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Ever since the news broke about my expecting my first child, the first bunch of people to go haywired crazzzzzy were these uncelebrated half mothers.I still can't help smiling remembering the ecstatic reactions of 'awwww' 'eeeeehhh' to 'yayyyy' and 'woooooow' to mention just a few, as if it was a feat that I have accomplished or perhaps 'we' have accomplished. It was just a technical thing that I carried the baby in my tummy,else it was a joint venture really to speak and irony was that although none among them had any experience of motherhood,as none of them were even married, they all in their respective capacity played the role of a seasoned midwife all through that period, banging my head with their strange set of suggestions and dos and don't list over the phone successively,since none of them were present with me physically.
My younger one came to stay with me for a week during the second trimester and her coming coincided exactly with the time of my father-in-law's arrival. Although he is a gem of a person, I worried more about three men being at home with I being in such a vulnerable condition to take charge of things. That was a time I had bouts of terrible nausea and vertigos and she proved to be my saviour! She handled everything perfectly, right from making terrific aaloo parathas for breakfast to oiling my hair at night, buying a bottle of bournvita and making sure I finish that awfully big glass of milk,because it was essential for 'our' baby to instructing the maids, she was on mark, and I wondered pleasingly how matured and grown up she acted!
Now came the turn of the buas, when my baby was delivered, the first gift she got within few days of her arrival was from her bua,a yellow and white moon crescent shaped rattle that she still has! The new bua enjoyed her role ardently, she helped her in bathing and cleaned her poop, something that came without any hesitation,strangely at her college going age, followed by the elder one, who was bouncing and giggling and dancing with joy when she first saw her neice around her second monthly birthday and have been going bananas over her since then, she pampers her silly and carries her all around without any hint of visible fatigue,buying her keyboard and toy computer when the baby did nothing more than drooling on them or banging them, while her another bua bought her the first superman school bag that she flaunted big-time on her first day at school. However now, if you ask the roles have reversed, to the little one, her bua is now her 'chota baby' whom she mothers strictly and all the more admonished for not wishing her on mother's day!It is such an adorable and innate bonding,that makes me equate it with my relationship to my buas who have been an equal mother to me as my daughter's buas are to her.
Now over to the brat maasis again, as my daughter is lucky to have quite a few of them - my cousins and friends. They are the reason her teeth have got stained with chocolates and they are the culprits who versed her in names of different ice creams,cookies and candies. It is infectious to see how my baby gels up with each of them and shares a chemistry that is unbelievable. Each calls her neice by a different name,like the younger one calls her laddoo, which is her exclusive patent, she gets so jealous if someone else employs that term and the senior one is actually a buddy to her neice,she considers her maasi as her playmate in nursery school, and observing the acts I have no one to blame seriously. The even younger one on her two days visit to my place, searched through the whole range of preschools in the vicinity to put her in the best one,while another of my baby's favourite is my school time friend, who is hands on with her sometime in a more chilled out way than I ever hope to be. She knows the knack to handle her and also to discipline her well.
I feel so strange when I see my daughter share this exuberant connection and singular one to one equation with her half-mothers as I prefer to call all of them collectively - the maasis and the buas together.It is truly amazing,how their pouting selfies on FB got replaced with my baby's pictures, how each of their remotest of acquaintance knows her name, her eating habits, her school anecdotes,her favourite dance number, how like a monkey she climbs on them to take her wherever they go and how willingly and happily they take her along,even if it is on a date! How I find half of her wardrobe bustling with the funky clothes brought by them and the matching bags,and soft toys and shoes and accessories... how easily they got used to cleaning her or bathing her or pampering her or composing her, how easily they took to addressing her as 'my baby',how conveniently they preach others about toddler psycology and behaviours, how patient they got dealing with the tantrums,making her eat through hours,and watching Doremon with her or jungle book instead of Fan .I really find it amazing and applauding and strange, that despite of actually being carefree spinsters how graciously and effortlessly they fitted responsibly into the role of - Half Mothers!