Watermelon and Horlicks – by Satya Sarada K.

Story by Satya Sarada K.

Hey there! I was always one of those girls who was ready to be a mom since I was about eight years old. I showered all my maternal love on my doll, Yoski. I really wished it would eat!

Fast forward to when I was about 24, I married my college sweetheart. Two years into the marriage, I despaired about ever conceiving. I wanted to be a mom by 25 at the latest. I lost hope, stopped testing, and even stopped tracking my periods.

One day, I visited my aunt. She did the enquiries and was horrified that I wasn’t tracking my periods and took me to visit a doctor. The doctor confirmed that I was indeed pregnant – a month in, if I recall. Bliss!

During this time, I loved eating whole watermelons. Hated eggs. I was teaching engineering classes at that time. Surprisingly, three of my colleagues and three of my cousins conceived around the same time. I used to take a taxi to work during my pregnancy instead of the local trains, following my doctor’s advice. That nearly used up my whole salary. So the college allowed me to teach on alternate days.

The family decided that I should have my baby in the city where my parents lived, just in case. I took a very long maternity leave (mostly unpaid, if I recall correctly). Here, I was pampered and overfed. My friend’s mom told me that If I drank lots of Horlicks I would never have to worry about enough milk for the baby. There is also a theory that if you drink saffron milk, the baby will get a very good complexion. That was out of budget though. The Horlicks tip worked.

My parents lived on a beautiful university campus. I went for lovely walks every day. I bought the entire collection of Asterix comics that I could get at the campus bookstore. And a book on Chinese Horoscopes that said my child would be wonderful.

There were lots of functions, gifts and visits. One day, my baby stopped moving and we were very scared. Then there was some nice music on the television and the baby started kicking again. My mother-in-law declared that my son would be a great musician.

All the tests and measurements were fine. The ultrasound doctor told me I would have a son. That was exactly what I wanted. Being a girl was so restrictive. A son could go off on his own, travel the world and have adventures!

Then… It was time. My contractions started and I was admitted to the hospital. But, no baby. I was brought home again and given my favorite food. If the mom has a pending wish, the baby will refuse to be born. That was a theory. I had contractions for a week and I was admitted again. Given the saline drip. Still no baby. Then I heard the doctors saying “fetal distress”. And “emergency caesarian.” They gave me general anesthesia. All I felt was a swish, swish, swish. And suddenly, a doctor said, “You have a handsome son. He looks like a movie star”. And I saw, for the first time, the love of my life. C’est la vie!

When and where will the 8 Billionth person be born?