The Unpregnant Mother -2

After 2 days of Ankita’s funeral, my husband and I went to see the twins, who were kept in the NICU for they were premature. Their files read Baby 1 and Baby 2 of  Ankita.  While Baby 1 was fine, Baby 2 had health issues. She had to be operated for her intestines were punctured. While she survived the operation at an age of 15 days,  she had a cholestomy.

After a month of that, it was time to take a decision on the babies to get them home. In those days of moaning we simply could not manage to take a decision amidst the chaos and the terrible mental state. The only solution we had was that I take over for the time being. I was not sure  if I would be the Mother, but for that moment I was.

So the first thing I did was request the Nurses to stop calling them Baby 1 and Baby 2. We had  not thought of the names in all that chaos – but well- we had nicknames to use –  since Baby 1 was really pink in colour, AND she was born in Pink City, I decided to  call her Pink. And since baby 2 was her soul mate, I  decided to rhyme it with ‘Pari’. Thus were born Pink and Pari, again – to me,to us.

I had to stay with them in the hospital for a few days before they could be exposed to the outside world. I waited nervously in the hospital room. They said  that day 1 I should  only have 1 baby with me. So Pink was brought to me.I held her in my arms – wrapped in a blanket to add to her frail little body. She was really pink and so beautiful! I immediately felt a strong attachment towards her – an unspoken bond I could not explain. Maybe biology has little  to do with it.

I spent the entire day with her – feeding her top milk when she cried and putting her to sleep or changing her diapers.  I had already learnt a lot – but yet it had to seep in.

Day 2 was the turn of Baby 2 – Pari. Due to her surgery she had shorter food cycles and almost every hour she needed to be fed or her dressing had to be done. Sometimes every ten minutes, sometimes every hour. It was a painstaking job, and along with Pink it was even tougher.

Yes I had help in the room – Ankita’s sisters were there to help throughout. But those 6 days in the hospital with almost no sleep, feeding and dressing and changing diapers or  putting them to sleep in hope that they won’t wake up for straight 2 hours, life was crazy. I was disheveled, acidic and frustrated.  I called up my husband in panic and he promised me he would sort things out. But never even once did the thought cross my mind that I am not going to do this. I never felt even once that they are not my kids or  why the hell should I go through the pain and challenge?

After 2 weeks  of nurturing them, it  was time to take Pink and Pari  to their new home. It was an unspoken decision between my husband and I that we would take care of  the  babies till things with his Brother were better. He had lost a spouse  - one of  the worst things to happen to any person at this young an age. We did whatever we could to help – and taking care of  the twins at  that moment was the best we could. So we packed up and brought Pink Pari to Mumbai. And thus began my journey as The Unpregnant Mother.

The Unpregnant Mother- 1

Usually women have 9 months to prepare for Motherhood. But I barely had 9 days. Imagine being a Mom, overnight without ever being pregnant :

7th May 2012. Ankita, My sister in law in Jaipur was expecting twins. She had contracted jaundice despite the best care and  precautions and thus was being admitted in the hospital. That was the last I spoke with her.

9th May 2012 – We got a call that they had to operate on her to save the twins and all three were critical. We rushed to Jaipur.

10th May 2012 – The twins were ok, but the Mother wasn’t.

11th May 2012 – Her condition deteriorated. She was on the ventilator.

12th – 14th May 2012- We prayed and desperately tried to get her back. It was not possible, I thought to myself, that something unthinkable would happen to  her. She was younger to me. Fit and fine 5 days ago. How could she be on the verge of dying? She had a little son and now twins to take care of.

15th May 2012 – The Doctors had given up hope. I went in the ICU to pray next to her believing in a miracle. At first I could not recognise her – her face was swollen and yellow. Only her heart seemed to be showing signs of life.  We  were losing her. The family members came one by one to see her -probably for the last time.  Why did I still believe that she will wake up and smile?  But she did not – she  did  not survive and we lost her.

I can’t even say we were shocked. I don’t have other words to explain. What I can say the next few days were like a blur – the funeral, a horde of relatives, the memorial and being strong is all I remember. And the twins? Well..our love story has just begun …. (read more)

 

Why the title ‘The Bad Touch’

Purists have often questioned or vent their discontent for the use of the title ‘The Bad Touch’ instead of the correct version of ‘Safe / Unsafe / Confusing Touch’. Let’s get this right: First, when I started writing the book the technical guidelines about Child Sex Abuse still mentioned these concepts as ‘Bad Touch. Good Touch’.                                                                                                   Second, this is a book – a piece of literature. Hence the title The Bad Touch seems more appropriate for its lateral connotation than Safe /Unsafe Touch which sound more clinical. However, in the documented practical guidelines used in the book we have referred  to it as Safe /Unsafe and Confusing touch.         And third, the book and its content has been ratified by Dr Lois Engelbrecht – Founder of the Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse in the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam as well as the team at the NGO Arpan.

So for the sake of argument, yes it might seem incorrect to use The Bad Touch technically. But in the end this is a book and not an official white paper on CSA.  And it deserves a title most suitable which encompasses the essence of the story creatively  rather than adhere strictly to white and black.

However I am game for further debate and discussion on this topic :) One can mail us their suggestions  to authorpayal@gmail.com.

 

How I wrote ‘The Bad Touch’

May 2009 is when I started my research for ‘The Bad Touch’. After several meetings with Harish I got his story in place. And to add weight to the cause of the book I sourced a lot of factual research material from Pooja Taparia (Founder of the NGO Arpan) and her team, Childline 1098 and other credible sources.

After the first manuscript I was asked to add more stories to make the book more complete.  It was very difficult to find true accounts as understandably most survivors would refrain from sharing. However with the help of my network, my husband, a few friends and Harish, I collected some more inspiring stories of Anurag Kashyap, Amrita Purkayastha and other people which helped the Bad Touch evolve.  And of course, renowned author Shobhaa De, who encouraged me and helped the book see light of day in her own way.

Once the manuscript was ready, the tougher battle began – that of finding a publisher. It took me almost two years and over 15 rejections to ultimately find the right publisher for a book this serious. And I must thank my publisher Hayhouse India for believing in the book and taking it on to publish it. The issue of Child Sex Abuse in India has severe dearth of reading material which is readily accessible to people on an offline public domain (unlike Internet). So it was important that The Bad Touch, in the form of a book, should fulfil the gap.

May 2009 is when I started my research for ‘The Bad Touch’. After several meetings with Harish I got his story in place. And to add weight to the cause of the book I sourced a lot of factual research material from Pooja Taparia (Founder of the NGO Arpan) and her team, Childline 1098 and other credible sources.

After the first manuscript I was asked to add more stories to make the book more complete.  It was very difficult to find true accounts as understandably most survivors would refrain from sharing. However with the help of my network, my husband, a few friends and Harish, I collected some more inspiring stories of Anurag Kashyap, Amrita Purkayastha and other people which helped the Bad Touch evolve.  And of course, renowned author Shobhaa De, who encouraged me and helped the book see light of day in her own way.

Once the manuscript was ready, the tougher battle began – that of finding a publisher. It took me almost two years and over 15 rejections to ultimately find the right publisher for a book this serious. And I must thank my publisher Hayhouse India for believing in the book and taking it on to publish it. The issue of Child Sex Abuse in India has severe dearth of reading material which is readily accessible to people on an offline public domain (unlike Internet). So it was important that The Bad Touch, in the form of a book, should fulfill the gap.