Anuja and I got married in 2008. Nearly a decade ago. Ever since, initially subtly, subsequently not as subtly, friends, family and ‘well wishers’ started advising us to have a child. And we kept putting it off, furnishing from the most cliche to some pretty far fetched alibis. In the meantime, all our contemporaries, school and college friends, cousins around the same age, were having them babies galore!
This necessitated a rather interesting phase in our marital lives. Because people we’d normally hang out with got busy with new parenthood, we had to seek company elsewhere. In Bombay at the time, we fell happily into a friend circle that comprised mostly of folks about a decade older than us, couples whose kids had gone past the ‘constant supervision’ stage with children well into their pre-teens (which brings its own set of unique parenting challenges but at least does not demand the kind of time and effort that the initial years of a baby does). We were blissful and merry, having become an integral part of this large parents group that I suspect was trying to reclaim its own youth, having spent the past ten odd years in dedicated service of their children.
Between Anuja and I, we were sure that we didn’t want to have a child in Bombay. For all its libertarian values, free-spirited ethos, and rewards for the driven, the thought of having a kid there and have the kid say, “there’s my school on the 2nd floor of that building”; to two North Indians who’d been fortunate enough to attend schools and colleges with a ‘campus’, this was an inconceivable situation.
Then some four years back, we moved bag and baggage to Jaipur, my hometown. And though we didn’t discuss it specifically, I think we’d both individually, and as a couple, arrived at that point. The point where we felt we were ready. And so we had our beautiful daughter Krisha.
Krisha is now almost a year old, I am almost 38, Anuja, 37. By any standard, we’d be considered ‘older’ parents. Especially in a city like Jaipur (that errs on the side of orthodox), we are at least a decade older than couples who’s have kids around the same time as us! That makes for an interesting situation again, thankfully, mostly a humorous one. I keep joking with Anuja, that these parents want to themselves address Anuja and I as ‘uncle aunty’, what will their kids (who are Krisha’s contemporaries) call us!?
I’ve also come to the realization that I am too old for this! Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic being a parent, particularly to a baby girl. But boy is it hard to keep up. I mean literally keep up. I’m getting physiotherapy for my back as I write this, my knees hurt, and I feel exhausted carrying, chasing, and playing with Pishu!
But here’s the thing. There really isn’t a right or a wrong time for a couple to have a child. There will always be justified arguments on both sides – to have kids early, and to have kids late. But this is beyond cold logic. It is a decision that ought to be made when it ‘feels’ right. For both parties involved. Its an intangible, unquantifiable, almost indefinable feeling that you either get, or you don’t get. And if you get it, then take the plunge. All the merits of having kids when we’re young, all the disadvantages of having them when we’re not so young, pale when the time is ‘right’ for YOU!
Anuja and I are absolutely loving being parents, even though we’d be considered ‘older’ parents. Age is just a number. The Time however, must be RIGHT!