“We have to. Its part of the tradition”, says my mom. With so much love.
To fact that our one year old daughter will be tonsured and have her ear pierced is something that we were reconciled to, but haven’t been able to come to terms with.
“Will it hurt?” Asks the missus.
“Well, you are the one that wants it and besides, wears the earring. Some recollections would help”. I quip. Half in jest. But only half.
For the missus has already bought a variety of fancy earrings just for the little one. Each purchase warranting a special trip and intimate analysis and design that if it were applied to other matters like economics, for instance, would have won her a Nobel Prize and pulled the world out of recession!
‘We’ll do the ‘Gun-shot’ thing’. The missus adds. “It’s quick. Non messy. And relatively less painful”.
I can say for sure that the missus has done the research, looked up the web, watched countless YouTube videos, checked with the doc and is ready to go. Yet, the notion of pain is difficult for her to take. For me too.
“And may I ask”, I persist, “what does ‘relatively-less-painful’ mean”? Silence engulfs the room. And returns whenever we discuss the topic.
The tonsuring is something that we think will go off easy. The ear piercing is a different matter altogether. I am all super duper anxious. Mildly put. So is the missus.
That was a month ago.
Today, in the morning, the tonsuring was done. A small family ceremony. Ancestral home. Eager beaver relatives. Garlands. Prayers. And such else. She wailed and wailed. Seated on one of her grandpa’s laps and under the watchful eyes of another, locks of hair kissed the stone floor as a practiced hand worked to perfection. 15 minutes was all it required.
Her wailing continued till the time she discovered that her head was indeed a nice round thing to touch, play and laugh! She was ever so cheerful after that! Its evening now. We are now at a beauty parlour for the ear piercing business. The traditional way of piercing ears has been negotiated out of. This one, we were promised ‘would be over in a minute’.
“Will it hurt”. I ask. Tentatively.
The young lady at the beauty parlour smiles, as she walks in with a small contraption and a set of other instruments. . “Are you her dad”, she asks. I nod.
She smiles. “Slightly”. She says. She has handled many fathers, I can tell.
“But then, she will have a new pair of ears”. She adds and surveys the ear. Cursory instructions are passed on how to hold her. She could well have been saying ‘one more kilo of potatoes please’. But her confidence had a calming effect.
In a brief while, the first shot is fired. Screams engulf the room. A lump that is larger than the rock of Gibraltar sits in my throat.
In a jiffy the second shot is fired. She lets off another volley of wails. She is in pain. Or maybe the discomfort. Or perhaps she wasn’t held well. Whatever. Tears well in my eyes.
I notice that the missus is in tears already. The beauty parlour lady smiles. And says, ‘done’.
I am glad it’s over. I grab our little girl and whizz out of the room. On to the road and let the others do whatever else remains to be done like settling the bill and such else. She is still wailing. I try to calm her down. I sing. I show her the bikes and cars on the road. I even pull my tongue out, which mildly amuses her every time. She is in no mood to be amused today.
On a whim, I peep into the rear view mirror of a parked bike.
For the first time, she sees her ears. And the new additions to those lovely lobes. The wailing gradually stops. Curiosity makes its stealthy march. After an elaborate fifteen seconds or so, of intense staring into the mirror, a smile escapes her lips.
I shake my head and say, “Congratulations on a new pair of ears”. A few babbles and cackles escape her mouth. I have a strange feeling she understood what I said.
I sigh. A big sigh. Of relief. I hold her and say, ‘Happy New Ear’. She still is looking into the rear view mirror.
I wrote this post for www.parentrous.com. It first appeared there !