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24-10-2002 : 10 P.M
Bulky drops of rain slithered along the side window, cleansing it of its adherent dirt specks. Somehow the rain, instead of cleansing Shikha of her pain, drenched the pall cloaking her, weighing her down even more. A loud cry from the next bed struck her fierce. Was that lady crying out for her loss too like her? Shikha strained her neck to peek through the narrow slit between the drapes to see the doctor standing patiently beside the woman on the next bed.
The next moment, Shikha felt the ragged cotton drapes shielding her from the rest of them slid from her hand, as a sudden pang of pain shot through her, a pain which would bring along with it a reason to cry over for a long time to come, if not forever. Before she knew she had drooped down to her normal state, drops of perspiration settling down on her lacklustre skin and droplets of tear clustering on her congested eyes.
25-10-2002 : 8 A.M
I rushed through the rooms to complete my morning pre rounds, lest the professor would pounce on me unleashing her fury, oblivious to the presence of her patients watching us. And that would amount to an inexplicable and embarrassing situation, something which was extremely discomforting for me.
As an Obstetric intern, the last night had been hectic for me with a handful of deliveries to attend to; and in a way, undeniably harrowing as well.
‘ What was that patient’s name? Yes, Shikha.’
In a flash, the painful sight of Shikha crying on the shoulders of her mother for her stillborn child retreated to my mind, a sight which could haunt anyone who witness it for a few days to come. Having dissected the scene all night, the incident had started descending on me as a shock by then, with a revelation dawning on me that never before had I the breathing space nor the state of mind during my duties to even notice such distressing interactions between the patient and his/her relatives.
As i entered Shikha’s room to enquire about her condition, I was greeted by her son, three year old Aadi, with the cutest face I could ever imagine.Perched on his grandmother’s waist, he started clutching on my stethescope playfully and in between bated breaths, asked curiously about his mother who had been confined to bed to his awe for two whole days.
” Can my mother come home today?”
” Oh yes she can. She is perfectly fine now”
” Can my father come home now?”
” He can as well baby. But we wont be letting you go home today. You need to take a couple of injections to keep you healthy”, I let out a joke blatantly, not remembering how such a statement would create a havoc when uttered to a kid. But before long I happened to realise that I was conversing with a wonder kid, for he seemed the least fettered by my comment. Instead, he hopped out to the next room to play with the kids there, concocting illegible lyrics for a famous tune, at the sight of which a dash of warmth sprouted on his mother’s otherwise sullen face, for once forgetting about her loss, however momentary that tryst with happiness be.
Sensing her face swelling up the next second, i continued,
” If a woman comes to know that she is carrying an anomalous child, for you here, something as extreme as anenchephaly, it is always advisable to let it go at the earliest. In your case, it has been a spontaneous loss, something which no intervention could prevent for good. With God’s blessings, you already have a healthy child, the sweetest and the most adorable one in that regard too. Isn’t it better to be happy with one kid than giving birth to a dishearteningly anomalous child, who is sure to be lost after birth?”
She looked intently at me as I said this and the wry smile that had been shadowing hesitantly on her face widened to a beautiful curve, granting a fresh glow to her eyes, a sign which reflected a soul pacified after much torment beneath, as we listened to an imperfectly moulded ‘shiela ki jabaani’, drifting to us from the adjacent room, where Aadi stood playing with his friends.
As someone said, a loss makes you appreciate your blessings like never before and sometimes, holding tight onto your blessings could be the only means to push your life ahead from the misery.
P.S : This is a work of fiction.