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22 January 2017, Oxford, UK.
Aadhya walked her first steps today at 10:43 AM.
When she was born, we used to support her head when we held her in our arms. A few months later, she could hold her head upright and gaze around without the need for a supporting hand. Then she learned to roll over on her own. Soon she was able to sit upright on her own. As she grew and started eating solids, she learned to crawl and explore the surroundings on her own. Now she has started to learn the art of walking upright -- an evolutionary leap that helped to sets us apart from fellow mammals. Babies gain strength in their muscles from top to bottom -- first neck, followed by the back and finally the two legs. In the last 11 months, we have watched her go through all these stages of development. The moments when she did something for the first time will always be in our memories.
I tried to imagine what it feels like to take the fist steps. When I was learning ice skating in Netherlands during my PhD, I used to hold on to the boundary bars of the ice rink as I practiced balancing on a pair of ice skating boots. After doing this for a day or two, I wanted to skate freely like the people around me. It was not easy to get my hands off the boundary railing support. I was fearful of slipping and falling down. One day, I decided give up the support and push myself into that slippery world waiting to topple me off my balance. With a great leap of faith, I pushed myself forward and left my support. The next moment, I was slipping freely on a thin icy surface without any friction. I cannot describe the joy I had but I am certain that the feeling must be similar to that experienced by babies walking their first steps.
PS: We recently opened a bank account for Aadhya and our bank gifted her a piggy bank. Here is a photo with her new piggy bank. I too used to have one but was restless enough to break it and spend the savings before it was full. :-)