The door of the labour room opened and a nurse clad in white with gloves on hand called “Anyone for Lalitha?”Even as I stood up to enter, Lalitha’s mom rushed in. I too followed her but stood at a distance. The nurse said “Mami, you have a grandson. Lalita is fine but a little drowsy. Come in and see the baby.”
The nurse gave in her hands the small baby wrapped in white sheet. It was too delicate and thin with the eyes shut. The tiny fingers were closed. I could get a glimpse of the baby. My mother-in- law hugged the baby close to her chest even as she wiped the tears from her eyes. The nurse asked her “How is the baby? It has a very good complexion and plenty of hair on its tiny head. Whom has he taken after? I don’t think the baby resembles his mother.”The old lady said “The baby looks just like his father.” I was immensely happy as I could not see the baby at close quarters. There were other nurses cleaning up and attending on Lalitha. The nurse took back the baby and said that she would call her after an hour. My mother-in-law went out of the room.
I lingered there for some more time. The nurses didn’t take notice of me and were busy with their duties. I saw Lalitha asleep with a trace of smile in her face. I didn’t want to disturb her. I went near her and held her hand softly. We had been waiting for this happy moment for a long time. She longed for a baby boy and I wanted a girl. She was lucky to get what she had wanted and must be very pleased. We loved each other very much with each one trying to please the other. She wanted her son to become like me, tall and handsome as she always said. There was no sign of Lalitha opening her eyes and was probably under the influence of sedative. I had a close look at the baby who will be the apple of our eyes. We had discussed even before we knew that a boy would be born about his future endlessly. As the nurses were getting tense with the chief doctor coming in, I quietly slipped out of the room and sat a few rows behind my mother-in-law.
The nurse came out after a few minutes with a form in hand and approached the old lady. She asked “What is the name of the father? Has he not come? Where does he work? We must fill in all the details?” My mother-in-law took her sari end to her eyes to wipe even as she was sobbing. I said loudly, “Hey,Nurse, I am the father. I am here.” She did not seem to hear. The old lady said to the nurse even as all the visitors in the lounge heard her ‘The baby’s father was killed in the last week’s Mumbai massacre. He was in the police. Lalitha does not know yet. We have not broken the news to her as yet.” There was a stunned silence and disbelief even as I was screaming “I am here. Why is it no one taking note of me.”
I get scared now and am worried for my dear Lalitha.