Nineteen years ago, this day was a boon we have been eagerly waiting for. However, this day came upon me unexpectedly, with 25 days to spare.
That was a miserable year for our family, especially your sister and me. Our tremendous loss had left us reeling. So, two months after, I decide to visit the house and the station I had left in a hurry. A government property, I must clear out and handover. Taking courage, at start of the ninth month, with 25 days on hand, I, along with a party comprising your sister, grandmother, uncle, and cousin, decide to travel.
A child chooses his place of birth. Boarding the train, I knew that I might be in labour. An overnight journey, I spent it taking some pills given by my gynaecologist, praying that I should at least reach Jammu station.
Alighting at the station, I decide to stay. I should not take a further journey. Some friends receiving us at the station took us home, to the Air Force station, and brought in station doctor to check. I was indeed in labour. We went to the Military Hospital and checked in.
It took me the entire day, and at 19:19 in the evening, a very tired me delivered you, my precious, my joy, my hope, my sunshine.
Both the kids, your sister and your cousin, were beside themselves with joy to see a baby amidst them. All the Air Force friends from our station had arrived to see you. You decided to be a Jammu boy, and we have been calling you ‘Jammu ka Dogra’ ever since. You brought that much needed joy and hope for your sister and your mother. We have been obsessing with you since. We have often felt, and said that we would have loved to have you, as twins, and even that would not be enough. Imagine the magnitude of love that we hold for you.
Today you complete nineteen, a man, and not a teenager anymore. You make me proud, a fine young man. I hope and pray to God that I have successfully given you the upbringing that a good mother should to a good son. I am thrilled to bits seeing your nerdy side, when you score a 95% in the XII board exams, or when you score well in JEE to do B.Tech from one of the finest colleges in Delhi, or when your passion is video games and spend nights playing your new favourites.
I remember the horror you expressed last year, when right after your result, I sent you alone to Mumbai to be with your cousin, by air notwithstanding. It was the day that I accepted you as an adult. It was the day that I expressed my desire for you to leave the cocoon and become a butterfly.
Not far from today will come a time, when you will leave the protective shadows of your mother, sister, and grandmother. You will be no longer just a student. Whatever vocation you choose, whichever life companion you choose, stay a beautiful person that you are. Do not lose that innocence, that forthright thinking, that compassion. Life will throw many challenges, and I will pray that all are surmountable. Take them with an open mind, discuss with the family and the people you trust, sleep over them. Solutions will always be around the corner. Do not lose your faith in God, and do not forget Him ever.
Most importantly, you are very modest, not realising your significance. You do not give much thought to the effects that you have on people, and underestimate yourself. That is reflected in ‘could not care less’ attitude. Take heed, my sweetheart. You bring sunshine that you do not realise. There is serenity to you that will make more people to seek you. I know that you will not be thrown by this fact; you might not even believe me to give it another thought. However, be considerate to people when sought, and give them some thought without disdain and distrust.
You deserve all the love in the world. You are my Krishna and my world. Stay blessed and shine on. Using the cliché, I must say that the world indeed is your oyster. The skies are for your taking and you should spread your wings and conquer them. I still love to hum that song from ‘Aradhana’ for you, a mother’s affection for her son – ‘chanda hai tu mera sooraj hai, o meri aankhon ka tara hai tu…’ (You are my moon and my sun, and the stars in my eyes…the apple of my eye…). May God’s graces are always bestowed on you.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||