The Newborns (tag Patrick)
Patrick is home, sick in bed. The doctor came to see him and had just left when Lakshmi's babies decided they wanted to be born. Lhasa , now Lakshmi's stepmother, was called over, and with her help and that of the doctor and the village midwife, five babies- three girls and two boys- were safely delivered.
The Doctor left Lhasa to watch Lakshmi and went in to Patrick. "Well, sir, you have five new children, three girls and two boys. Your wife has fallen asleep; she is alright. Do you have any idea of what you might want to name them?"
Patrick smiled and said, "Yes, we talked about names. Here's a provisional list until Lakshmi and I make a final choice." He handed the doctor a little piece of paper with a number of proposed names, some circled as being preferred.
The doctor took it and nodded, thinking they were a good mix of English and Indian. The preferred names were Thomas and John for boys, with Devi, Janam and Parvati for girls.
"Oh, when may I see her?"
"You may see her after she has had some rest. You are still sick, and if you saw her now, with her being exhausted, she might get sick, too."
Then, Indra came in. "Dahdee, are you alright?"
"I'm doing better, Indra; have you been a good girl for grandma?"
"Yes, I have been a good girl for Grandma Lhasa."
"Thank you, dear. When daddy's better, I will take you to the market- just the two of us on our own. Would you like that little one? I know daddy was cross this morning, but I was unwell and shouted at everyone, including the Colonel, and little one, that was not the wisest of things to do, because the Colonel has the power to punish daddy if he misbehaves. Do you understand, little one?"
"Yes, Dahdee, I understand." Actually, Indra found it hard to think of her perfect Dahdee as doing anything wrong.
"Now tell me about the new babies."
"Well, Dahdee, there are three girls and two boys. I helped Grandma Lhasa wash and clothe them after they were born out of Mummy. They all cried at first, but they were good after we washed and wrapped them. I think Grandma is with them now, but she said she would let me help."
Just then, Lhasa came in, all smiles. "Pahtreck, you have five more healthy children. Now, you have twelve children. Do you have names for the newborns?"
Lhasa looked at the list. Fortunately, she could read and write English. "Oh, those are nice names." She looked at him and said, "I will stay here and help out until Lakshmi gets back on her feet. It may be a few days. Giving birth to five babies is an exhausting experience."
She patted her own tummy. "I think I only have one, here. He or she is due in a couple of months.
Indra Tindall, Ali Masjed
Lhasa Singh, Ali Masjed