Friday, February 23, 2018

First Touch

Painting, Interpretation of First touch, Human Touch

November 1987, do I remember the first touch? Wrapped in a white cotton cloth, hands and legs tucked in, bit bigger than my father’s two palms together. The skin was red and felt if touched will wet the finger tips. So small and delicate but yet so complex and amazing, a living breathing human baby and that is me for you. It won’t have been my mother that touched me first because I was born in a hospital and a doctor pulled me out into the world first and a nurse cleaned me up and put me by the side of my mother. First touch is the one which is remembered, it is by the one who did the touch or by the one who received it. Both the doctor and nurse have no reason to remember by birth other than as one of many of their tensed day’s work. Do I remember my mother’s first touch, I don’t but the thought of it makes my brain project my mother in front of me. It is not a high resolution image but a blurry one, stuffed with her voice in it, her smell and lots and lots of her emotions that I am so familiar with that it makes a mush of a memory from which I can’t distinguish what, when or where. With that mushy memory I can feel her presence around me, standing next to me though we are miles away from each other.

September 2009, do I remember the first touch? It was in the midst of a festival celebration, the entire college was in a mood of ecstasy. We both walked swiftly into a class room on the first floor. She stood near the entrance door inched from the room wall with her back facing it. Both my hands, palm pressed on the wall trapping her head in between. She looked up into my face; her brown eyes were searching for mine and soon got stuck to it. She looked into me and through me; I leaned forward towards her and pressed to her partly opened plum lips with mine. I do remember the first touch of her lips, I felt the softness of her lips and the sudden warmth as the blood rushed in to make it even merrier and sweet. How long we stayed like that I don’t remember but it was a feeling that my brain won’t forget till it ends.

May 2016, do I remember the first touch? We both agreed to have our child to be born in her home in Palakkad. We haven’t experienced this aspect of life yet and handling the emotional frenzy at the time of birth without the comfort of her mother was unthinkable. The other think that would have been unthinkable was me instead of her mother, the sole culprit of all her pain, patting her shoulders and comforting her while she alone suffers for our fruit of labor. It’s a mystery to me how she can forgive me and the child for all the inhuman pain she felt for hours. Is it the first sight of the innocent being that she gave birth to that made her forget about it or is it simply the extraordinary beauty of being a woman. I flew home after our baby was born. We had been apart for almost 3 months by then, technology kept us close in these times though not close enough to feel each other’s warmth and comfort. As soon as we were alone in our room I hugged her gently, both my hands held her head towards mine and kissed her on the forehead. She smiled and looked into my eyes, they were sparkling with joy and soon tear filled her lower lids. I kissed her again and tear started flowing down her lashes and wetted her cheeks. She turned her head and showed me towards the bed. I followed her and on the bed fast asleep was a small fragile being. The calmness of the universe was visible in her sleep, don’t wake her and cause a chaos in the universe, I thought. I sat down on the bed quietly next to her and ran my fingers over her small forehead, touching her skin and stroking her black greasy hair. Do I remember the first touch, I do, I do, I do.

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