It seemed as if I had been standing there since ages. The wait was now becoming excruciating and each passing moment made me more restless. I was never habituated to waiting anyone but this time it was inescapable. How I wished if and only if I could do anything to put an end of this ongoing progression and not to mention my awaiting too. Finally, the creaking sound of the door relieved me from this staying around and my anxiety as well.
‘Congratulations!!! You are now father to a daughter. Your wife has delivered a cute baby girl.’ –The doctor declared.
“Thank you doctor! Thank you so much!!! I ran out of words to express my gratitude at that very moment.
Despite some complications, finally, we now had a new life to take care of. The dream we both, me and my wife had lived together with for so long, was now a reality.
“Doctor, can I see her?” I asked.
“Do you mean your wife or your daughter?”
I could not get if that was a serious question or simply a jest but I was surely bewildered for a while.
“I won’t keep you waiting for long. Come let me take you to your family-A complete Family.” He said.
I followed Dr. Sharma who was now making his way towards the general ward where my wife was transferred to after the surgery. I hurriedly pushed the door open as soon the doctor stopped and pointed towards room no. 315. There she was, my partner for life, my wife, Avigya lying pallid in the bed. She looked tired and completely worn out but I didn’t even care to ask how she was doing. Neither did I thank her for the most precious gift she had graced me with. I couldn’t sympathize with her for long and impatiently asked-“And my daughter, where is she?”
The doctor laughed out. Though tired, through the corner of my eyes, I could see a slight curve running through her lips too.
A nurse appeared before me with something wrapped very cautiously. She offered that “something” to me and I, at a snail’s pace, stretched out my hands towards her. No sooner had I reached her, she placed that “something” onto my hands and I realized I was holding a life on my hands. A LIFE indeed- my daughter. I felt something warm running down my cheeks as I held her close to my heart.
A milky white face with eyes shining so bright, I knew that she was a perfect beauty. She looked so delicate and fragile yet so appealing that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Slowly, she moved her tiny little fingers in a manner that mesmerized me instantly. It seemed as if she was tickling me softly. I felt so very proud to have fathered a daughter, a cute little angel.
“Prapti!!!”- I whispered- “my daughter” and gently kissed her on the forehead.
It wasn’t very long that Prapti was in my arms, a question triggered my mind and made me very restless.
“Did she ever regret having given birth to Unmukta or was she as happy and proud to have her?”
I now realized life was never fair to her but was life meant to be fair to ANYONE!!!! And yes I do accept that what I did to her too wasn’t that fair but did this late realization made any sense NOW.
When I think of her now, a question raises within me- was it just an infatuation or love???
No, no it was love for sure (at least I believed so if not anyone else). I had loved her with all my heart and my soul or else I’d not have promised to marry her and to fulfil all her responsibilities as well.
Sadhvi, my neighbour so simple yet so elegant and so much responsible too. I can say that it was not her plain beauty I’d fallen for but her heart. She then might have been of 23-24 years and I myself was at my 25th years of age. I can’t exactly say when I started liking her and when that liking developed into loving her. But I knew for sure that everyday I’d be at my window standing, just to catch a glimpse of her. She, with her little girl seemed to have a world of their own, the life of content with nothing to fret at all and I’d myself be feeling happy to see them in high spirits. Unmukta, her little girl whom she had to look after and Sadhvi herself seemed to have excelled in the art of living life as they never complained a bit of what life had thrown upon them.
I can’t say how heart broken I was when she rejected my marriage proposal. Wasn’t I a guy good enough for her? Why couldn’t she see my love for her? I swore to myself that I shall never fall in love again as I felt so betrayed by love. I considered love as a chapter of my life that I could never succeed in.
Did I really deserve this for loving her so much???
No, I really needed an explanation for this and I knew she owed me one. So one day I went to her home.
“Can I come in?”
I could see, she was helping Unmukta with her lessons.
“Would you like to have some tea?” she asked me.
“No, thank you!”- I nodded my head.
She looked rather puzzled to have an unexpected guest (if she considered me as one) at her place but dared not ask me the reason of my being there at her home. We both didn’t talk to each other for quite a while. So she once again engaged herself with Unmukta. I knew it was very tough for her to start the conversation but it wasn’t easier for me either.
I then gathered up all my courage and finally asked her the reason she had rejected me for.
“No hard feelings please….but I’ve my own reasons to do so”-she spoke.
“And what’s that??? I guess I would be very happy to know where I fall short of your expectations.” I asked with a heavy heart.
Hesitantly, she pointed her finger towards the little girl and said in the voice barely audible, “Unmukta, my daughter!!!”
I felt as if I was falling from the greatest height in my life ever.
“My daughter, ……!!!” The sound kept reverberating within me shattering me into pieces.
I had never imagined Unmukta to be her daughter, not even in my wildest dream. I considered myself as a trespasser who had put his foot on the land which was never to be explored, ruining its enigma. I didn’t know what to say or how to react so I slowly dragged myself out of her place deciding never to look back again.