“Rigzin…he has a good name,” said my Acho (elder brother) as he extended his right arm to pinch the cheek of my younger child. “Yes he has,” seconded my sister in-law. I glanced at my wife. She was busy pulling up the stockings of our child. My brother and sister in-law have come at our place to meet us since we haven’t met for the last couple of months. Their conversations made me observe my child’s face once again. I stared on the face of my child not knowing how to clarify them.
“No wai, child is a girl,” not a polite way, I thought, this would only embarrass them.
“No Acho, child is a girl,” sounds decent but this would still put some sort of discomforts in them. I wondered for couple of minutes not knowing how to clarify them.
“Rigzin Yangzom,” I happened to call my child suddenly. It wasn’t my intention to clarify them like that, but it did the job even more awkwardly when my brother got alerted, “Is the child girl? I thought the child is a boy.”
I could see and feel the discomforts spread over his face as he leaned backward over the sofa with a smile. I said, “It’s okay Acho. Everyone calls her Kota at their first sight.” Kota means a boy.
“Yes, yes she appears like a boy to everyone,” added my wife and then she went on describing few incidents when she had to clarify this to her friends and neighbours.
Yangki, my sister in-law and a college student would call her jokingly, “Kota Tha Odo,” meaning “Boy, come here” during her brief visits to our place.
I would have been the happiest man on the earth had she been what others see in her. In fact, my wife and I hoped and prayed for a boy since we already have a daughter. But not all wishes are fulfilled and not all prayers are answered. If it does happen the way everyone wishes and prays, then everyone would become the master of their own destiny, losing the whole charm of life.
While screams of would be mothers became the music of both pain and joy on that floor, would be fathers stood at every door eagerly waiting for their much anticipated news to break in. On 28th June, 2010, the day she was born, I stood at the door of one of the labour rooms of the JDWNRH, patiently waiting to hear from the nurses there, “Congratulations! You are blessed with a beautiful male child.” It was the second time my wife is experiencing this trauma and for the second time I was thinking, “No, this is enough now. Hereafter I’ll not let my wife suffer anymore.” I was increasingly feeling the pain and was getting sick of hearing all those painful screams. I walked from one corner to another but this doesn’t help my mind that kept worrying, for anything could happen to my wife and the child anytime in the process of delivery.
I frequently murmured, “Kenchog Sum, please do not let anything happen to my wife and the child.” I was getting impatient to hear the first cry of our baby. There was no cry of a baby from the labour room where my wife was but, I could hear my wife talk with nurses much relieved. Soon after, I heard one of the nurses say, “You have a beautiful daughter. She is kept under oxygen supply; it should be fine in few minutes.” Hearing this I stood there in dismay for our wishes weren’t fulfilled. But at the same time I remained much relieved for my wife had a safe delivery. I thanked Kencho Sum for that. After the nurses left the room, I approached my wife thinking she must be unhappy over this. On the other hand she was worried that I may not like to hear this and said hesitantly, “Did you know we’ve another…” I stepped in; “Yes another beautiful daughter,” as I kissed her on the forehead. “I’m fine with that,” I assured her and we were celebrating the birth of our second child with smiles on our faces.
After about few minutes, my wife announced, “I’m not going for the third. I had enough of this pain now.”
“But what happens to our son that we both dreamt of, day in and day out?” I asked.
“If a child is good, even a girl would be as good as a boy,” she responded with slight annoyance.
“Very true,” I thought as I packed our things to get back to the bed No. B3 of the Maternity Ward.
As our child grew day by day, she appeared more like a boy than a girl to the eyes of our relatives, friends and neighbours. Everyone would mistake her for a male child, which in a way renders a sense of satisfaction to me, for I always wished my second to be a son who carried prominent nasal features of mine.
One morning, as I opened my facebook page Mr. R.P. Singh, my High School Chemistry teacher was online. We never met after I went to college, so I thought it was a good opportunity to share few words online and I sent “Hi” to him.
“Hi, you have a complete family now,” he wrote seeing my family photographs on the facebook.
“Not complete, Sir. I do not have a son yet.”
There was no reply for a moment. He wasn’t typing either as it was not indicated at the base of our chat conversations page.
“Be happy with what God has given to you. I don’t have a daughter, but I adopted many girls and they are like my daughters,” came in his reply after few seconds.
“Whatever God gives you accept it and go on,” he continued.
“Thank you Sir, for your words of wisdom,” I wrote back and stopped.
“Atta, you could go for the third and have a son ni,” one of my friends said from behind my shoulders. It seems he followed all my chat conversations discreetly. “Ah…no, I’m planning for a son elsewhere man,” I cracked a dry joke.
While he stood beside me laughing, I was taken over by a certain thought: How many fathers, mothers or parents in this world would have had similar wish like mine? How many of them would have realized their wishes? I’ve seen people who wished for sons land up with many daughters and those wishing for daughters land up with many sons. Our insatiable desires and cravings for something ultimately give us more sorrows than joys. Such is the twist in life that none can unfold. Therefore, I seek solace in the words of my Chemistry Teacher, “Whatever God gives you accept it and go on.”
Yeah! I’ve a daughter who looks like a son, at least, in the eyes of others. It’s as good as saying, “I too have a son in my family.”