Blood pumping through my veins.
Heart bursting out of my chest.
Hi my name is Kabir and this is the most scared I have ever been, but we’ll get into that later. We started our day with Poha, chai, a horrifically loud television, and chilled water. Before leaving the guesthouse Nisha engaged in her routine of ambushing me with bug spray and sunscreen and promptly leaving. Today was our day off and we forced ourselves to take it easy – so obviously we headed to the office like a typical work day. This time we requested the presence of Vidhi, a Setco R&D engineer, to accompany us for the social visit we planned to Dolatpura. Before heading out, Vidhi showed us where they test clutches and the impressive Dyno Machine to validate tractor and truck clutches. The inner mechanical engineer in me was fan-girling the whole time.
We all got into the car to visit Dolatpura. We notified Chatrisinhbhai about our meeting with the contractor this Friday and met with Kusumben, Sumitraben’s daughter, and her 3-month old son Vivek. We engaged in conversation and it somehow led to a baby photoshoot. I have never experienced a “cuteness overload” before but when they put a small bucket hat on his head and he started flailing his arms and legs, no longer than my forearm, I almost passed out. For some reason Alpa, Sumitraben’s second daughter, offered the baby for me to hold. I started panicking (the theme of today), thinking of everything that could go possibly wrong, and vehemently denied. Rachel, who absolutely adores children, scooped up the opportunity to hold Vivek and did an amazing job supporting his back, head, and maintaining a rocking motion (which I critically analyzed).
The next few moments all blurred together and I was still panicking. Fear overcame my body and my adrenaline triggered.
At this point I was still recovering from what I thought was a heart attack. All of a sudden Sumitraben starts telling me to “Hold him firmly”. I’m questioning “holding who?” because other than Vivek, I was the only other male in the room and I couldn’t really hold myself. All of a sudden the baby was handed to me, I was panicking, I put my arm as a support and held the head with my hand, I was still panicking, and made sure I maintained a rocking motion. I started to sing nursery rhymes from my childhood and he responded with a smile and laugh to my surprise. I mean I look like a Wookie from Star Wars with my lumbering height and hairy face so I was half expecting him to cry.
I handed the child to Nisha so I could play peekaboo with him, but he wouldn’t let go of my finger. Sarah held him as well, and then all the ladies got henna done on their hands by Alpa. Before leaving I promised the family that next time they see me I will be fluent in Hindi and Gujarati, and I plan on fulfilling the promise. However Sumitraben for some reason took it a step further and told me that next May I have to do an American and Indian dance for them. One problem…I can’t dance. Imagine one of those inflatables in front of car dealerships that move with no rhythm and chaotically, that’s how I dance.
We dropped off Vidhi at Setco and went back to the guest house. We all took a nap, played some poker, and finished up our presentations to Setco about community selection and R&D about our current technologies.
Today was a momentous occasion for me, holding a baby for the first time. I discovered that even though I am not in sync with my paternal instincts as of yet I, Kabir, would be a really cool uncle.