Friday, April 20, 2012


Come June and my once chubby, toasty, gurgling, burbling baby will be joining the Indian workforce.

This will be the grand finale to five long years of mandatory work at the leading law school of the country; five long years away from home, evolving in her own world of events and people; five long years of self-analysis, self-awareness and self-direction.  It truly will be that momentous pause, the hard earned intermission in the reel of her life and ours.

There has been frenetic discussion and engagement lately, over her future plans, through all of which, snapshots have lunged at me, unbidden, unsought…there we are, her father and I, purchasing a Kurlon mattress for her. I recall our walk about town, buying the green blanket and other domestic necessities. It seems as close as yesterday; we were at the Officers’ Mess and preparing to leave for the law school orientation day. I have a clear memory of her school structure, the gate, the library, the canteen and most of all, her room. How we agonized over the upper berth being too close to the ceiling fan and its debilitating effect on her predisposition to cold. There was the cell phone to organize, the bakery we checked out, the chemist that stocked her specific shampoo!  

A pair of baggy grey Capri, black T-shirt and her heavy hair looped in a loose pony… that was my last image of her as we bid that first goodbye, on way to the airport for the flight back, without her. I had such a crushing sense of leaving behind an entire chapter of our lives together, the terrifying realization that while we kept a hound’s nose for her security at home, here we were, leaving her behind in a strange place, completely on her own; the tears refused to stop.

My memory of her first visit home and the subsequent return are the sharpest. From then on, the arrivals and departures merged into one serial flash. She was growing up in multitudinous ways, acquiring her own, personal frames of references and traversing both her inner and outer milestones. The rapidly growing separation montage filled up with safely reached messages, touching base on health and money and the all well calls. I began a daily good night message ritual that gave me a reassuring sense of connection. Come to think of it, there shall be no more exits and entries from the NLS gate soon though, no more cocking of the ears every time Bangalore figured in news within earshot.

It is time to celebrate. The small, compact, struggling bundle I held in my arms is setting sail into the real world. The skin on my arms still feels her trusting, wriggling weight. My ears will always resonate with her baby chatter. To me, her abiding visage will be the tiny, freshly massaged and scrubbed Bushka lying next to me, mouth half open.

It is with pride that I wait to see her start out on her first, completely independent chapter of life. And what is charging at me is Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull; when he discovers the technique of flying, he says, “How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!”

Time to fly Bushka! It is time to fly!!

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