I was busy watching TV when the phone rang. Susheela, my daughter called. “Amma, we are coming there” and my son in law took it from her and continued “to seek your blessings and there is a good news for you”. My joy knew no bounds – as though thousand flower pots were set ablaze at one stroke. The good news from my daughter was long overdue. At last God showered His bountiful mercy upon the couple.
Whenever I was a bit worried on her account, my husband used to assure that as per her horoscope, she would be blessed with two kids and hence there was nothing to worry from that angle; the horoscopes if casted properly, never failed. In her case so far it worked correctly.
Right now he was not at home. Otherwise, he would have immediately attributed the God’s mercy to the predictions of horoscope.
In a short while, they would be at home. Before then, let me prepare something sweet to greet them. First of all, I had kept aside two bottles of different pickles for my pregnant daughter. Thanks to the producers of Ready Mixes. It was so handy and the sweet aroma of the round Jamun balls filled the house. Both my husband from one side and Susheela – Ashok from the other side entered the house at the same time. They sought our blessings. Then they poured down their excitement. After they settled down, I had to give them a piece of advice, like, ‘be in preparedness to welcome the baby – be it a girl or a boy. As long as all organs of baby are intact, sex does not matter, neither too much exertion nor too much of rest is good, follow doctor’s instructions scrupulously, take medicines regularly, observe dietary prescriptions, keep yourself cool and composed, etc.etc…’
Monthly, fortnightly routine check up with the doctor continued and things were normal. One day Susheela telephoned to tell me that Ashok was asked to go abroad on a short assignment and was expected to be back around delivery time only. He might return even earlier if the job given was completed. As a mother I had to assure her that she should not get unnecessarily worked up as any excitement – anger tension, worry – anything would adversely affect the growth of the baby. I also told her it was customary to have the first delivery at the parents’ place only. So Ashok brought Susheela and left her with us. When we went to the doctor for her next check up, the lady told in very clear terms that normal delivery was ruled out and it would be a caesarian only. Baby was growing faster. Mother’s uterus was not strong enough to hold the baby. She then gave a revised date much earlier to what she had given initially. I had to console my daughter that of late delivery by caesarian section was quite a normal procedure and almost every second or third baby was born in this manner. Medical treatment was getting more and more commercial. Normal delivery was getting out of place. But in Susheela’s case, the C-section was suggested purely on medical grounds, considering her health conditions. Though operation was a sensitive issue, it was a relief also – particularly for my astrologer husband. He said “We have a golden opportunity to choose the date
and time of birth of baby, which otherwise was not available in normal delivery. Same day he started his calculations. The D day should be a shubha dinam with shubha nakshtram, shubha karanam, shubha muharatham, and all shubhams ie. auspicious things put together. He had to ensure that none of the evil planets casted their evil sights or had adverse impact on the life of the baby like mangalika dosha or angaraka dosham, sarpa dosham, kethu dosham, rahu dosham did not have a place on the horoscope. He wanted to ensure that lagnam navaamsam were all intact with the planets in their respective houses.
He knew that Sun in 10 th house would boost up the scale of the owner’s education and employment prospects. Similarly, Sukra and Guru also had to be positioned in proper houses so that they could shower their best offerings to the owner. The biggest problem was to choose a day in which all these good planets could shower their best offers and to keep the evil planets at the lowest ebb so that neither they delivered their negative impact nor nullified the glorious impact of other positive indicators. He sat with the almanac (Panchangam) and studied every other day one by one and at different hours of the day so that the best day and best time could be chosen. If he took care of one planet, other one would let him down. It took more than two days to fix a suitable day for the baby’s arrival.
The enormous effort he had put in for the baby’s arrival, I was wondering whether it was all required!! Was it the way all caesarian dates are fixed? I only prayed to God that the doctor should agree to the date and time calculated by my husband. Susheela unaware of all the troubles taken by her father for the most important day, was lost in her thoughts. She wanted her husband to come back from Australia and be with her in her crucial time. Unlike foreign countries, husbands in India are not allowed inside the labour room. So what! At least he could see his child at the earliest opportunity and hold the tiny bundle in his arms and also listen to everyone’s comments on how far the baby resembled him…Her thoughts were flying high.
Days were running past in quick succession giving me a mild anxiety that things should go as safe as possible. Both Susheela and baby should be brought back home hale and hearty. What more could I wish for!! It had become all the more important in the event of Ashok remaining away from the country. Date for next check up was drawing near and finally arrived. We had already decided to confirm from the doctor about her availability on the date we had fixed for the caesarian operation, which was just two weeks away. I was a bit worried if the doctor gave a different date, then the entire exercise of casting a horoscope which went well with most of the planetary positions would have been rendered futile. In such an event, we might have to accept any other doctor available on duty on that date. But Susheela’s case was already proclaimed to be a very delicate one and had to be handled only by a competent doctor. We needed an expert doctor who was well versed with her case history and at the same time, have the same date and time of birth which would ensure baby’s best future once born on earth.
Much to our relief, the doctor agreed to the date we proposed. Of course she had to adjust her other appointments. Neither Susheela nor I mentioned anything about the horoscope, but we did say that it was an auspicious day and a convenient one. Doctor said the patient should be admitted in the hospital on the previous day of operation. But we the parents were not allowed to be there. Though there was nothing to get panicky, needless to say our anxiety and tension took the better of us and we had a sleepless night. As soon as day broke, we rushed to the hospital, even though the operation time was very much later. I started reciting hymns and chanting prayers, but everything getting broken and slipping… I invited all Gods and Goddesses to come and save my child and also her child. My husband did not show his anxiety physically, but was going around the lobby, garden pharmacy etc…with the horoscope kept in his pockets. What was the need for it here today - only he knew. I was not keen on knowing such details.
As time passed by, seconds into minutes and minutes into further minutes, I knew that time determined for the caesarian operation was getting nearer and nearer. I was looking for my husband. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath.”Ten, nine, eight, seven…… zee…ro” I sharpened my ears to listen to the first cry of the baby behind the closed doors, announcing its arrival into this mortal world. No I could not hear anything. Nor I found my husband beaming with a bright smile. Instead he was staring at me with a bewildered look. All I could do was pray, pray and pray “Oh God Oh God! Save my child.
All of a sudden I found that there were some hasty movements and some doctors rushing to the operation theatre. One nurse came out hurriedly and went back with some surgical instruments. It was first time I saw my husband getting tense and worried. Again the door opened and a nurse came out and almost ran to another end of the hall. On her retuning, my husband held her by her arms and asked ‘what happened? baby born or not? all is well, ok?’ She shirked him off, just uttered ‘Patient serious’ and rushed in. We were all the more worried. ‘Patient Serious’- who was the patient, mother or baby? First of all was the baby born or not? Was it a boy or girl? Questions were plenty, but nobody was there to answer.
After a long passage of testing time, finally the doctors came out. My husband got up immediately to know what was going on around. She called out “Sheela”. I corrected “Susheela” and went to her. Doctor said “Get urgently two units of Bombay Blood”. We had never heard of such a name, nor we knew where it could be got from. My husband was losing his temper “What sort of hospital is it? Are they not supposed to keep things ready”? Since it was required urgently, I went to the Pharmacy and enquired. He told us to contact Blood Bank. I was helpless. At the critical hour how could we rush to the Blood Bank and collect the so called Bombay Blood? I knew A, B, AB and O groups only. What is Bombay Blood? Moreover I had my own doubt, “Will they give blood just on asking – without any request from Doctors”? I turned back to the Pharmacist and asked for his help. The very appearance of the boy was not at all appealing to my husband.
What with his one ear pierced and studded, his hair untidy and unkempt, a metal bangle in one hand and varieties of colourful bands in the other, tattoos of psychedelic designs on all visible parts, worn out pants and crushed T shirt – on the whole an untidy appearance! My husband looked at him scornfully and went away. I did not. What did I have to do with his appearance? I asked him for help. He nodded. He took out his cell phone and moved his fingers up and down as though he was playing any musical instrument. He asked for details of blood needed. Though I told him what I needed, I too was not pleased with his casual approach when we were very serious. He was still meddling with his phone. Then he started talking to a few friends. At least that was not a joke on us. He was really making a request to them to come and donate blood. Then he nodded, “Job done”. My husband was not in favour of approaching this useless guy and so he went back to our original waiting place, hoping one or the other doctor or nurse might turn up to throw some light on “Serious Patient”. I thanked the pharmacist for whatever little he did. But I too had no hope of any his ‘so called friends’ to come forward for helping us.
One of the doctors came out and I rushed to him. I asked “How is the Patient”? He replied “Now out of danger and we have moved her to ICU. But don’t you know what is her blood group and are you not supposed to be in readiness with arrangements for her ‘hh’ blood group? You were already informed about her complicated case and the operation”. Just then my husband asked was the baby boy born or not and if so at what time. The doctor simply howled at my husband. Even I got terrified. He shouted ”Who told you the baby was a boy? None of us told you so far. In India advance information is prohibited and the doctors will be punished if they happen to tell.” My husband waving the horoscope said that the horoscope revealed itself. My God!! The doctor was out of bounds on hearing this. To him it was all stupidity. Not even bothering about his age or status, he simply blasted at my husband
“You do not know your daughter’s blood group, you do not know the trauma she underwent now, you do not know how we saved her – the bleeding was not coming under control. Luckily one of our staff members belonged to this rare group and readily donated his blood, or else… just imagine what would have happened to her? And here you are asking about the boy? You wanted to ensure that all is well with the boy even before he was born but did not bother about your own daughter for whom you have not made arrangements for her life saving immediate requirements. Now I came to remind you about the blood’.
By then some people had gathered there and doctor was angry at the unnecessary crowd. One of them said “There was an appeal in the FaceBook for urgent requirement of Bombay Blood. So we came”.
I was wonderstruck. The uncanny pharmacist was not meddling with the phone then. In fact he had placed an appeal in FB and called some on phone. My God! What a great ‘job done’. Thank God! All is well.
Our lady doctor came out with our grandson in her arms. On seeing the baby, all our worries flew away. The doctor said the boy was born exactly at the same time as we wanted. I turned to my husband to see his victorious smile. Alas! He fainted and fell on the ground with the horoscope flying away from him. I went to pick up the horoscope. First time I was looking at it. Oh! God! What a blunder he made! Date of birth was exactly one year back, and entire exercise was done as per that date, because he used last year’s almanac and not the current one.
No wonder he fainted.