Mankind has always tried to evolve better than their predecessors, knowingly or unknowingly. Every generation strives to become better informed and capable than the previous. As time progresses, we will be able to achieve the speed of light someday and maybe even other galaxies. However, even today man travels at the speed of light; at the least in his mind. Human tendency and mentality are such that they need to reach someplace in time for some reason. One such reason which makes men fly down, even in their cars or bikes, is when he is on the verge of becoming a father.
I was on my bean bag that evening, relaxing with a cup of coffee and speaking to friends and family after a long time; I was kind of having time after days of busy work at office and home. Two weeks before I was always busy with work, both in the office with work and at home looking after my wife and the life she was about to give me in a few days. With COVID 19 in the air, our families believed that my pregnant wife should be with the elders to ensure a comfortable and safe place for both of them; we agreed with them although my wife was only half convinced to leave me. Hence, I decided to drop her at her mother’s since that was nearer to the place where I work, 3 hours drive. On 11th July I dropped her home and arranged a simple but elegant baby shower and left from there with tears in her eyes. I started driving after consoling her and then realized I wasn’t able to see the road because my eyes were filling up. I pulled over, took a deep breath and started driving again.
You must be wondering why I couldn’t be with her at this time. Was my work that important than my own family? Yes, indeed it is, after all, I serve the nation guarding its territorial integrity. Two weeks down, as I was relaxing and catching up with my close ones, I kept receiving calls from one unknown number. I was, kind of, disturbed as to who is this calling me continuously as I was busy on another call. Then, just like Spiderman’s Peter Tingle works, my seventh sense told me that this was the most important call of the night than any others. Therefore I hung up the call with my friend and called this number to find out that this boy who was frantically calling me was none other than my mother-in-law’s neighbour. I understood the gravity of the situation as he said that she (my wife) and her mother have left for the hospital. Whoa! That was the first adrenaline shot. My mind started racing just like a fighter jet rolling towards the end of the runway for take-off. I called up my immediate superior informing him that my wife is on the way to the hospital. the first and the only question he asked was, “when do you want to leave?” and I said, “Right now Sir”. There, I got my leave approved and was in my car in the next few seconds after stuffing a few clothes in my backpack.
Now I recollect that I was not even looking at the clothes when I stuffed them in. With COVID 19 spreading fear in governments and administrations across the world, gas stations in the state were ordered by the state administration to shut down after 2200 hrs and the time then was 2300 hrs. I called up one of my friends (or I should say a good acquaintance) to seek help. He directed me to the nearest fuel station that was his friend’s. Just like God was with me all through that night, I kept receiving help at every point that night. The guy in at the fuel station was indeed waiting for me and filled my tank with a smile and a good luck message (Damn! when I look back at that moment, I get goosebumps all over me even now). I was once worried when my parents advised me to buy a new car in place of a used one which I owned but when the time came to race against time; I feel how much to the point they were advising me at that time. As my five-year-old sedan flew down the National Highway, nothing was going through my 1400 grams human brain except reaching the hospital before my future was born.
I started at 2315 hrs from the gas station and that minute onwards it was me against time; at the least, that was the target. Twenty minutes into this Formula 1 race, I observed a minor wobbling in my sedan’s front left wheel. As luck would have it, I stopped to check the tyre right in front of a tyre repair shop. After I had reassured myself that it was not a flat tyre, I requested the gentlemen in the shop to check the tyre pressure. The gentlemen were busy with replacing the tyre of a truck and they gave me a look as if I had asked for the ownership of their shop. One guy among them walked towards me and said, “Looks like you are in some urgency sir, let me help you with that as the others are busy”. Once the right pressure was adjusted, I asked the man how much to pay. He replied, “To the people who serve this country, we serve them anything they want without a price since they pay the price of being away from their families for the sake of ours. Have a safe journey, Sir. Good luck.” With an indescribable smile on my lips, I continued my journey.
I kept receiving calls from both the mothers, my sister and my brother-in-law. There, I felt as if I was attaining the speed of light. Forty-five minutes exactly after I started flying (I mean driving), at midnight I got the first call with the news “It is a girl!” and that is when my car landed on the road. I couldn’t react with words; I was finding it difficult to speak as all this while, the only thing that was going through my head was racing against time and reaching before my girl saw this world (we both were wanting a girl in the first place). I was overexcited, enthusiastic and boom! There it was; another shot of adrenaline. But this time, the adrenaline rush in my brain was slowed down by human emotions; I decided to drive to reach safely. It was no more a race against time but human emotions. As I continued the journey and kept receiving and making calls, sharing the most important news of our life; I felt my cheeks were starting to feel cold of the car’s AC. I initially thought the temperature was too low for that cold night but no. To my surprise, I was in tears of joy and a feeling of unawareness, as if I am in an uncharted territory not knowing what to do. Should in cry in joy or laugh in pain? Joy because it is a girl; with a daughter in the life of men, dads become superheroes. Pain; because I still had to drive for another hundred and twenty minutes to be the superhero. I pulled over on the side of the highway to find myself screaming inside the car like hell, in joy and not in pain.
There is this girl who stole my heart and she calls me Daddy
The feeling of being a father, that too for my daughter was stupendous, awesome, beautiful, crazy or whatever word you can fill in place of that. In minutes, the most powerful time machine ever discovered or built; the human brain started to unravel itself. I travelled miles and galaxies into the future. I reached so far that I could imagine looking at my baby girl smiling with a baby in her arms (that was indeed crazy). Probably this is why we still haven’t built an actual time machine because a man would go deep in time to see or change things. Some things, maybe almost everything, in life is predestined; we are just a part of a larger tale that is written already; we just do not know what character we are playing. I reached the hospital at 0215 hrs after an indescribable (although described here as much as possible) journey of 10000 seconds. Once I got out of my car in the parking shed, my legs started to compete against Usain Bolt, to reach the maternity ward. There I saw this cute little angel; my future and my everything; was sleeping so peacefully in her granny’s arms, after fighting a war to make her way out to meet her first superhero. I stood on the other side of the Iron Gate that separated us since it was a maternity ward and men weren’t allowed inside. I tried reaching to her feet. My lively arm played the spoilsport that I rarely managed to touch it. The nurse stubbornly refused to let me in forcing me to explain to her why I needed to get in; after all, it was her job at stake if she let me in and for me my dream and emotions. After much effort, she went to the duty doctor and the duty doctor walked up to the gate to see me in my shining armour (uniform). Looking at the emotions in my eyes and pleased to see the nation’s servant, she said “Please do not go inside the ward as there are many women asleep and seeing a man in the middle of the night would frighten them” and she let me in the veranda of the ward.
The door opened as if the doors to heaven had opened in front of me. That moment, when the angel came into my arms, the world around me froze; I was blank. No thoughts came to my mind. For the next twenty-odd minutes, I kept looking at this little angel with zero thoughts in my mind but with the smile on my lips and tears of joy rolling down my cheeks. I never imagined life could be so cinematic or in India as we call “filmy” but who would negate this and say it is not so unless he or she is not human but a robot. After someone shook me up, I came back to earth (from heaven). The first thing that crossed my mind was how my father and sister would have felt holding me in their arms for the first time. My sister was more eager in our pregnancy than us as I was more of her son than a brother early in life. Similarly, she was a mother to me as we had an age difference of ten years. I could never keep her out of my life and now she can never keep my daughter out of her life (like she could never do with me). It is like a beautiful love triangle that I can’t express to explain it to anyone.
Ten minutes later the love of my life was brought in a wheelchair assisted by her mother. She looked weary and exhausted. Looking at her in that state I think I fell in love with her again. I started wondering what better gift can she ever give me in life than this beautiful angel in my arms. And then I was confused as to what can I gift her with for giving me such a beautiful life. That is when I truly realized that I haven’t gifted anything that valuable even to my mother to have given me this life. God! Life is full of gifts and miracles that can never be planned or organised.
Man behaves in different ways; with a woman, he remains what she wants him to be; Or I should rephrase it as “what makes her happy”. To real men, women, especially sisters and daughters, are more than anything in their life. The joy and happiness that I possess today because of the four important women in my life (my mother, sister, wife and now my daughter) are astonishingly unbelievable. I feel as if I guarded by four bodyguards as well as I am the bodyguard of four women. If someone asks me someday as to what was the most memorable time of my life, I would tell them it was this; “A Journey of 10000 seconds”.