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An aunt writes an intensely emotional, personal letter to a loved niece born just a week ago prematurely, fighting for her life in an NICU - with everyone in the family praying for her survival.
An aunt writes an intensely emotional, personal letter to a loved niece born just a week ago prematurely, fighting for her life in an NICU – with everyone in the family praying for her survival.
She was born just about a week ago, though a few weeks before her arrival had been scheduled.
You know how it is with new arrivals, babies especially, nobody actually realises what all goes on there till it happens to you. The pain, the sweat, the hope, the aspirations, the beauty – the moment of holding the creation in your arms. Yes, it seems magical. But to think of a mother who doesn’t get to see her baby even for a minute, for the baby needs to be saved and is rushed to an ICU within minutes of being born, it’s one difficult moment. And to break the news of the newborn’s critical condition, it is something nobody is prepared to do, nobody is willing to do. We also couldn’t.
When I came face to face with the new mother, my sister-in-law, the best I could come up with was, “Our little one just needs some extra care. She’ll be home tomorrow with you.” I didn’t know in that moment that the words I uttered would come back to haunt me the very next day when the doctors would ask us to take the baby home because all she had got were a few hours. Those few hours which could better be spent by the baby, the mother, the family together. Could there be anything more shattering than that? But sometimes, some things have to be done, no matter how heartbreaking they are. Perhaps it is in those moments that we are shown the path.
The baby was brought home, almost lifeless. The mother held her. The grandmother held her. The aunts blessed her. Such a fragile little thing, she couldn’t even cry, she didn’t even know how much time she had. Nobody knew. With shaking hands, eventually the father took his precious little bundle in his arms, eyes welling up. And that little one, she looked at her father, and smiled – through her pain, through her struggle, through her race against time. That moment was enough to give the father all the hope he needed. The young father who didn’t even know how to properly hold the baby, the family who didn’t know where to pray to make the little one live, they all rushed. To save her. Getting her into the hospital was in itself a task, but she got in. While she was given a few hours, she has fought for one whole week. And where there was none, she has gathered up her chances to live.
As I write, in this moment, she is still fighting against all odds. I, we, her people, we don’t know which way things would go. But, in this moment, we pray. We seek every ounce of hope and goodwill and prayers. That little one, she has persisted till now, we want to see her grow, play, love. And it is to her that I write….
I’m scared again today. I know I can’t be more scared than your papa or mumma, little one, but yet, I am. I saw you when you were a few minutes into this world, again when you were one day old, so little, so fragile, yet striving like such a brave, courageous old girl. I’ve been so superstitious, sitting in the position where I heard you are doing better, not doing a single thing that might jinx your well being. I come and stand outside the hospital building, hoping, praying, talking to you, telling you to please persist, to stay strong, to stay courageous, to keep fighting.
I know you might have become tired, maybe it gets lonely there, all on your own, amidst things which are so alien. I know how you would’ve liked to be there in mumma’s arms, in papa’s lap, safe, at home, sleeping knowing everyone who is your someone is standing there by your side. I know you are longing for home, for that feeling of being where there are none of these bleepy-beepy things, just you and your people, your place. We are longing for you too. Please know baby, I would trade anything and everything to switch places, you are so soft, so tender, so new…we all would, in a blink. Only if….and this only if breaks my heart. I beg you, I beg every power that is listening… please make the little one live her life time, she has been created to receive our love, please let it be that way. Please…
You know baby, I dreamt of you today – all grown up, in my favourite shade of blue, rushing into my arms, caressing my face with your little palms, you with your beautiful presence in bui’s arms. You know how beautiful that felt? How comforting? That is what I had been holding today, that image of us, wishing for it to come true, believing it to come true. I wish it does come true. I hope it does. I pray it does.
Baby, in just a few days, you have just created so much of a difference, to me. I want to sit with you, and talk to you one day about it, how you were so little and yet so capable, how you with your little presence made everyone so much different, how you showed us sides of us which we never thought existed. You know that day when I visited you, there was a moment when your face went red, and a moment later it relaxed, I wanted to pick you and hold you and keep you safe, to make everything alright at once. You were in pain, and we were helpless. I was so scared and so broken and you, you gave me that moment, telling me in your own way that bui’s little girl is a warrior in her own way. My little warrior, I believe in you. I believe in your will, in your strength, in your courage. Please persist. Please don’t give up. Just don’t go anywhere please. Come to us, come to me.
You know, every time the phone rings, I dread the worst. I pray fervently that it tells that you are doing better, that you have proven every prediction wrong as you have been doing till now. Please prove a lot of things wrong, please hold on to that chance, even if it be a one or a ten, please, stay. O baby, please, please don’t give up, please don’t go anywhere, please live.
I’m waiting to hold you again. Please be home soon.
Please. Please baby. Please. Live. Grow. Become. We stand by you. We wait for you. Against hope. With hope.
Image source: pixabay
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"I chose to go out into the remote, wild, unknown, and make it home," says entrepreneur Kiranjeet Ahluwalia Chaturvedi, who owns Birdsong & Beyond.
The story of my mountain home Birdsong & Beyond started taking shape in 2009, on the internet, the way many stories do these days.
My childhood fascination for a life in the Himalayas led to an internship with a central Himalayan NGO instead of a much prized corporate assignment. But when they offered me a full-time job, I refused. I was overcome by fear and a lack of confidence.
My other longings pulled me away – the longing to fit in, to earn validation from others. By my mid-30s, with all the trappings of a middle-class urban life in place, the call of the snows couldn’t be ignored anymore. So I got to work on it with clearer intentions and a stronger sense of what I needed for myself, and why.
Many Indian elderly are firm believers in enslaving a daughter-in-law in the name of tradition which is actually a tradition of oppression and not of religious faith.
Albeit, the popular culture has interpreted scriptures as suggesting that Kanyadaan is the supreme form of donation given to someone, the connotation that the word donation alludes to definitely objectifies the girl.
Even when the exegesis justify the act of giving away the daughter, considering it a ritual to mark the initiation of the daughter into her husband’s gotra and her becoming the part of his family tree.
There is no denial of the fact that this initiation is not required on the part of the groom thereby formally denoting the end of the filial ties with the daughter as it was popularly instructed to the bride during the Vidai ceremonies:
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