We all have our share of stupidities, follies and then missed opportunities. I too have so many of those. But if I am given a chance to go back and change 'ONE THING' that happened in my life; this has to be it.
It was in December 2002 during the wedding of my cousin at a place called Shirali near Kundapur. My family of five, both of my sisters, both bothers in law and their kids had traveled from Kochi to Kundapur by a Tempo Traveler. It sure was a daunting journey. But it all comes out well when you're surrounded by your loved ones. So was it for us. Only hitch was that my 4 year old daughter was suffering from a respiratory infection with cold and cough. We were managing her with medicines and a lot of care.
Once in Kundapur, we had little time to relax and we had to reach Shirali for the function on the eve of the wedding. My wife and me had told our daughter not to run around during the function and to sit quiet like a good girl. But having my little niece Prajna for company with other kids joining, she did run around a bit.
And then in our hotel room in the night, she started to cough. We gave medicines and hot water, but there was no relief. Since it was well past midnight and we had a very important function next day, both me and my wife were irritated. Both of us started admonishing our little one, "Didn't we tell you not to run around? Didn't we tell you to sit quiet? Look at this now, you are suffering and we too can't sleep." As our decibels were increasing, our child looked up and with all the innocence of a 4 year old asked, "Appa, Amma, but what did I do?"
It was like a sinking feeling. I was almost gutted by guilt. I asked my wife, "But Vidya, what the hell are we doing? This is OUR child. Not some enemy and it is she who is suffering, not us" My wife's eyes too started to well up. I said the most pained 'SORRY' of my life to the most precious one in my life and then took her in my arms and put her on my chest and cuddled her and hummed some songs for her. Did the medicines start working or the love? Love I believe; the child went to sleep on my chest and slept like a child without a single cough!
I tried to force a child of 4 to sit quiet, it was my stupidity. I admonished her when she was coughing, it was my folly. I had to correct myself when she asked that question and the opportunity was there. Right there and right then I corrected myself. I didn't miss the opportunity! Thank Goodness for that!
But still, I have never been able to forgive myself for what I did that night. Looking back, I have realized an important truth. Even this happened for good. I have 'Never Ever' been rude to my child again! And that... Will NOT happen again. How can I forget those innocent eyes and the haunting little beautiful face of that Christmas eve?