Friday, October 8, 2010

Notes from a "Working Mum"

October 19th, 2004. Global client coming down for a meeting. Conference room in order, the presentations sitting smugly in neatly labelled folders on the laptop, back ups in pen drives , food ordered. And we waited. For me it was not just a wait for the men in suits. It was my last working day before my baby would be born.

I had planned everything to a T. Ma and my sister would arrive on 20th. Bags packed for hospital on 21st. Off to hospital on 21st. Baby to be born out of C-section on 22nd. For an obsessive planner like me, there was no room for a normal birth that was unpredictable.

Baby Zoya was born,  the flowers arrived from my dear colleagues, Ma dutifully  spent two days with me. On Day 2, I decided that enough was enough- pulled myself out of bed, hobbled bent over till the stitches stretched and I could be upright again, waved goodbye to the nurses, gave my credit, debit and all other cards for the loaded hospital bills and I was home.

Guests and well wishers would  drop in all day, I would proudly show off Baby Zoya.  Pay the driver money to get pastries and patties from Galleria, Hiranandani Gardens, order Pepsi 1 litre bottles  for serving the guests.

Baby Zoya , like all other hungry babies, gnawed at me till I was bruised and bleeding. So rush to Hiranandani market again for tiny baby feeding bottles which I religiously boiled and steamed and boiled again for fear of infections. I was guilty -  I couldn't feed my baby, I was fat and ugly and I wished I could go back to work again.

Soon a month passed by. Zoya  was more awake than asleep, would stare in wonder at me and the world, cry when she was left alone. Ma and my sister left, I was alone. Would love dressing her up in the evening and stroll around our building Harshvardhan, pushing her pram around. Soon she was old enough to go with me to Haiko supermarket, where I would put her car seat in the shopping cart and wheel her around. We would go to Crossword where I would buy her Nursery Rhyme books and carefully write in cursive- "To my Princess. From Mamma"

Zoya and I soon became the best of friends. I would talk to her for hours, and she would gurgle her replies. We were always together. I hated leaving her even for a second. Zoya soon filled the huge void I felt in my life and  started looking forward to each day with my lovely baby.

Januray 31st. 2005. New live in maid arrived from home. I showed her around , made her boil Zoya's bottles, make  Nan 2,  instructed her how to dress her in her little baby clothes. That night I looked at Zoya sucking her thumb and sleeping blissfully next to me and tears flowed uncontrollably.

Because I was starting work the next day. She would be home alone all day with a maid. Would she be well taken care of? Would she miss me? Was I being too career minded? Was I selfish?

And then I walked into office, sat at my desk, accepted the hugs and all the flowers gracefully, and started off work. That's it. Got back into the groove again. Managed work and Zoya and home as best as I could. Work gave me the satisfaction I craved for, Zoya gave me the love I desired. And I never compromised one for the other.

This October 24th, Zoya turns five. I look proudly at my little girl, who has  held my hand when I was low and laughed with me when I was on a high. She has learnt her alphabets, swings to Bollywood , hates  food, loves chips and chocs and is still my best friend. She thinks I am "beautiful like Kareena" and she "loves me vewy vewy much".

Makes me realise that life is indeed a balance. Between good things and good things. That's the hardest balance. And happiness comes to those who always remember that it is never one at the cost of the other.