siblings later on.
And I keep wondering, what if they had passed him on for passed away too! I wouldn't be here.I also feel disturbed to think, that perhaps some of the babies that they buried before him, might not have been dead at all since they never went through the piercing process...