“A Baby is a bit of heaven on earth.” And she was my bit of heaven of my life for that day.
She laid her head on my bosom and suckling one thumb, went off to sleep. Her one little hand was clutching my arm, trying to hold on in the midst of an overcrowded bus. Even though we were luckily seated, but that didn’t save us from the bumps of the bus ride. I drew her to me, holding her fiercely against my body. She adjusted herself to me and soon fell into a deep slumber. The breeze blowing from the window nuzzled at her curly hairs and she blew a happy sigh, even in her sleep. Her little movements, her fluttering of eyelashes, the little suckling sound, her heartbeat drew me in her charm. She looked just like the prettiest angel of this world.
And who was I? No. I wasn’t her mother. I was just a stranger to her, one who gave her a seat in her lap, yet I was connected to her in ways more than one, at a much higher subconscious level. If that wasn’t what was called motherly bliss, I don’t know what is. If this wasn’t, what the most precious feeling of this world was, I don’t know what is.
But how was that possible? I was just a college-going girl, who claims to only ‘like’ babies or children, unlike those who just ‘love’ babies. I don’t just stop and pull out the cheeks of any random kid. I don’t go aww at any random sweet picture of any baby. I absolutely don’t pacify with the blood-curdling cries of those babies, who seem to cry whenever and wherever they go. I didn’t definitely look twice at a running-nose kid. In brief, I only liked babies, in general. Just that and nothing more, least of all a sign of attachment in place. Yet, why was I scowling at the bus driver who seemed to me, a rash one, making the bumps more excruciating, with every single second making my worry reach a crescendo of not breaking her slumber. Why did I feel like stuffing a cloth in the mouth of the conductor, who was perhaps blind not to see my angel sleeping, and was shouting at the top of his voice at the oncoming passengers. Wait. My angel?! Where did that come from?! I was just a stranger, who she wouldn’t even remember the very next moment she boards down the bus. Then, why was I so moved to protect her, care for her, as if she was my baby? At that moment, I could fight against any monsters, any alien who even dares to come an inch near her. At that moment, I had become her mother.
Yes. Her mother. That day, I learnt many crucial lessons of life. That you don’t need to be a mother, to have motherly feelings. You don’t have to have those superficial feelings that show to the whole mankind out there, how much you love babies. You just need to have a heart to understand and reciprocate the feelings. Like I reciprocated the trust of the baby, who knew I would save her and hold onto her against all kinds of bump rides.
“Making the decision to have a child – its momentous. It is to decide to forever to have your heart outside our body – Elizabeth Stone.”
At that moment, precisely, I could feel the desperation of those women who want to conceive, yet can’t. I could understand the anguish of those mothers who lost their children at a very early stage of their lives. I also felt pity for the women, who otherwise would have been mothers, had they not killed the baby in her womb and thus preventing herself from that wonderful feeling of a mother. I understood as to why some working mothers left their high-profile jobs, just for the sake of their babies. It isn’t that I didn’t understand them earlier. It was just that I could feel them now, could understand them now from the bottom of my heart. It would also be wrong to say I understood and felt them all. Maybe not even an iota of what they actually feel, but then, this shows the actual depth of the feeling called mother. Even a beggar on the streets, who is also a mother, protects her baby as much as she can. Raise a hand on her and she would say nothing. Raise a hand on her children and hell hath no fury like her. A mother herself eats nothing, but ensures that her children have a piece, the biggest piece of the food share. Nobody gets to see the copious amounts of tears, surrogate mother cries, her heart aching for the child she had to give up, in want of money for her already big family, too big for their own good. A mother gives up her entire life for her children. There isn’t that there aren’t any exceptions but then, everybody isn’t flawless. In fact, nobody is.
“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day
I was she was trouble, albeit a happy one, the moment she boarded onto the bus. That sweet little being, of around 3-4 years of age, heavily tired and somehow dragging her feet. I couldn’t resist her then. I couldn’t resist her now. In during the whole journey, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I couldn’t take my hands off her. Whether be it for removing those hairs which tickled her ears, with the breeze blowing and disturbing her sleep. Whether be it for caressing her head, trying to lull her more into sleep. Whether be it to made her snuggle more into me. A fleeting humorous thought came into my head, which was of the time when I would become a mother, many years down the line. Of all the other things, one thing was for sure, that I would be one hell possessive as a mother.
How did the time pass, I still have no clue. And before I knew, her bus stop was approaching. It absolutely broke my heart to wake her up, but I had to, as there was no other way out. I woke her up gently, and after some unsuccessful attempts (of which I was glad), she finally woke up. My angel looked at me and there was no confusion in her eyes, as to that, she had been sleeping the arms of a stranger. Did she also feel what I felt? Before words could be spoken between us, she was taken by her mother, as their bus stop was nearing. Her mother thanked me, before I could thank her to save my life. Before being tagged along, my angel made an eye-contact with me, passing me on, a wordless, silent thanks. Her brown eyes met my black and if anybody would have witnessed, our eyes seem to hold on to each other, for like ages. Not once did we blink and it was seconds before I got the life’s biggest reward: Her smile. She smiled and I knew I was lost. Lost to the smile of this angel. Unknowingly and helplessly, Igave in to the smile and my return smile assured her. We held on to each other, till her stop came. And then came the terrifying feeling. I suddenly didn’t want her to wave. I didn’t want any goodbyes, as the goodbye perhaps would have put a stop to the turmoil that was going inside me. I didn’t want to reach its climax. I wanted it to remain a dormant volcano inside me, for I knew this feeling had the power to change the person inside me. I wanted this to remain a special moment of my life. The panicked expression might have showed on my face, as she creased her eyebrows. Then she relaxed, as if calming my silly presumption and boarded down the bus. Yes. She did not wave me down, instead smiled even more. My eyes followed her hungrily, as if marking her every movement in my mind till she got down and even after that, till she was nothing but only a flicker. She left and I was never the same person again. I could feel a great vacuum, but more than that, I could see forces fighting against each other inside me, one trying to keep the innate system in place and the other one, the more powerful one, trying to bring in a change. I smiled, not because I was enjoying the fight, but because I knew who would be the winner.
“The moment a child is born, a mother is also born. She never existed before. A woman existed, but a mother never. A mother is something absolutely new.”