Part 2 – Birth – Part 2

Mama and Papa probably in their early seventies.

I was trying to find a picture of my home to post, so it delayed my posting. I will add it when/if I get one. I found this picture of my parents. Only when I start to write do I see that I can wrote so much so bear with me if things are sometimes in sequenced. 🙂

I cannot talk about birth unless I speak of my mother. My mother was the greatest woman I knew. She was one of 10 siblings. Being the second eldest daughter, she had to do a lot of housework and take care of the smaller children. Her elder sister got married at an early age and left home.   

My grandmother and grandfather(mother’s side) were third or 4th generation immigrants. They worked very hard growing vegetables for a living. I’m not sure if my grandfather worked in the cane fields first before growing vegetables. The whole village did some kind of vegetable farming or had a few cows to get milk. The villagers would buy a bottle of milk from the milk farmers.

When I was born I don’t exactly know how there house was but here’s how it was as I remember as an 11 yr old. It was in better condition than how I described my home above. It was also wooden and actually It had 3 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a porch(we called it a gallery – from the British). Everything was always clean(just like in the house I grew up in). My grandparents home was built on stilts but it was not very tall. The under of the house was “lepayed” and it was good to sit there and feel the breeze. I loved visiting my grandparents and picking fruits from the plum tree and pommecythere tree. They had a big yard so it was fun to run round around and play and even take a walk along the trail to where the vegetable farming took place. It was like an adventure.  Along the way there was a scary tree(for and 8 yr old) that the people around said that it had ghosts there.  It was very dark under that tree and I remember that if I were walking there by myself I would run pass that area as fast as I could. lol.

My mother at 16 was very pretty and pretty much a mother or housewife without technically being one. She cooked, clean, give the children baths, food etc. So, when she got with my father at 18 her life was the same. Hard work and sacrifice to feed and clothe us, with small salary that my father brought in. When we lived in that house that I described he was s driver working for the oil company named “Shell”. He later became a bus driver with the pubic transportation system on the island. On Fridays when he got his pay check he would visit the rum shop and have one too many and would sometimes come home drunk and abuse my mother with the worse words. At times he would hit her so she would pack us up and move to my grandparents’ home. After a few days my father would come and beg for her to come back. My grandfather(nana) would tell her who would take care of her when he was gone and she had so many children. It happened when she had 2 then 3 then 4 children and so on. It was a thing we all had to live with – an alcoholic father. There was a lot of quarrel in the house.

My father had a different story. He became that way because his mother died when he was a small boy. He was taken care of by family but sometimes he said he did not get food to eat. He would leave home and joined the company of other youths and not live within the dynamics of the strict brahmin family.  There were different kind of dynamics in that family at that time. My grandfather by my father(Ajaah) was a pundit – the village Hindu priest. He lived to be 108 – I do remember him a little as he lay in the box to be burnt and my father crying at home. I was probably about 2 yrs, I am guessing. So my father without a “real “ mother in his life became “own-way”( grew up defying my grandfather and that’s where he learned to drink alcohol). It is why my father’s family never really cared to embrace our family. My father had another side to him that he did not talk about but demonstrated to us. He could put his two feet behind his head and walk on his hands. He did not teach us yoga but he learnt it from a relative (not sure how they were related). So, he could even pull in his abdomen and it would look like a bowl. He would give us a show but never showed us how to do it. He was fearless in a way and some of the stories he would tell us about people and incidents was sometimes unbelievable. Let me relate this little thing. As I said, we had an outhouse but my father would always go 3 houses distance away and use the one at the local elementary (Rousillac Presbyterian School). The school had a church on it’s grounds as well as the local cemetery. We would always hear ghost(our word for ghosts was jumbie- now I wonder if it was related to the word “zombie”) stories so as kids we did not want to be at the school premises when it was dark. My father would visit the school outhouse at 4 am and he would tell us he would hear noises coming from the inside of the school. He related this incident; “I was smoking cigarette when this man wearing pajamas came out of nowhere and asked me for a cigarette. I am telling you, frankoment”( Frankoment – meaning that it was true, vivid, real). I digressed too much.

Anyway, that’s a little synopsis of my home. I was the 4th child. I had 3 brothers before me. My mother longed for a girl and so she would sometimes dress my brother before me in a dress. That’s what the picture shows. That’s one of my brothers in a dress. My mother’s pregnancy with me was very difficult and unlike her other pregnancies. She could barely eat any food and was quite weak. She just felt like staying quiet.(perhaps I came with the seed of meditation) She lived on crackers which led my siblings to tease me “biscuit child” There was this particular Jacob’s cracker that she ate all the time. I was the only child born in the hospital out of us all. Everyone else was home birth by midwife.  I was born the day before Navraatri at the San Fernando General Hospital. My father was very happy he had a girl and for the next 2 or 3 years my parents lived some of their happiest days together. They had a period of prosperity. He had stopped drinking alcohol and had even bought a car number plate “2177”.lol. They actually went to the movies. Mama would say that there was a saying “a girl born after 3 boys is good luck”. Indeed, they had some good luck.

I don’t want to delve into much details about relatives.

To be continued – growing up – school, village life, my sister’s big accident where she almost died, my embarrassing moment, one of my brothers play hookey, my fathers belt, my mothers faith in God etc., at 13 being told you had a hole in the heart, my experience of speaking in tongues and much much more.

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