Even on a lazy Sunday morning, I saw her eat her breakfast in haste and make her way to her old and almost ancient car. She had recently brushed up her driving skills and replied to my sister’s loud bye from the bathroom with the toothpaste’s froth almost choking her. I chuckled at her for sounding so funny.It was barely a ten minute drive from our house to her workplace. A row of women usually sat outside her cabin holding anticipatory looks.Her cabin was not so big but, it was comfortable.There was a peculiar sort of smell diffused into the entire area that made most of us feel uneasy and scared too. But then, all hospitals smelt like that.
Often, first time pregnant young ladies experiencing a variety of apprehensions came conferring all their trust upon her. Being a patient listener, she would allay all their fears as they slowly took their initial steps into motherhood. She explained, how life would change with the blessing of a newborn, but also bring along many new feelings and responsibilities. She would make illiterate women, who came from the remotest villages, understand the entire life cycle and how their bodies functioned from inside.She believed that having a baby was a great blessing and helping in delivering one was greater blessing. Nothing could compare the joy and excitement that parents felt when they finally had their newborn. Many couples had so much of faith in her that they considered her second to God. Not only did this profession require attention and care for the patient but it also needed a lot of empathy, undying compassion and benevolence. One way or another, pregnancy affected not only every woman the world over, but also her family. It was vital that women had access to accurate information, advice, diet and lifestyle changes to support them and their families, through their pregnancy period and beyond. And this was why the gynaecologist was so important.
The door swung open in the middle of the night, as she ordered her assistant for help. Ritu was hurried into the operation theater on a stretcher. Her husband held her hand, singing their favourite song in order to make her feel better.Inspecting the oxygen, the head crowned gently while being accompanied by moans. Steadily,the rest of the body came out effortlessly as Ritu pushed with all her might.The umbilical cord was still connected that trailed from the tiny body to it’s source of life as the baby lay there on the mother’s breast. The baby made a small cry, cleared her nose and throat a bit and then went to sleep.
It was like a bundle of delight that was waiting to be opened as sweets got distributed to the staff and others and a special box containing Kaju Barfi was presented to her. Drawing their own comparisons, all family members gave their opinions about who the baby resembled the most. The enthusiastic midnight chatter natter resounded in the otherwise serious and solemn atmosphere of the static territory.
It was 2 a.m in the morning.The cellphone on her uncluttered desk rang for the third time, disturbing the quiet of the place. Among other things, her desk had a frame with a photo of my sister and me trying to catch a frog in our garden. We weren’t like typical girls and our parents had brought us up in a very different manner. Carefree, high-spirited and always inquisitive, I troubled her with a plethora of questions. As a child, I asked her what she got out of this profession. To this, she replied with a delicate smile, “Gynaecology was a medical profession in which she saw the joy of new life being brought into the world”.
In a sleepy voice I asked what I always asked, with the phone almost slipping down my ear, “Is it a boy or a girl?”
“Its a girl”. I smiled. I felt her smiling too as I returned to the voyage of my dreams.