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.
P.S: Last fiction for this entry. Promise!