You remember how the 90’s hindi movies would show leading ladies turning into snakes and back to the human form to protect/avenge their partners and how the killer’s face would reflect in the eyes of this snake lady?
I grew up to believe it to be true. I grew up to believe that it was possible to memorize faces in such a manner that it would reflect in your eyes so that the other person could see it. Yes, stupid. Yes, I know.
It was so deeply engrained that when I was being moved to the OT, I asked the parents and the husband to etch my baby’s face in their eyes like a snake lady would do. “Uff, yeh ladki pagal hai!” the parents said in disbelief while the husband flashed his phone saying the snake lady didn’t have it then.
I was asked by a well informed nurse if I knew how I would be operated. I nodded, mostly nervous and scared to death. This is what death must feel like, I thought as they moved me to a super chilly OT with atleast 6 people in there, the only familiar face being my doctor’s.
After indulging in meaningless banter with the doctors about how I spoke impeccable bengali, and a few needle pricks later, my lower body was numb. I knew what they had done; tricked me into numbness. Having loosely tied my hands and drawing a green curtain in front of me, the doctors began their dance.
I could only hear the clanking of steel. This is what you call pin drop silence, I thought. The doctor who administered anesthesia, stood by my head, finally said “It’s done.” and moments later I heard my baby cry.
Even before they could get the baby to me, I knew it was a boy. I had known all along, call it what you will, my gut, my intuition.
After a good 20 minutes, I saw him. I touched him and I cried. I kept thinking how the parents and the husband would react. He was all kinds of beautiful. This little monster had turned my womb into Jurassic park. I decided to call him T-Rex for the time being.
The next few hours were hell. I kept falling in and out of sleep, groaning in pain as the husband wiped my tears and thanked a zillion people in different dialects over the phone, “Shukriya” “Shukraan”, “Thank you”, “Dhanyawad”. He could have thanked me for once!
The nurses marched in the next morning, demanding that I take a walk. In absolute disbelief, I looked at the husband who silently stared back at me. I tried to enter into a negotiation with Madam Nurse, “Bahut dard hua to aap mujhe morphine doge?”
“Doctor bole to bilkul de denge.” she tried to trick me.
I tried a different approach citing a fragile looking nurse, “Aap mujhe sambhal nahi paoge, aap khud hi itne weak lag rahe ho” I told the nurse fearing that I’d have a great fall in the hands of these lanky ladies.
“Ma’am, if you don’t take a walk today, we’ll have to keep you a few more days.”
Now here’s the thing; a hospital is a hospital no matter how swanky, and I didn’t want to be bed ridden to say the least. So, after a lot of cajoling, I got up and set foot on the ground. At that moment I hated everyone, the husband, the most. “You did this to me, you get me morphine”, I cried in pain. After the torture was over and the nurses had left, I felt victorious and lay in bed.
The husband after having planted a kiss, asked, “Yeh morphine kaise pata tumhe?”
“War movies mein dekha hai. Marne se pehle soldiers ko dete hai, to ease the pain”. The husband rolled his eyes, picked up the phone and ordered a delicious sounding sandwich while all I was allowed was a glass of water.