Chapter 19: Uprooted

My home in Delhi was a delightful little haven, a real life version of a poem I wrote as a teenager. It was cosy, compact, surrounded by open spaces and greenery, and bird songs in the morning, full of light and air, and, most importantly, full of love. And peace.

And then I had to let it go.

October 1, 2012

A month after the birth of our son, we pack up every single belonging so lovingly placed into our home, and head into a life that would test us to the hilt. It wasn’t like everything happened overnight. We knew, for the past six months or so, that we’d have to vacate this house and look for another one.  And we had looked at several in Delhi. But fate had other plans. Sajjad got an offer from Oman, and to cut a long story short, he’d be moving there in a couple of months’ time. I was supposed to stay in Aligarh till then, and after a couple months more, I’d be joining him in Oman—at least, that’s what they promised.

Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? I thought so too.

Oct 5, 2012

3:00 a.m.

I am at my in laws place in Aligarh. Hasan is in my lap. Every time I try to put him down he bawls his head off. And I can’t understand why. I had, in the past month, trained him to at least sleep for two hours at a stretch, so I could sleep in two hour bursts. But moving from his home seems to have derailed him too. I get not a single wink all night…even as the entire household sleeps peacefully.

I resent that. I hate it. I hate that I’m the only one awake here with this awful nuisance while the whole damn house peacefully snores. I hate that this baby goes to sleep during the day when I just can’t ! I hate that there is an incessant stream of guests all day who don’t care a fig that this is the only time that I could have gone to sleep.

And most of all, I hate it when *some* people who had chewed my head off lecturing me to have a baby watch me smugly when I cuddle my child, and declare :

“There now. See? You should hand me an award. Weren’t we right in telling you to have a baby straightaway? See how much you love him? Didn’t we tell you that you’d instantly love him?”

As if. As if I wouldn’t have loved him had he been born a couple of years later? As if I could do anything but love my son? As if not loving him was even an option?

And. As if loving him would erase the pain of being separated from every damn thing I had dreamt of—My Dream Man, My Dream House, My Dream Job?

The fact that I did love my son didn’t obviate the other fact that I was not a willing martyr. I wouldn’t say that I would willingly do it all for my son. I hated, positively hated the sacrifices I had to make for him. And here all they cared about was that they were right. That once you become a mother nothing else matters.

Sorry, it does. Very much.