Here’s a recollection of all the moments when I felt either great happiness or unbearable pain; an inexplicable fear or extreme disbelief or even the times of complete shock & horror. In short, my “Oh My God” moments or the “I Can’t Believe It” moments.
When we sighted a majestic tiger near a watering hole in a forest reserve near
Mysore. When we almost ran into a mother elephant & her cub en-route to Hunsur.
When I sat on a camel for the 1st time & felt the huge lifts in the air throughout the rocking ride. When I learnt that I had got the 1st rank in M.A
When the nurse held my just-born baby in her hands & showed me a glimpse of her face.
When I read in Grazia (May’10) that women in Ghana die in childbirth for lack of money & hospitals & doctors. Urine samples are kept in hand gloves. Such abject poverty makes your heart pray, ‘God please help them’.
When I was air-borne on my maiden flight from Hyderabad. The memory of your 1st take-off stays with you. When my letters were published in Femina(7 Apr'10) & Grazia(Mar'10) & won the gift hampers.
When I read Mills & Boon for the 1st time in high school. When I visited Akshardham in Delhi.
When I watched the horrific scene in Bandit Queen where she is gang-raped. I had gone to watch the film, ALONE, to Diana theatre in Udupi. No one would come with me to see the highly controversial ‘bad’ film & as usual, I of course, had to see it. There were only 3 girls. 2 medical students from Manipal had dared to come too. We sat huddled together in the hall. When i felt the movement of my baby in my womb for the first time.
When I looked up (quite literally) at Sathya during the wedding rite where we offer prayers to the sun god & I was barefoot & I turned to see him & realized I was really craning my neck. His head seemed out there in the sky. He is so tall!! (he is 6'3) I remember saying it in my head. Something I hadn’t noticed in the 3 months of our courtship; probably because I was always in heels then.
When Tan, who was around 1 ½ years at the time, saw me crying & wiped my eyes. I felt so loved. When, on my 1st flight landing in Bombay, the sight of the slums, just meters below, ripped my heart apart. The plane almost touches the roofs of the ramshackle houses & if you’d put your hands out of the window, I bet you’d even touch the walls. The irony is, in our cities, while there are men who earn a meager Rs 100 after an endless day’s back-breaking labor, a single radial tyre of Amitabh Bachchan’s Lexus costs Rs 2.5 lakhs. In India, utter poverty & consummate luxury live together; a string of jhopad pattis right in the backyard of a high-rise building.
When Tan was 2 1/2 months old & around 2:00 in the middle of the deep, dark night, minutes after I’d fed her, I saw milk oozing out of her nose. I didn’t know what was happening to my baby.
When I visited Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari for the 1st time while still in school & felt the ocean breeze against my skin. It felt like heaven on earth. I haven’t seen Kashmir, so I don’t know any better.