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Thursday, June 6, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 25

Rayyan's Loving Fussy Aunt


When I was pregnant with Rayyan, all were happy that there is child coming into our home after nearly 15 years. There is no doubt that the happiest person was my elder sister Surila. She was somehow sceptical about having children of her own, one of the reasons could be the phobia she had towards needles and doctors since her childhood. I was the confident and trusting one with doctors and she was the opposite.
Since the day she heard that I would be having a baby, the pampering, planning and imaginations started running wild in her. When I had a regular scan in my third trimester, she pleaded with the doctor to check the gender of the child, which was not allowed in the hospital. But she kept pestering and also assured how precious this child was for us. We did not go for gender test but during the scan the doctor said it must be a girl but was not sure. My sister’s joy knew no bounds on hearing it. Even I was very happy. The only person who was disappointed by this was my brother. He grew up among three sisters and was expecting another boy to join our family.
When Rayyan was born, my sister was shocked to know it was a boy, but it lasted only a minute because the next minute she fell completely in love with him. She took it upon himself to take care of him, like bathing, dressing and his routines other than feeding which I had to do because only I had breast milk. Otherwise someone would have done that as well. Apart from the nights when Rayyan slept from 8 pm to 7 am, he was completely taken care of by my sisters, brother, mom and dad.
My sister would claim that he is the best disciplined child in the whole world quite often and would want me to agree to it as well, which I wouldn’t do. He was so precious to her that she never took him to bathroom to have his bath until he was around 8 months old. 

Until then, believe me- he was bathed in our living room. I wouldn’t be a part of this drama but my mom and my sister would do it themselves after a thorough oil massage for him. There were three different powder puffs for the baby. . If any time I mixed up the puffs, my sister would be very upset. There was no way for me to just say, “That baby is so cute”, before she would start off with her own arguments of how Rayyan was better. The cradle should not creak when I put him in it so that his sleep doesn’t get disturbed. I have been patient, very very patient with all the fussiness going around in home back then.

Pink for the face, yellow for the body and blue for the bums. If any time I mixed up the puffs, my sister would be very upset.
Rayyan was a fussy eater and her main task of the day was to feed him his cereals. She would spend hours with different toys and fun for him to eat his food. 

The child with all the love and attention became very calm and so cool that he seldom had the chance to cry at all. Many would tell me that he would grow into a completely spoiled brat, which never happened.
The first separation they had was when my sister had to visit our native village with her husband. Rayyan ended up with fever which did not go down at all with medications. On the 7th day my sister arrived and he was kicking fit the next day. Life went on and when Rayyan was a bit over 3 years my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to her apprehensions about cancer treatment and also the fear of the side effects which she had seen in my dad, she refused to go for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Rayyan got his share of attention even when she was going through cancer, though some of the tasks got shifted to me. I was pregnant with Farheena as well at the time of her diagnosis. I struggled a lot to cope up with many issues back then and was at loss most of the times. Rayyan was completely confused with the change in our home environment. Farheena was born, she was diagnosed with brain atrophy and later I was diagnosed with cancer. You can imagine how this changes must have affected the child who was pampered with three different powder puffs.
He never asked many questions nor made any demands. He would silently get lost in paintings or drawing various pictures. We were so lost in our own chaotic world that we never gave a thought to what Rayyan was going through. But later on I realized a little bit of it through his paintings what he must have gone through emotionally during those two years.
April 1996 I had my surgery and June 6th 1996 my sister lost her battle with cancer. She was the liveliest, happiest, most energetic and physically very strong person but she had to go too early. I was in Byndoor when she passed away and couldn’t be there to have a last look at her due to my husband lying to me. When we arrived, her last rites were over and she was gone physically forever. I say physically because I feel her presence, especially regarding Rayyan at times, but being a rational person I find it very hard to accept or write in public about it.
My family decided to lie to Rayyan about his dear aunt and kept telling him that she finally decided to take treatment and was in hospital now. But four months later, I decided that he should know the truth. I consulted Mr. Ali Khwaja, a counsellor with helping hand regarding this and he was of same opinion. So, I had the tough time of explaining to a five year old about what had happened and about death. I had to assure him that I will fight it out with right treatment and will be there for him because I could read that question in his eyes. He kept staring at my bald head as I said this, because for him that was scary thing. My loss of hair due to chemo immediately followed my sister’s death and that must have scared him so much.
When we told Rayyan my sister was in hospital, he would keep asking me when she is going to come back, how was she etc. But once I talked to him, he never asked about her again. 24 years have gone by, but he hasn’t questioned or asked anything about his loving aunt. He changed completely and became more independent. So far as I discuss her with him, tell him about our childhood stories and some funny incidents which I recall, he listens but doesn’t respond. He had his own way dealing with grief and he handled it silently on his own. I wish I could have helped him better. We all miss her and express it so often. I know Rayyan does too, but he keeps silent over it.






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