NEVILLE Anklesaria shook his head in disbelief. At around 4 am on April 15, 2015, his wife Bahroze broke the news of her pregnancy, but due to Neville’s skepticism, she failed to elicit any reaction. For the middle-aged Parsi couple, two previous failures made this success story a moot point.
Bahroze, a 39-year-old homemaker, and Neville, a 44-year-old business professional, had fancied their chances of becoming parents a year ago. Though a tad bit late in their lives, the community fertility scheme Jiyo Parsi came as nothing short of a blessing.
The Jiyo Parsi scheme was launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and was implemented by the United National PARZOR project in 2014. Besides providing medical assistance to young couples, the scheme encourages community youth to marry and have babies.
A hurried text on the breezy April morning to her gynaecologist and a test on the pregnancy test strip showed positive signs. “Frankly, she got no reaction from me. Having a baby seemed a distant dream, making it hard to believe when it actually happened,” says Neville as he looks at Bahroze seeking consensus.
The couple has been married for a year, but having a child was never really a priority for Neville. “The main concern was Bahroze’s well being and everything else was secondary,” he says. Wearing a traditional Sadra or white vest, Neville remembers intentionally disregarding the ad of Jiyo Parsi scheme in the community weekly Jam-e-Jamshed. The ad, in the meantime, caught Bahroze’s attention. In September, 2014, Bahroze and Neville came in touch with Pearl Mistry of Jiyo Parsi, city-based gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pandole and other members associated with the scheme along with 22 other Parsi couples.
Bahroze is one among three sisters belonging to an affluent Parsi family and Neville belongs to a rather humble background. He had to shoulder the responsibility of his home and his future after he lost his father at age 13. They met through a Parsi matchmaking website ‘Chalo Kaaj Kariye’ or ‘Let’s find a match’. “I had already met around a hundred women in vain, before meeting Bahroze,” says Neville.
Frustrated for having unsuccessfully undergone the IVF process twice, the couple decided to take a break. “I was really upset and decided to take a break for three months,” says Bahroze, aware of perhaps a piece of advice that would later hold true.
Dr Pandole, they say, had on several occasions seen women conceive after two failed attempts at fertility treatment. And it was a reality in the case of the Anklesarias. “To rule out any chances of miscarriage, she prescribed a set of injections and later a protein powder for the child who wasn’t very healthy,” says Bahroze.
From the perspective of average Parsi women, Bahroze thinks, the delay in marrying the man of their choice is an innately ingrained one. “The women keep waiting to find that ‘one perfect guy’. More often than not factors such his social status, mannerisms and compatibility play on our minds,” she says.
Living in an over-protective environment that is bereft of worldly exposure, points Neville, is the reason behind an average Parsi man’s “meekness”. His was, on the contrary, a different upbringing where the mother asked him to “go out” and “face the world”. “Men need to start believing that the world is their home and not the safety of the four walls of their home,” he says.
With the child on its way, Bahroze’s health became the determining factor. “Not only for us, the child’s birth was a special for our doctor Dr Pandole who made sure we had the best facilities available,” shares Bahroze as she makes her entry moments after sending their infant to sleep in the adjoining room of their second-floor home in Bandra.
Bahroze gave birth through a C-section to a baby boy on December 7 last year, a day after the couple celebrated their wedding anniversary. Revelry has continued since then. They have named their son ‘Rishaan’, another name of Lord Shiva, meaning a good human. “If somebody asks me what correction I would like to make in my life, I tell them that I would go back to a time when I was 24-years-old and marry Bahroze,” says Neville, brimming with joy.