18th August, 2006
“Why don’t you understand…we had not planned for it and it’s too early!” she said.
But…you can’t really think of it…can you?
“You know that my career is a priority now. I cannot afford to take a break.” She broke into a volley of sobs.
He put his arm around her. He knew what she was going through, but he was just unable to accept it. He loved her a lot…she was his life. It was just a month ago that she discovered her pregnancy. It had been a shock to her. She was not prepared for it.
He watched, helpless and sad, as she was wheeled into the room and the doctor followed close behind.
“Mohana, it’s going to be Children’s Day, and I was wondering if you could do a special feature for our magazine on the same. I want something different,” said Ajit, the creative head.
“ I’m looking for something more deep…something that would leave a mark on the person’s mind. And moreover, now that you have also been chosen to represent our Magazine at the International Photographer of the Year Contest, I want this to be really impacting,” he continued.
Mohana looked at her boss and smiled. “Ajit, don’t worry!” “This will be something you will love. Trust me…this will be one of the best creations of my career.”
“Do you think we should do a shoot on those children who were orphaned in that fire that gutted that locality? I know that they are housed in Shishu kunj, the shelter care for orphans.”
“You need to slow down in life, be less stressed and maybe a little happy”
“But why is it taking so long” she asked the doctor.
“37 is not really the prime age to have a child. I am trying to help your body get into a normal cycle. It can’t happen overnight. We need time.” the doctor said looking at them.
They walked out and the long drive home was in silence. It had been three years since they had been trying for a child and the wait was getting long.
“Dinner?” he asked as they walked inside the apartment.
“Nah, you order a takeaway, I have a long day tomorrow. Need to wake up early.” She tossed the bag and walked into the bedroom.
She went to Shishu Kunj, early next day. The kids seemed so cheerful to be together. They were too engrossed in their games and fun to notice her. She tried in vain, but she just could not get the right a photograph. The next two days did not get the results either. It was on the fourth day that she saw her. She was a pretty girl aged about 6-years-old. She was sitting on the swing and not interacting with the other kids. She walked up to her hoping to strike a conversation. The little girl turned away and Mohana got busy taking pictures.
She connected the camera to the laptop to download the pictures. Damn! All the pics were blurred; they showed perfectly fine when she took the pics, what could have happened. Too exhausted to think, she decided to go there again the next day.
She woke up early the next day. She drove down to Shishu Kunj. It was almost 6 in the morning when she reached. There she was on the swing looking towards the gate expectantly as though expecting her there.
She walked towards her. “Hi, what’s your name?” she asked the girl on the swing.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
She smiled…”You do not know your name. That’s alright. What do everyone call you here?” she asked the little settling on the swing next to her.
“No one knows me here,” the girl replied.
“You must be having a name,” said Mohana.
“You never gave me a name,” replied the girl.
“I never gave you a name? I don’t even know you,” replied a stunned Mohana.
This was weird. Why did she feel so uneasy with the girl around suddenly.
“Yes, you chose not to know me or give me a name. But, you can call me whatever you want,” said the girl. “Whatever you want…whatever.”
Mohana watched a tear roll down her cheek.
She reached out to touch the child but was shocked when her hand went through her body.
She was like an apparition. So close and so real…
“Ma, you never gave me a name. I wanted to be with you, but you just left me…just abandoned me…I wanted to be with you and papa, but you never gave me a chance. I would have been the best daughter…I wanted to make you proud…you never gave me the chance…never… why did you do that?” she cried uncontrollably.
“Baby…but I don’t even know who you are! How do you know me? Who are you?” she asked again.
She looked at the girl closely and there was something about her was familiar. She looked just like her…those eyes, those lips…and the chin…the broad forehead.
“Ma you can look at me but never capture me in your photographs. You can imagine me as whatever you want…I am yours…I was destined to be yours…but you chose otherwise…”
Mohana watched in horror as she saw her disappear in front of her eyes. This was scary…what was she talking about?
The alarm rang on the phone, the date flashed. It was 18th August. A reminder blinked on the screen. A reminder she set for herself to never forget the abortion she had undergone seven years ago to pursue her career.
This is my entry for WriteTribe Festival of Words – Day 6
P.S: Last fiction for this entry. Promise!
How very terrible! Sometimes life makes us do things that we may end up regretting later. The narrative was a little confusing in the middle but all made sense in the end. And with the little girl, I thought there was a gender angle but luckily there wasn’t.
Me and gender bias! No, no I can’t even get myself to write on that topic! Yes, i guess most of us have a list of regrets at some point of time in our lives.
Very, very, very powerful one Pratibha. This could be tue for so many. Your story took me by surprise. I thought she would eventually try for adoption, but that would have been a happy ending. Very often, what we choose and what we are destined for can be two different things.
This one tugged at my heart!
This story is also a reminder that happy endings don’t happen all the time:) I thought of giving it a happy ending, but then I also thought what if she did not have one? Why not tackle that? BTW, this story was written more than 10 years ago 🙂
usha menon says
It is a very absorbing and poignant story.
Thank you ma’am 🙂
Pratibha this one is very painful to the feelings. I had goosebumps while going through this story. Very powerful one!!
Nice write up 🙂
With consent, natural or forced, an abortion is always painful and regretful. Deeply touching.
Yes, I agree, it is very traumatic. I am glad you liked the story.
Corinne Rodrigues says
Prats – I might have missed this one and I would be very sorry if I did. Very, very powerful. Sometimes we think we have it all together and can dictate it all, don’t we?
I’m glad that you did not miss it!
C. Suresh says
We do use the word poignant and touching too readily on blog posts that when we really need them we are bereft of proper words – as in this case
That was overwhelming! Means a lot coming from you Suresh. Thanks so much 🙂
I did not see the end coming. I was thinking on the lines of adoption…
You’ve dealt with the topic of abortion brilliantly here! Sometimes certain steps taken by one, might just come and haunt us…and regret is a terrible feeling 🙁
Regret, loss, hope, guilt, the list is endless.
Pratibha, Lovely style of writing.
I could be with Mohana for a few minutes.
🙂 thank you!
Beautiful and chilly at the same time! The voice of the unborn!
Phew ! I shuddered thinking about the girl… When photographs were not clear I guessed it but by the end of it it made me sad.
Effectively written 🙂
good one !
Jairam Mohan says
Truly, a beautifully written story which touches the heart of the readers. Expected a somewhat cliched ending to the story with adoption, etc, but the way you pulled it all together at the very end with the apparition part was masterfully done.
Awesome story, and I have serious issues with this being the ‘last fiction post’ of the series 🙁 Why not one more fiction???
I thought everyone would have had enough of my stories 🙁
Say Cheese says
Wonderful story. Didn’t see that coming. I thought she’d adopt the girl but then..
It proved to be a wonderful read. 🙂
It is such a beautiful but emotional story beautifully narrated. Certainly, one of the best I read during the festival. The story in itself says a lot:)
Thank you 🙂
Looking fwd to the end, Pratibha
Very creative indeed 🙂
Reema Sahay says
Wow! Very, very impressive. Honestly, I skip reading fiction on any blog. I just never feel the pull. But this was truly remarkable. I loved it. And it is easy to connect with the protagonist because we see these stories in reality all around us.
Thank you and I am glad that you felt the pull to read this one! 🙂
That’s so sad to be punished in this way for one step that you take in order to better your life!
A very powerful write-up Pratibha! I can relate it with one of my senior friend…I am not in touch with her now but hope she is fine!
Powerful write up! One of the BEST!
Just loved it.
Thank you !