Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It must have been the early morning sunlight steadily pouring through the glass window of the hospital. Everything in the nursery seemed awash then with a soft golden glow. It was the first time I saw her since she came out of her mother’s womb. Her skin was so fair and radiant that for a moment there I thought she was going to disappear and turn into pure light. Peace and contentment emanated from her face. Past sorrows and worries of people around her simply dissolved in that impervious aura of tranquility. Yasodhara would have been her name – Prince Siddhatta’s cousin, wife and disciple. Instead, the older sister would name her after the lead singer of a popular Irish band. But through time, everybody would settle for the nickname. Goddess of fertility, flow, comfort and ease.

Though her existence in the next few years would be far from being always smooth, comfortable and easy. At two, she would spend a year with her aunts and cousins, away from her sisters and parents. The first time I visited her during this period, her reserved smiles barely revealed the bubbly demeanor of her tender first year. Her eyes, however, had retained those silent look of acceptance and equanimity. Not the fearful and stubborn spirit of her older sister. Rather, it was more like the pliant strength of water that is able to flow easily around rocks and obstacles and to move on no matter what. A paralyzing sadness gripped the soul at the thought of her plight at that point and my own responsibility in it. But one thing her attitude then taught me was that hate could never put an end to vindictiveness.

Lately, I’ve been taking her and her younger sister out to the malls on weekends. The light that suffuses her being has not diminished a bit. On the contrary, it has grown and deepened through the years. People could perceive it in her sincere concern and curiosity whenever she inquires about me and her mother. A quite natural facility for silence and reflection now shows whenever she’s faced with a question or with the opening lines from a storybook. During one of these outings, she coaxed her mother into allowing her and her younger sister to spend the night with me at their grandmother’s place. Next day, waiting for the rain to stop at their grandparents’ house, she was impatient to go back to their mother’s place, worried that her mother might already be missing them.

Such recent encounters have made me reflect on my own place in her and her sisters’ lives these days. It has always been a shifting thing for me the past three to four years, filled with doubts, uncertainties and loose ends. In one of his books, Stephen Donaldson had one major character describe her father’s role in her upbringing: “He shielded my heart from unjust demands. He taught me that the anguishes and furies of my parents and their parents need not wrack or enrage me – that I was neither the cause nor the cure of their pain. He taught me that my life is my own – that I could share in the care and consolation of wounds without sharing the wounds, without striving to be the master of lives other than my own.” I just hope I live long enough to share these lessons to her.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

May you indeed be able to have the time and space to be able to share these thoughts to your daughter. soon. I admire the way you bare your soul in your writings! Thanks for sharing.