My name is Mukta.
My father was abroad, in flight, on the way to India, when my mother delivered me in Cuttack. I was conceived on ship, somewhere near Bulgaria, I think. From the time my mother had conceived me, both my parents were certain they'd have a girl. My mother attributes the certainty to her gut. My father attributes the certainty to my mother.
The sea and the beginning of my life is closely interlinked. Several times, I feel that there was an osmosis that happened between the swells of waves and my mothers womb. And when that happened, I passed through.
Niether of my parents really had any idea on what they should name their first-born. They had left it to my grandparents who toured the entire mythological planet to apparently come up with the most tongue-twisting monikers.
But then, one day, my mother went into labour. Then, one day, my father was travelling home. They hadn't spoken to each other then. But independent of consultation, they both thought of the name, "Mukta".
My father thought "Mukta" should mean 'free' and 'unfettered'.
My mother meant 'Mukta' to mean pearl, since that's how she had seen my genesis.
I grew up thinking that my name reconciled odd contradictions. A pearl, if anything, is never free. Always in an oyster. Then strung on a bead. Yet, cultivated in the massive permissiveness of the ocean.
Growing up, my name has always fascinated me. Sometimes, I wonder if I have ever taken on the attributes of 'Mukta' - my mother's 'Mukta', or my father's 'Mukta'.
In Goa, this time, a friend clicked me walking into the sea. I'm wearing white and am looking lost. I still remember the first time I stepped into the vastness of waters with my father. I was wearing white then too. It was a full moon night and I believed that if I followed the shining moonlight on the waves, I could reach the sky. Then I stepped into the water. That's when I believed, very strongly believed, that I could give up a million skies to live in the deep liquid song that serenaded a crudely formed, frivolous world. Of course, this articulation is from adulthood. But it germinates from a childhood authenticity.
I knew then, as I know now - that with the sea, by its side, in it, around it - I'll have my gentle shackles. I'll also have my perfect freedom.
I am, I think, my mother's Mukta, my father's Mukta, and the sort of 'Mukta' the sea brings up with it from time to time. And somewhere swimming amongst all of this, is the Mukta that is me.