God’s Gift

It was July 21, 2008. Time is 8.50 pm. We were in the maternity hospital. A nurse came out of the labour room and held out a small bundle – a cute little girl who seemed to be looking at us with great curiosity. Her cheeks were of the size of a golf ball. Buried under the cheeks were two little inquisitive eyes. Her hair, a good crown on her head, had a ‘wet look’. Girls are so fashion conscious I thought, and it seems to begin from their first moment in this world.

My wife, Sulabha and I were very happy to receive the grand-daughter in the family. Our son Chandrashekhar and daughter in law Gandhali were the proud parents of this little girl. I was overjoyed to see Sulabha very happy. Her mother always wanted the first child to be a son and I had thought that she had inherited that attitude. I was happy that I was proven wrong.

My son, the proud new father, seemed to be saying a prayer to thank the Lord. A very anxious, highly strung man, he worried endlessly about the health of the child and her mother for nine months. Gandhali’s parents too were very happy. Suddenly it seemed that we wanted to talk a lot to each other but did not know what to say. Meanwhile the nurse had moved the baby to a room inside where she was kept under harsh lights. It was to provide warmth, I was told. It may be a good practice in medicine, but it seemed crude to me. Why do this to the new born? I enquired. We had already become so possessive, I realised!

I went to the room to look at the baby and Sulabha went there repeatedly. She could not hide her excitement. I asked my son, Chandrashekhar, whether he and Gandhali had decided on the name for the baby. He told me the name. It means ‘God’s Gift’ in an African language. I complimented him on the choice. Why go to african language for this word God’s Gift I wondered.

It is right, I then thought. After all the man was born in Africa. And with him, his God too!