From The Diary Of a Newly Turned Father

A round the clock tiny ‘Time Bomb’ keeps ticking by my side as I wait

anxiously to see her explode.

She is just a few days old; her impossibly small velvety hands,

infirm slender legs with knees lacking in detail, tiny feet as if some

artist’s chimera. And then her face; how could one’s face be so small

and yet so captivating.

 

She wears just one expression most of the time; that of someone lost

in an uninhabited zone waiting rather hopelessly to be found some day.

It’s only when she is sleeping that she is at absolute peace with

herself; as if on the familiar turf, as if in a world she is fully

aware of, as if in communion with God.

And it’s when she is sleeping that, quite ironically, she becomes a

prospective ‘Time Bomb’ that must explode at her fancy.

In the middle of the night I make a desperate plunge into the bed

hoping to catch some sleep.

O! Sleep, you were my foremost nightly obsession and then one fine

day (or was it the night)

‘Time Bomb’ gatecrashed into my life.

 

I yearn for your tranquil wisdom, dear Sleep, through the turbulence

of my fitful nights. I still do my utter best to create space for you

in my newly occupied nightly chores. But alas, I can be in your

pristine accompaniment only in bits and tatters now. I can no longer

be committed to you just the way I had been my entire life.

Oh yes, there are weak moments through the course of the night when I

do get seduced by you, you being such an enchantress, but even then a

part of me would adhere to its newly adopted celibacy vow.

That part of me is my ‘Subconscious’.

 

My ‘Subconscious’ has made an unconditional bond with the ‘Time Bomb’,

of its own volition though, and would preserve its alertness all the

while, keeping an uncanny check at the ‘Time Bomb’.

And then she explodes; the Time Bomb’, triggering her all weather

attendant i.e. my ‘Subconscious’ to pull me out of the clutches of the

‘Temptress’.

My eyes are puffed up. I can feel some burning sensation in them. My

mind is reeling with shock of a sapling that has been so abruptly

uprooted. And yet there is a sense of purpose in my exhausted body, my

latent unaccountable energy coming to my rescue. I am being aptly

supported in my endeavors by my better half, or is it the other way

round.

The only aim of the lives of the two of us poor souls as of now is to

somehow diffuse the ‘Time Bomb’ for this while.

At momentary peace she would get once she is transferred to the lap

of her sleep deprived zombie looking mommy whose yawns are as wide as

the dark circles below her eyes. While the ‘Time Bomb’ revels in her

feeding I would try to invent a snooze.

Now fed, the ‘Time Bomb’ is wide awake, looking around the room,

mystified. We wonder what possibly could be going through her mind.

And trust me, its ominous.

The next moment comes the vindication as she gets into her ‘mewling’

avatar. It’s amazing to see such tiny chords generating such

threatening noise. The uproar in the house is an indication for her

daddy to pack the ‘Time Bomb’ and take her out for a ‘leisurely walk’.

‘Leisurely walk’ in the middle of the night?

I mean even diehard romantics will think twice before doing that.

The new daddy in town picks his pea sized daughter in his arms-made

cradle and goes out on a walk, all the unwillingness of his jaded legs

may go to hell. And even then won’t come to an end the daddy’s plight.

For, he must also sing to the young lady for the sake of his life.

He has a hunch (with fatherhood you probably get a haunting ‘sixth

sense’ as well) that when he sings his daughter finds it soothing.

Imagine the state of a person dying to hit the bed when forced to

crack a song. Your will power can make you do wonders.

As I sing the girl from the cradle twinkles; cryptic smile that could

mean anything on earth.

Did she mean to appreciate my toil, or was it a sardonic smile meant

to remind me of my comeuppance?

As if to tell: hey dude, what’s wrong with you, huh? Where has all

your ‘coolness’ evaporated now?

Whatever happened to that self-aggrandizing man on some illusionary

world conquering mission who has lived by now with the notoriety of

being nonchalant and indifferent to, well, everything?

I am all of seven pounds and see how I trained you to dance to my

raucous tunes.

The very next moment her expression goes back to the customary befuddlement.

Fatigue has now overcome whatever little remained of my body. Even my

cheeks now find it painful to yawn. It feels I might fall off with one

more step. The candle of my optimism is burning at both the ends and

depleting fast. A faint hope still fails to succumb that ‘good times’

shall prevail.

And then the tiny creature gives a glimpse of those ‘good times’ when

she finally closes her eyes gently.

Her eyes are now half closed and she is watching through the cracks as

if keeping a vigil on me if I am tending her properly or not. The

cracks get closed a little later.

All of a sudden there is a spring in my feet. With renewed vigor I now

take giant strides and sing with borrowed flair. If I made that extra

effort I might induce her for an ‘uninterrupted stretch’ of sleep (the

sixth sense comes to its calling). The very thought of an

‘uninterrupted stretch’ gives me goose bumps of pleasure.

Convinced that the moment has finally arrived I return to the room.

Her zombie mommy wonders if she is needed to feed her again. ‘She is

sleeping’, I tell her in gestures. I cannot take the risk of making

any noise. The zombie mommy takes a sigh of relief that hardly looks

like a sigh of relief. She knows, and knows it real hard, that it

won’t last for long.

I establish the little thing back to her bedding. Looking at her

angelic face I kiss her forehead and tap her gently. ‘Goodnight

honey’, I whisper to her, and then take yet another plunge to my side

of the bed.

Dear Sleep, come now; take me over, I entreat with enthusiasm. Slowly

the Sleep arrives to take me onboard. I would be gone for a while,

though not entirely. For, a part of me would stay back, all alert,

waiting for the ‘Time Bomb’ to strike back.

My ‘Subconscious’ that is.

                                                                        ~Atul Kapoor

                                                                            Kanpur, India

2 Comments

  1. kopal dhawan kapoor says:

    Zombie looking mommy….. sob…sob….,though beautifully expressed… gift from a father to his daughter on Daughter’s day(I know you dont actually know such days) …

  2. Aww… you brought back our memories too <3
    Only a parent can find the true pleasure in this pain :)
    A blessing in disguise it is!!
    Hearty congratulations to the proud parents.. and ofcourse.. best wishes too (you know why :D )
    God bless.

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