When it began, I had no clue what it was or what I was in for.
I’d been up all night running tests on my final solar battery model and getting all excited with the results when a sudden sharp electric pain shot down the outside of my left arm and I yelled out. It was a cry—equally of surprise because I hadn’t done anything to cause it. Instinctively, I rubbed my elbow when I felt a burning sensation. As if I’d stuck my arm inside the fireplace. It was so intense that I burst into a sweat. I cradled my arm and rushed into the kitchen and grabbed one of Ruhi’s readymade ice packs from the freezer (the ones she used for her frequent headaches even though her OB had told her it was okay to take Tylenol in her condition but my darling wife didn’t want to take any chance with the health of our baby). The shock of cold did help ease the agony a slght degree that I was able to examine my arm to see if I’d been bitten by a spider or something else. We were getting an extension built – an extra room and bath for Ruhi’s parents and in the process a lot of the yard had been dug up. Besides, it was summertime, and the bugs were starting to show up everywhere.
I couldn’t find any redness or anything else that looked like a bug bite. By now the pain had reduced to a dull throb which was mild enough to ignore. I went back to work and forgot about it till it came back later that evening.
Ruhi was past due. It was getting on forty-two weeks and she hadn’t felt even a flicker of contraction. She was worried even though our doc had reassured us everything was fine when we’d gone for our twice weekly visit yesterday. It was quite understandable, I think. After the mishap last year which Ruhi still blamed herself for, she had become hypervigilant. Everything had to be perfect with the pregnancy– her weight, her vital signs, the measurements at the doctor’s office, everything. Hence, this delay was putting an extraordinary stress on her.
I’d insisted on taking care of the meals for the past few weeks, hoping it’d help her out. She had reduced it to just dinner, she said if she didn’t do anything, she’d go mad.
“Besides, I can’t eat sandwiches and pizza every day, can I Shaan?” she said with that familiar pout of her lips.
I’m pretty sure I was a lot more resourceful than that, but I forgave her. I’d forgive her anything when she looked at me like that.
“Damn the heat. I’m sweating like a pig.” Ruhi rushed through the screen side-door and headed straight for the refrigerator. “But I can’t complain. I have twenty-four-seven electricity for a never-ending supply of ice and a husband who’s not just gorgeous to look at but also cooks dinner for me. Now, what more could a pregnant woman ask for except for her mom? How I wish she was here.”
“Come now darling.” I steered my flustered wife to the recliner. “You know she’d be here, if not for her passport. Who knew the process would get delayed so long even in these times?”
“Those people there you know—they won’t move an inch till you line their pockets with cash. And dad insists on playing by the rules. Why couldn’t he lay them aside just this once? For the sake of his only child?”
It wasn’t a passport that was keeping Ruhi’s mother from being with her daughter, it was something far more serious. Ruhi’s dad had suffered a heart attack and had been forbidden from traveling for six months. He called it a minor thing and had urged Ruhi’s mom to travel alone but she wouldn’t leave his side. I’d told her not to worry. I’ll take care of my wife, their daughter. She was my responsibility as well. Though I don’t think I was really doing a good job. Besides I felt guilty for lying to Ruhi, but her mom had persuaded me. She’d said Ruhi wouldn’t take it well and I agreed.
“Now how about checking out this sparkling nimbu pani, made exclusively for you by your gorgeous husband?” My heart lightened when I saw the smile on Ruhi’s face but then I dropped the damn thing. The glass slipped out of my hand and shattered on the floor, making a mess. The pain was back with a vengeance.
How did Ruhi and Shaan get here? Check out their back story in Inconvenient Relations and Now and Forever. Buy links here.