Ayansh – Birth Story

January 24, 2015 Leave a comment

21st Jan, around 04:30 AM, Pooja, my wife, woke me up and asked me to get ready at the earliest to head out for hospital. She was beaming with excitement, and had a glow on her face, which I had never seen all through her pregnancy period. She was already a few days past her due date and I could easily see that a sense of restlessness had started enveloping her in last few days. She was tormented. But then she was joyous too, thinking she was now going to end this 9 months journey any time soon. The ecstasy of giving a natural birth had overcome the pre labour pain she was going through.

And then what time unfolded, was truly an unprecedented tale we ever witnessed. Now the wait begins… We mistook pre labour pain for it might end soon with blossoming a new life into this beautiful world. Hours passed…. There was no sign of active labour. I started losing my patience when my wife needed it most. It was afternoon, 21st January, when I muttered to my wife that I missed an important day at office for nothing. She must have hated me from the core of her heart. There have many occasions when I put my work over anything and everything and later repented. With hindsight, I should have never done this to her. I now curse myself for doing this to her.

Anyway, wait continued and she passed 24 hours in pre labour pain. Around 4 AM on 22nd January, I woke up to rasping heavy breathing sound of my wife. Thanks to Healthy Mother Care and Dr. Vijaya, I didn’t take long to understand that my wife was managing active labour pains through fast breathing. I was happy to see the effect of 6 weeks of Lamaze (child birth preparation) classes at Healthy Mother. Those classes truly ingrained some elements of a gynaecologist in me. By the time doctor examined my wife, at around 06:00 AM, she was 6 centimetres dilated. She was half way through. Contractions were now more frequent. The glow on my wife’s face only became brighter as the time passed. She was going through the labour first time, but she never appeared naive.

I guess baby was even more excited to get a glimpse of this world. So far, baby had a constant healthy heart beat until now. At 06:30 AM, 22nd January, it appeared baby would be delivered maximum by 11:00 – 11:30 AM. Pooja was in labour, contractions were 5-6 minutes apart and pain intensity was high. I was trying to keep her attention away from pain. We both were speculating the time of birth, it started with 10 AM in the morning, soon it was pushed to 4 PM, then 6 then 8 but there was no sign of when this would all end.

By 09:00 PM, 22nd Jan, Pooja had started looking dull, the smile on her face started fading away. Without sounding sadistic, this was what I and Healthy Mother team were expecting to see. This clearly meant she was inching closer to delivery. 24 hours of pre labour and 16 plus hours of active labour had tormented her. She was stagnating in an abyss of pain. Then Dr. Vijaya noticed something unusual with baby’s heartbeat. It was fluctuating between 170-190 and occasionally it crossed 190. In last 16 hours of active labour, Pooja dilated probably 2 centimetres more than what was observed in the morning. More 40 hours of pre and active labour pain combined had probably stressed out the baby in womb and that is when doctor decided to get the baby out at the earliest. She focused on first to bring baby’s heart beat within a normal range before taking actions required to get the baby out. Within a few minutes she managed to get heart beat down under 145. By 09:30 PM, Pooja was induced with pain and Healthy Mother staff started assisting her do certain exercises to help her cervix fully dilated. Doctor kept a consistent check on baby’s heartbeat and ensured it remained within the normal range. Meanwhile, my wife was slowly moving to pushing stage.

And then, a ceaselessly long pushing saga started at around 10:00 PM. Contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart, but they were stronger than ever accompanied by severe leg cramps. It was only now, after 40 plus hours of initial labour pains, she could feel significant rectal pressure, probably the baby was low enough in the pelvis. Wait….. when each labour stage appeared to last an era, how could this have ended so soon. Baby was not as low as it should have been after such a long labour. Somehow it was not coming down beyond a certain point. I am not sure about my wife, but I had kind of given up hopes for a normal delivery; but when I looked at the doctor, her confidence provided me a huge respite. It was phenomenal to see how she was motivating my wife to push harder each time. Probably by 2:00 AM, on 23rd January, we first saw a glimpse of baby’s head. It took another 2 hours and baby finally came out at 04:07 AM. It was a baby boy. We were taken a back after realizing that the weight of the baby was 4.5 KG and 56 centimetre tall; one of the two tallest babies born in last 6 years of Healthy Mother’s history. I couldn’t believe what my eyes had just seen. A new life coming into my arms, through the pains that my wife endured for hours and days, only made me more respectful to her and all other women out there.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Healthy Mother team for the tremendous support they provided, and my wife would definitely echo my voice. I still remember the first appointment we had at one of the finest hospitals in the city when we were told that my wife’s desire of a natural birth would be a distant dream, especially after a first C-section. When I look back, I feel so relieved that we switched to birth centre just in time. I bet, had it been any other hospital, this would have been a clear case of Caesarean section.


I am Malala – review

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

My first book of the year and unarguably it was worth reading. This is one of those books which give you a plethora of factual information which drew minimal global attention because of the way they were handled by galactic politicians and bureaucrats. More than three-forth of the book is a narration of events in Swat valley, Pakistan, all through the first decade of this century. As the book progresses, you learn more about Pakistan Talibs and the havoc they wreaked in the valley. The story builds up slowly and takes you through how once a beautiful and picturesque valley turned into a valley of death and sorrow. But no complaints about why this book is more about the Talibs, the Swat valley or Pakistan politics; because Malala would not be the Malala as the world knows if these elements never existed.

What leaves you flabbergasted is the way a father raises his daughter, which is very unlikely for a place as described in the book. A place where girls cannot be seen outside their home, unless they are accompanied by their husband, brother or father; a place where girls are not allowed to speak in public and abstained from education; a place where girls are only meant to cook, deliver baby and take care of family and daily chores; it is amazing to know how an audacious father broke all the rules and defied the darkness created by Taliban in raising his daughter. Probably most of the parents in progressive and advanced world lack the attitude and reformist ideology that Malala’s father had. Not an instance was missed to acknowledge the efforts that Malala’s parents put in to infuse in her a passion and awareness towards education. The way this book describes “Talibanization” in Swat region, you will be taken unawares by how Malala’s father encouraged her for public speaking and interviews to spread awareness of women’s oppression in the region around the globe. Malala recounts dreaded days and nights her family and friends spent a midst fights between terrorists and army, schools being bombed and demolished every day, people getting beheaded in streets, public whippings and frequent death threats. The story continues to roll after she was attacked, and goes on to scrawl her complex surgical procedures,  rehabilitation and Nobel prize nomination.

This book also attempts to kill the conspiracy theories going around that Malala was never shot by Talibs and this was an impeccable plan which was hatched to create an icon for west to embrace. Many believe that she was a role model for children in Pakistan, but they feel that this book maligned her image and made her look like a tool in the hands of west to defame Islam and countries which follow Islamic laws. There are many who believe that because she was picked by BBC and helping many international agencies in their campaign against Taliban, she was treated differently than many other girls who are shot or killed daily in Taliban dominated areas. I am not well researched in this area and hence would refrain myself on commenting this. Thus, no wonder why this book is banned in most parts of the Pakistan.

This book is in all sense an inspirational story of a girl who continues to overcome numerous obstacles in her way created by obtrusive and orthodox society, politics, war and other factors. Along with giving a view of international conflicts, this is a story which would enforce your faith in your capabilities and make you believe that when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it, a quote from The Alchemist.

Categories: Books Tags: , , ,


November 8, 2013 1 comment

There couldn’t be a better day than your birthday to publish next in series “Letter to Darsh”. Happy birthday mate, you just turned 4.

Taking care of any celebrations event planning, has always been frightening to me. You must understand how your mom took care of making this day eventful for you with a busy job, a hectic life and a dull and grounded husband post a foot surgery. You should know that more than anyone else, it’s your Mommy who is most excited for your birthday party. You were fast asleep in your cozy bed when your mom and I were staring at the clock with gimlet eye till it turned 12:00 AM. And then your mom started showering you with her kisses but that didn’t deter you to come out of your hibernation. I also followed the suit, but to no avail. Never seen her so excited, she smiled, gazed at you for a couple of minutes and slipped into bed, while I was looking for my painkillers.

Going a couple of hours back, when your birthday gift was being finalized, we were confused as to what to give. We asked you and you responded ” I don’t know” and then you thought for a while before retracting your statement and said while pointing at some old toy, “I don’t want anything thing, I already have one”. It just warmed our hearts and made us feel the magic of that moment; not because you didn’t want anything but because of the purity of your innocence. The gleaming had started long ago when you started counting down the days for cake-cutting on your birthday. All these actions going around were fueling a spark in your eyes. We were surprised to see how instead of asking anything for yourself, you were keener to know what we would be distributing as return gifts to your friends at school.

I tried to annoyed you saying that we would not celebrate your birthday as I won’t be able to move due to my recent surgery. This trick didn’t work and you calmly suggested me to stay back at home and rest, while you would go out with your mom to celebrate your birthday. I was flabbergasted and fell short of words to respond you.

I know dude, very soon you will grow up. You will have your own liking and disliking, you will want to gain independence, make your own rules and would start developing un-comfort under auspices of your parents. Till then, we would want to cherish every moment of your innocent childhood and treasure them till eternity.

Letter to Tendulkar

October 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Probably every child in our country, when starts exploring outdoor games, picks up bat and ball as first toy. And I was certainly not an exception. No wonder why people say cricket runs through Indians’ in their blood and veins. I can’t recall, but I guess I started watching cricket matches sometime after 1992 world cup and before your first one day international century in September 1994 against Australia. Now when I hear about your retirement from all format of game, it strikes me how old have I been. I grew up watching your piercing shots leaving the field standing; I grew up watching your stature growing; I grew up seeing world’s best attackers getting indolent in front of you; I grew up hearing balling legends confessing how you scare them in their dreams; and I grew up seeing things changing around me, while you being a constant in Team India. I witnessed you scaling a peak after the other. I saw you obliging your team against the greats like Ambrose, Walsh, Saqlain, Shoaib, Akram, Warne, Lee and McGrath. I could not even realize when did you percolate into my subconscious, all I know, soon after I started following cricket, I associated my happiness and sorrow with you being on the ground. I know many have written much about you, and there is no adjective left that has never been used for you, but still wanted to speak my heart out, representing those who were born in 80’s, what you meant to us. I am sure, no one can discern what you were to this countrymen more than the generation born in 80’s. Seeing you growing from a teenager to a cult was in itself a satiating spiritual journey for someone who believes in a religion called “cricket”.

How can I forget the 90’s, an epoch when people started considering you above team India. Your game would bring joy to millions of us even if the entire team India was ragged by the opponents. We would turn our television sets on to watch your game and would turn it off if you got out cheaply. Seeing you losing your wicket was no less than a fear of an impending doom. I still remember those anxious sleepless childhood nights following my good school results but your dismal performances.

Can’t recall how many times you were the reason to bring smile on my face, no matter how sad I would have been. One good innings of yours, would reduce tensions and animosity between hundreds of people. I can’t count number of instances when friends and foes would unite to discuss about your game, each time your scored well, during my school and college days. Every century you scored would become the hottest topic of discussion next day. We would discuss about each run scored and shot you hit. You gave this diverse country one religion to unite. You thrilled the entire nation, every time you walked onto the pitch.

As I walk down the memory lane, wondrous scenes open up before my eyes; be it winning Titan Cup in 1996, 1998 Sharjah cup triumph, 1999 world cup century immediately after your father’s death, match winning 98 against Pakistan in 2003 world cup, surpassing Gavaskar’s 35 test tons record, receiving a bow from Gavaskar after scoring one-day international double ton and the list goes endless. It is hard to imagine something that you have never experienced and so is your retirement. Having seen you around for the last two decades, never flashed in head that what starts, ends, and you were not a constant of life. Any memory of yours is a priceless treasure for people of this country.

India shining

May 2, 2013 1 comment

Another feather in cap. It was indeed a heartwarming moment to hear that Asian Development Bank warned their delegates visiting India not to show bare legs or wear short dresses when in India as this could hurt Indian sensibilities and may lead to sexual harassment. So far, I had only heard our politicians suggesting women to be appropriately dressed to avoid inciting the incidents by dressing, in their definition, vulgarly. I was really moved seeing so much concern for our feelings by any foreign agency. My heart fills with joy with a mere thought of how well we have created awareness about our sentiments and outlook towards our women in the world.

The advisory posted on ADB website further elaborates on their anxiety about our sentiments. Note mentions that trousers are acceptable, but shorts and short skirts are offensive to many. What a word of wisdom! Isn’t it? If not offensive to others, such clothes can definitely cause accidents on Indian roads. Considering the fact that Indians have an immaculate eye to appreciate beauty, it is impossible to avoid turning head while driving if a girl showcases her tall, lanky, long legs. And if an accident happens, you would not waste a moment accusing the driver, escaping the root cause analysis to identify the main culprit. Such a step by ADB will not only save hundreds on the       road but help our police and judicial system to have some peace of mind.

What we can’t see here is ADB’s hidden concern about India being branded as a country of diseases like dengue and malaria. While visiting India, mosquitoes always come up as a big concern. How could mosquitoes grip their intense desire to feast on exposed and swanky legs? Trousers and pants can actually keep doctors away from these delegates on their trip to India. Shouldn’t we be grateful to ADB’s thoughtfulness that is doing an impeccable work at India’s brand management?

The advisory note on the website has something more that can actually make you sobbing with a thought that can somebody on the earth be so caring and compassionate. Note says “You would be better off avoiding public displays of affection such as cuddling and kissing each other in public (not just for gays). Kissing and embracing are regarded in India as part of sex: do not do them in public. It is not even a good idea for couples to hold hands”. In a country like India, where women are worshiped in the form Goddess Durga, Saraswati, Parvati and many more, how can we tolerate someone cuddling and kissing them in public? Do you think the great keepers of our culture and ideology, Shiv Sainiks, RSS and Bajrang Dal would sit on one’s hand? Not to be surprised if these organizations later want ADB to contest in next general election with their unconditional support.

ADB might as well receive support from a certain sect of sadhus from India who have a fundamental right to strip and shed their clothes anywhere and anytime as part of their holy path. They would really appreciate if someone curbs their competitors.

Respect comes from the bottom of heart for ADB and kudos to people for making India shining.


The Second Wife (“Nirmala”) – Book Review

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

This novel is not for those who expect an element of entertainment from reading this book. The genre is quite dark and somber and may give you grinch that would steal all your excitement. That doesn’t mean this book is not worth reading but it is expected you to have a sense of appreciation for literary work accentuating callous social issues eating lives of weak and feeble.

Premchand has nicely woven the lives of different characters in the book. It is quite interesting to read how a small incidence associated with someone actually impacts the lives of all others. Apart from sending a social message in an assertive way, this book can be considered as reflection of Indian society back in the day.

Though the story of “The Second wife”, an English translation of Premchand’s “Nirmala” by David Rubin, is set in the pre-independence era, it still seems to be so fresh that you might relate various instances in the book to modern society in bits and parts. At times I found Premchand a bit careless with time frame set-up like in a span of 3 years, a character described as a student earlier, is later announced as a successful doctor with wife and a son. This story is about how families perished because of an unequal and imperfect wedding match. The female protagonist, Nirmala, was leading a comfortable and cheerful life in a big joint family with her father being sole earner. But there was something else stored in the womb of her future. Just when her father was about to set an alliance for her, he died. All the relatives who were leeching her father dry, were the first to flee when she needed their real support. To add to her woo, the boy cancelled the alliance fearing that she would not bring enough dowry after her father’s death. Forced by the situation or rather it should be said, to get rid of Nirmala and then focus on her siblings upbringing, Niramala’s mother marries her to an elderly widower, Totaram, with 3 teen-aged sons. Now starts a narration of an overwhelmingly painful story wrapped up in the ups and downs of emotionally abusive relationship.

Totaram’s excitement of getting re-married to a young girl starts vanishing soon as his suspicious thoughts get a grip over his mind and heart. Nirmala was of the same age of Totaram’s eldest son but grown motherly affection towards him soon after marriage. Totaram perceives this as adultery, which shattered and broke his son to the extent that this intense grief took his life. This incidence turned Nirmala, a fun loving character described earlier in the novel, completely callous and impassive. Death of Totaram’s eldest son, transformed his second son into an audacious and rebellious child. Events turn such that he commits suicide and youngest son of Totaram leaves house for ever. Aggrieved by the deaths of his sons, Totaram’s lost his interest in work and his career took a plunge that he could not even arrange 3 times meal in a day for his family. Highly dejected by her life had shown to her, Nirmala lost all zeal and zest for life. Later she also bids an adieu to the corrupt patriarchal society.

One has to understand that the book was written at the turn of 20th century when issues like child marriage, dowry system, forced marriages of young girls etc, held lives of women in agony and despair. Premchand sensitively touched upon the issue of injustice towards women prevailing in society during those days with earthiness. It is an all time classic and would recommend everyone to read it.

Build your career, build nation

March 25, 2012 2 comments

Spurt of statues and parks, majorly dedicated to puny alive politicians, and using government to satiate lust of power of a fistful of politicians left Uttar Pradesh on the brink of being called as a doomed state. Past more than a decade has put the state’s progress graph far down in the negative zone than one can imagine. In the name of development, government did go miles ahead when it accounted for raining money on statues and parks but forgot to understand the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Much stress was given on the beautification of state’s capital to the extent that few parts of the city would outclass some of the cities around the world known for their classy aesthetic architectural beauty, but the basic needs of the population went in oblivion. I was reading an article somewhere that government of India had released a fund of Rs.24, 000 Crore to Uttar Pradesh for building highways and roads, which I am sure was well utilized to strengthen the elephants carrying flag of Sarvajan Samaj. This was quite evident during my last visit to the state when I took a road journey from Varanasi to Lucknow. Such was the condition of road that I had to send my car service station immediately after reaching Lucknow, then learnt that the road hadn’t seen any maintenance work in the last 5 years. If highways are like overturned plate of spaghetti then you can guess the infrastructural situation in rest of the state.

Then came elections and Samajwadi Party posted a rumbling victory. It started being considered that this would bring some relief from Mayawati’s insane useless extravagant expenditures. Expectations grew to a new scale when young Akhilesh Yadav was declared as the youngest ever Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. People started talking high about him and his promises about criminal and corruption Free State. This fairy dream did not last long when more than 25 with criminal background found berth in a flock of close to 50 ministers in Akhilesh’s council. Commanding this shady lot is Raghuraj Pratap Singh (“Raja Bhaiya”) who has been given jail ministry. Probably this selection makes a sense to many that, who else could be a better candidate for this ministry than someone being frequent visitor to jail and booked under POTA once. A common man had started associating his dream of a progressing state when a young educated blood took command of the state but the dream took a nosedive at the very onset of the highly anticipated journey.

People started looking Akhilesh Yadav as a future beacon of developing India, but the thought of his long innings would cut short if doesn’t fix growing dissatisfaction early. It hasn’t been a month since the inception of this new government; the signs of discontent are obvious. We can only hope that things would start getting better from this point and new government would start cleaning the dirt of several decades. Government must try to understand that their thumping victory is not a matter of mere celebration and jubilation, it is a responsibility given by the people and trust shown by them. For longer innings, Akhilesh Yadav must understand that for next time he will have to win the trust. For mentally battered people in the state, it would be unwise to expect utopia out of the governance but what least can be done is to convert short term greed into long term greed. Eat little along with nurturing the state each time when you come to power than trying to finish everything in one go and then losing trust and next chance to return.

Build you career Akhilesh else like you rose, you will dissipate just as fast.