We all set out with a cry when we are birthed. Treated like fragile and delicate thing. Our parents treat neonates with affection and care. Holding the index finger of our father we learn. We discover all the new things and our brain starts to relate them. We see sunlight and relate it to delight of playing in it. We hear chirping and cawing of birds and pertain it to be singing for love and joy. We play, we enjoy, we desire and we dream. Lesser known to all the conceptions of this world, little cognizant about the kismet but very well aware of our destiny- ‘grave’.
Possibility of all this to happen is only, if our fate is colorful. Circumstances! What has that got to do with the child birth and childhood? Am I going nuts? Or am just writing to amaze people with the word selection? But, all I know and all that I have seen, bears testimony to the fact that ‘circumstances’ and child birth are inter-related. After reading this piece of writing you will get the answer to your questions.
‘Noor’ was the fourth girl child of ‘Khuda Baksh’. Prior to her birth her father was very desirous of baby boy from his wife ‘Shereen’. He even had found a name for him as ‘Taimur’. He would reiterate this all day long to his wife and had got a cradle for him. That cradle had some remarkable piece wood crafting done by Aslam khan- the nearby wood craftsman. All the people of the town would call him ‘Aslam Miyan’. When Khuda Baksh heard of his wife’s pregnancy he ran towards the shop of Aslam Miyan and embraced him and raised him high above the ground with utmost joy and happiness.
‘Aslam Miyan! Shereen is expecting a baby and I’m sure that this time it would be a boy’
‘Bakhshe’ as Aslam Miyan would call him because of their close intimacy. They were, after-all, friends from the very juvenile beginning of the life.
‘Bakhshe’! May almighty bless you with a boy this time and we would have a feast then. And I know the reason for you coming here. Isn’t it you want a fine cradle for the new born?’
‘Aslam Miyan, you are right, you are right’. Khuda Baksh said in the most joyous tone and still in fits from the laughter.
‘Aslam Miyan, show me the true value of your craftsmanship this time round. Get a fine piece of cradle with unmatchable craftsmanship done in no time. I want it to be ready ASAP’.
Saying this and brimming with the joy his soul was in and his face crimson with the flush of enthusiasm he went to the nigh sweet shop a got a few kilos of them for his kiths and kin’s.
Merrily he went home and distributed the confections to all.
‘Shereen, aren't we going to have a boy this time? If so, I will get you some beautiful Jhumkas and a necklace you will boast of’. He babbled with a slight grin on his face.
Shereen without any answer went on with her daily chores. She knew if something else happened, a girl stead of a boy! Khuda Baksh, as usual would refuse to even offer adaan in its ears. Khuda Baksh was just like that and had developed strong aversion for a girl child after Shereen bore 3 of them. ‘Shehzad, Fatima and Rukhsan’ were fourteen, ten and 8 years old respectively. Shehzad being the eldest among the lot usually helped her mother in cooking and doing dishes. Their lives had been subjugated to humiliation and tantrums and curses from Khuda Baksh. He would use malicious language to call them and would never like to see them through affectionate eyes.
‘Manhoos’ was the usual word to describe Shehzad and she had now got used to it.
‘Manhoos, get lost! Didn't I tell you to never bring food to me all by yourself? ‘Splashing sound’.
Khuda Baksh slapped her so hard that tears involuntarily ran down her cheeks and she at once left the room and went to her mother. Sobbing and boohooing all the time and asking for the death from the almighty. He didn't even spare the other two little creatures and would curse them all day long. He was such a stubborn brute who would never listen to anyone. Many enquired of him about his mistreatment towards his daughters and he would furiously turn towards his wife and tell her,
‘ Why and how he got to know about it? Who told him? And if you don’t tell him to get going, I have got other methods’. Maximum portion of his family and acquaintances had developed strong dislike for him and would secretly console Shereen and the three girls.
Time passed just like that. And Shereen was now closer to giving birth to new one again. She had prayed all the time to the almighty for a baby boy as that would mark an end to the brutalities of his husband.
Few days before the normal date and Shereen was in labor pains and was admitted to the nearby hospital. She was weak and had to be operated upon. Doctors told Khuda Baksh to get the money and sign the papers. He did so. Shereen was operated upon. And there was a bad news for Shereen and for Khuda Baksh. A real bad news for the whole family, so bad in its magnitude that it would worsen all that was happening. A beautiful little baby girl was born. And doctors said to Khuda Baksh that due to some internal bleeding and pregnancy related complications ,Shereen would never become mother again. This news agitated Khuda Baksh and he without seeing his daughter left the hospital.
Baby ‘Noor’ had come into the existence.
To be continued.