Saturday, August 15, 2015

MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN AND MIDWIFE'S CHILDREN








Pic.: Sheela Mohan


Aunty Cecilia – my mom’s youngest sister – was a Midnight’s Child. Well, unlike the Midnight’s Children, made famous by Salman Rushdie in his novel, my aunt wasn’t born between 12 and 1 am on 15th August, 1947. She was born at 3… So, she wasn’t blessed with any special powers which Salman Rushdie’s midnight’s children were blessed with!


I had called aunty Cecilia. a while ago, to wish her. I asked her if she had heard about ‘midnight’s children’ and their special powers…


She hadn’t…


My mom, who was 12 when aunty Cecilia was born, remembers, vividly, the event… The euphoria hadn’t spared even this remote village called Karambar… Mom’s house, a mud-and-hay house, lay at the foot of a hill… It was surrounded by thick jungle… Wild animals, including tigers, lived in this jungle… One had to walk miles to get to the road… School, church, shop, doctor… everything was miles afar…


Those days, babies were delivered at home and not in the hospital… There were village midwives, who would be summoned to handle these deliveries… My mom told me, today, how tough it was that night… as people were out and away celebrating… 


What fascinated me the most was this: though the entire household was awake the whole night… that early Friday morning, my mom, along with her sisters and brothers, had left home at 5 to attend the mass at 6! It was a pious household… Mother Mary’s Feast of Assumption was an important event, too…


Just as the birth of our nation was... and, just as the birth of baby Cecilia, my aunt, was!


Aunty Cecilia became a nurse and spent close to four decades serving in the hospitals… including delivering babies…And, yes, many on 15th August morning… But, then, she alone knows how ‘special’ it feels to be born along with your nation!


Happy b’day my aunty, Cecilia… Live long, and live strong, just as we wish our nation to…


Happy b’day my India!      
         


GERALD D’CUNHA


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