Of filter kaappi and maakkolams, of pookalams and kaineettams, of madisar and settumundu, of mangaacurry and mysorepak, of books and words, of pens and colours, of steps and rhythm...
To the good at heart, I offer a feast ;
Mess with me, and I'll be a beast :-D
“ Sanjana began to take extra care of me, because my health was her concern now. She was more concerned about the baby in my womb. She wanted nothing to go wrong, anywhere. So, after returning from Mumbai, she and Siddhanth came over to stay with us both. She bonded well with Ma, and Ma was also happy that the family would soon get a descendant. Just three weeks after I was confirmed pregnant, Ma suggested that they should visit the temple of the family deity at Meerut. My father-in-law had his ancestral roots there, so it was quite natural for her to suggest that. They decided to go, and I chose to stay behind because I suffered from severe queasiness, and my doctor , who handled my case at Chandigarh, advised against travel,” she said.
“ At least, some choice there,” I said sarcastically.
“ Yes, the beginning of my choices,” she replied.
“ Anyway, they - Siddhanth, Sanjana, Ma and my father, left one morning to Meerut by car, as it was just around 250 to 270 Kms away and Siddhanth decided to drive. They would reach Meerut by night, that was the plan. His last drive, that was,” she paused.
I looked at her, gathering the meaning.
“ They met with an accident at Saharanpur. A moment’s distraction had caused it. The car was run over by a truck that had lost control,” she bit her lips in the memory.
I didn’t know what to say.
“The people on the rescue mission found the address from Siddhanth’s bloodstained wallet, and they did what they could. The only people who were part of my life, were brought as lifeless bodies to our home. I was numb, unable to react or cry. I was angry with God, angry with my fate for playing such cruel games on me. The news was published in the papers the very next day, and Dr. Rajat Nair, a Major in the Army and Mohan’s friend, got the news and came down to Chandigarh to help with the funeral and related things. He was a godsend for me, then. And he has been , always.”
I looked on, as she finished her coffee.
“ So, from a widow, I had been reduced to an orphan. Or so I thought,” she said , sorrow lacing her voice.
“You were pregnant ,” I said.
“Yes, which meant I wasn’t an orphan, after all. I still had a life to look forward to. A tiny life, that had started its journey towards birth, inside the security of my womb,” she turned emotional.
I kept quiet, waiting for her to go on.
“ I was absolutely alone, Vinod. I had no one to turn to for advice, save my gyneacologist. That was when Dr Rajat came to my rescue. He made me see things from a different perspective. He made me realize that the tiny life inside me had every right to live on the earth. That I should complete the job entrusted on me. If it was my love for my family that made me accept the surrogacy, then my love for the baby should make me give birth to him,” she said.
“ Surely you hadn’t thought of aborting him, right ?”, I asked, shocked that she might’ve.
“ No, never. Just that I thought I wouldn’t have the strength to go ahead. I thought I wouldn’t live to see the day, and this petrified me. I couldn’t think beyond the limits of my fear,” she said.
“ Dr Rajat, and my doctor, gave me the strength. Rajat made me take up a course in parenting, and yoga. This helped ease the fear in my mind. Slowly, I got back my confidence . And I kept my thoughts alive. I realized that I’d been foolish to blame fate. I wanted to show the world that I could live. And in nine months, I gave birth to my child, rather, Sanjana’s child,” she said.
“ I named him Saarthak, which meant, “ meaningful”. He had made my life meaningful. And I call him Sanju at home, he’s Sanjana’s , as much as he is mine”, she stopped and looked at me.
“ All this is so shocking, Mahita,” I spoke.
“ I was with DrRajat’s family till Sanju turned 6 months old. Then I moved to New Delhi, where I found work at a College. They gave me quarters to reside and Sanju could be left with their in-house crèche. That’s how I spent the next three years. Then I took up a job with the Globetech group. Dr Rajat’s sister, Mrs. Subhadra Menon brought me here on visit VISA. And that’s how I got a job here,” she finished.
I kept quiet for the next few moments.
“ Now , tell me, Vinod ? Do you still think I don’t know about love ? Do you still feel that I wouldn’t know it, if I tell you that you can’t buy love ? Love is a blessing, Vinod. You have had it around you all these years. You told me all that stuff about Kamini. I still feel that you are wrong in judging her. There may be many things you aren’t yet aware of. Your attitude to her will change if and when you realize that. Make an effort, that’s all I would tell you for now,” she said.
I got up from my seat.
“ Mahita, I respect you for having shared this much with me. This has only increased my respect for you . I’m sorry I judged you without knowing about your past,” I said.
“ It’s fine, Vinod. I respect you as an individual, but there’s a need for you to see things from a third person’s perspective. You need to do that to know the value of relationships,” she spoke in a soft voice.