To Have Or Not To Have—I Mean More Babies

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Babies are Miracles!
To write a blog post like this you have to conceive an idea and then diligently work on it, whereas to have a baby, you only have to conceive by letting nature take its course and then forget about it. It will grow on its own and come out at the designated hour. You don’t have to worry about grammar, structure, or writer’s block.

I think it is easier to have babies than doing anything else in the world. I have only one daughter, and do want to have a house full of children. They are such a delight to be with, and they love you unconditionally—considering the conditions of toys and food negligible. They highly esteem you, almost on a par with God, until they start thinking independently, that happens around the age of nine. Some kids could be precocious, though. At which stage, they realize that you are dumb enough to be puzzled by a simple math problem leave aside Einstein’s theory of relativity, and that you are the greatest loser in the world, who can’t make enough money to provide them basic comforts of life such as latest phones and electronic games.

“Why don’t you get one more part-time job?” they would ask, thus inspiring you to work harder.

Raising a child until the age of 17 costs around a quarter of a million dollars, not to mention the efforts you put in making them study and chauffeur around for various other activities. You need another quarter-million if you want to pay for their graduation. In case, he or she wants to study medicine, like our daughter, you have to shell out additional half a million dollars, thus making it a nice round figure. All this calculation is generalized and approximate, and I know desis can save a lot by their ingeniousness.

Recently, we went to Chattanooga, Tennessee on a day trip. Where, at the bottom station of a highly recommended tourist attraction, the Inclined Train, outside a gift shop there was a machine in which you put a coin from a slot and it rolled many circles on the conical receptacle before falling into a pit at the center, a kind of maut ka kuan. Two of us desi families played with a single penny for a long time, catching it before its final fall, until the youngest among us—she is four now—meddled in and spoiled the fun. The loss caused a great deal of despondency, but coming back to our senses, we planned to perform 'Bamulaihza bamulaihza' for other tourists in anticipation to collect some coins. But it couldn’t materialize as it was vetoed by my daughter, who said she would compensate for it when she starts earning. Kids these days don’t understand the value of money.

Despite all that monetary consideration, there is one advantage of having babies—their care overshadows all other problems of the world including marital discord—but that certainly definitely is not my reason to procreate. My purpose is to endow the next generation with the various latent talents that are in my genes. Besides a doctor, I would like to have successful writers, poets, singers, dancers, painters, scientists, entrepreneurs, reality show actors in my family.

My husband says that Umaru Abdul Mutallab, a wealthy Nigerian banker, also had high hopes for his son Abdul Mutallab who went on to become a terrorist, and that none of the parents of the prisoners and drug addicts had thought that their children would end up that way.

That is way too pessimistic. I know I would have to spend my whole life raising kids, and most of the time they would disappoint me, but I am sure I would garner a few moments of happiness. Life is always like that! Olympians practice the better part of their lives to compete in the events that last a few seconds, where the probability of losing is greater than winning. People fall in love only to discover that it is all heartache and darkness with faint glimmers of joy. In Emily Dickinson’s words:

For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.

For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears.

Right now, I am contemplating whether I should have more children to relive my childhood and youth vicariously or selfishly pursue my own hobbies. I hope this essay by Nancy Gibbs helps me make decision.

(Picture courtesy


  1. Wow you write about highly personal topics, for sure. Good one.

  2. loved this one.Especially the anology of that machine in the malls to maut ka kuan.

  3. One CNN article says that girl child will be less expensive till the age of 9 or 10 than a boy but she will catch up or cross over between 10 and 17. I guess worth investing on them..

  4. Rohan, Savita, Jay: Thank you all for stopping by :-)

  5. nice one Giri.A different topic then the regular articles..quite interesting....

  6. Good to hear from you Priyanka! Thanks!

  7. Nice post! Someone once said, nervous breakdowns are hereditary. You get them from your children. As the parent in charge of dropping 2 boys to school every morning, I can attest to the fact that fights over which song to play on the car stereo make Israel-Palestine relations look like an episode of Teletubbies.

  8. :-) Thanks Narendra! You'll get many more things besides nervous breakdown. Right now they are helping you to develop your patience and negotiating skills.

  9. @Giribala

    I loved the post despite the fact :) that right now I'm in a stage when I don't need to decide upon how many kids I will/might have in future ;)
    'One' is for sure to extend the family for the betterment...and looking your pics wit your daughter simple takes my heart away :)) *Best Wishes always*

    Having a kid is a thought which comes with lots of other considerations and aspects. But definitely a beautiful moment to live for!!

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with us.. since this post is based on personal connects to the churning of thoughts instantly!!

    I'm sure having my own churning right now ..and I'm loving it :)

    ~ Keep the Spark ALive..

  10. always love stopping by your blog! This just reaffirms my belief that though marriage can be best experienced from the outside like an election commission pre-poll observer, viz - stray in and out in an armoured / bullet-proof vehicle with enough commandos, I still would like to adopt some day.

  11. Thanks Ushinor!! Babies are miracles! Wish you all the best :-)

  12. Loved the article Giribala.....what can one say? WE learn from them as much as they learn from us!

    1. Thanks for reading, Saumya! I remember reading a post on this subject on your blog too. :-)


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