THE DATE AND THE BABY
On my flight back to Mumbai from London, I got upgraded to first class, but the best part was yet to come. I put on my headphones and tuned into qawwalis in their music section. I stretched myself on the large seat, as big (or small based on perspective) as my bathroom, closed my eyes, opened my ears and tapped my feet to Dama dam mast kalandar. It was some local rendition, not by any known singer, and then, in one of the verses, there is a dialogue between the two qawwals, and they are telling the story of two sisters married for last fourteen years but both still without a child.
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Their sadness knows no bounds and then they hear of a fakir who has a 100 per cent success rate with infertility issues. The fakir gives them a date each and says, just eat this date in the morning and get on with your normal lives. One of the sisters eats the date, the other one doesn’t. Lo and behold, nine months later, the sister who ate the date goes to visit the fakir with her little one in her arms.
But he is shocked that the other sister is there without a baby. ‘Did you not eat the date,’ he asks her. ‘No,’ she says sheepishly. ‘Do you remember where you put it?’ ‘Yes, by a rock on the hill.’ ‘Arre pagli, toh jaa, your child is waiting there for you.’ The sisters run to the rock on the hill and find a little baby, right where she had put that date, kicking his legs up in the air and crying.
They say that from the times of the Mahabharata, every truth is fictionalized and presented like a story so that the listener may get the message in an easily digestible way. This story reaffirmed my belief that you don’t just need shraddha and sex—without good food, babies won’t come our way.
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