Friday, May 1, 2015

Aisha #7

Each wail came out like a wild siren and every time Anand’s heart jumped into his throat with raw fear, and almost banged the door of the room. Another set of cries, but this time they were followed by a high-pitched, loud cackle, unquestionably of a newborn, which sounded like music to him; the sound which washed all his fears with tears. Doctor came out and Anand didn’t wait for her to talk, as he has already heard the cry of a little one.

There were two cribs beside Aisha. Twins! He was almost dancing with elation, as his face swelled with absolute bliss after a worrisome wait. Twins it is! He kissed Aisha, who was looking at him and beamed weakly. “Very tired she must be, too weak,” he reflected and took a photo of his kids and shoved the camera back into his belt bag. Only then he realized something was odd. Only one of them was crying. The doctor who was standing at his back gathered all her courage and finally said, exhaling a deep sigh, “Look at the positive side Mr. Anand, your son is very healthy. But I’m sorry for your daughter. This happens sometimes when the twins are of the different gender. They don’t get an equal share of their mother’s resources.”

He looked at the cribs. They looked identical, but the stillborn girl was clearly very weaker than his son.

Somehow Aisha was not as distraught as she would have been as if she was expecting it. She tried looking at the fuller side of the glass. She prepared herself for a tragedy.

The weeks which followed were punctuated with alternate melancholy and cheery giggles. The death of their baby girl, who they would have called Anu, had she survived, has disturbed Anand a lot more than it did Aisha. Anand was angry, but unsure, on whom he was angry with, but he couldn’t display it. He put up a happier face for the sake of his son and Aisha.  They didn’t have the heart to sell away the stuff they have bought expecting a girl, nor did they have the strength to deal with the ordeal of having to look at those everyday, and so one day, they locked those things away in a suitcase, things that would have been Anu’s Clothes and jewelry, and rested it on attic permanently.

Going through the death of their baby girl has been traumatic to both and Anand had a family planning operation as agreed upon as they decided they don’t want any more kids. And the trial of the tragedy tamed Aisha greatly. Aisha, who was always on her toes, always in a rush, one who always acted like she had just an energy drink, vanished, and she became the silent version of herself.
Aamir was an endearing boy and was an easy boy. But he did prove impossible in some instances, like when he would keep asking about his grandparents, because all his friends talked a lot about their grandparents and he didn’t understand when Aisha told him he hasn’t got any.

He also noticed he lacked cousins while each of his friends has got a ton of cousins. He was particularly inconsolable on the day of Raksha Bandhan, all of his male friends sported colorful Rakhis on their right hand tied by their sister or a cousin, and he would look at his wrist which was devoid of any bands.

But as he grew up, he understood better about his stillborn sister and lack of grandparents and cousins. He grasped that in one way he was the cause of death of his twin. Although unintentional, he usurped more resources, resources meant for two, the result of which made him come out extra healthy while his sister’s life force faded away. This kind of thinking affected him much. He became more introvert as he grew up, and talked very less, spent more time on his academics and computers. He never saw any girls, wouldn’t notice anyone. It took a studious girl, someone who loved math as much as he did to finally make him notice the other gender, Rashi, his lab mate.

After his engineering, Aamir married Rashi. They both were computer scientists and immediately after their marriage left to US where they had good jobs ready.


Rashi was having her labor pains and everyone, Aamir, Anand and Aisha were waiting in the hospital. It’s frightening to Anand, as the only other time he had to hear those pains, pains of Aisha, there was a tragedy.

The howls of labors ebbed and there was loud cackle, a healthy baby. And in, they rushed and saw there was only a single rib. Not twins, Anand offered a prayer feeling thankful. Aamir sat beside Rashi, holding her hand, conveying lots of emotions through touch and eyes, emotions which can’t be put into words. Anand went to the crib to take the baby  but did a double take backed away, muttering, “It can’t be.”

Aamir and Aisha rushed and all of them did a double take. Tears ensued from Aisha for a different reason. Anand placed his hand on her shoulder, his own eyes misty. Aamir understood the reason. He remembered that photo, of him and his twin sister, taken at the time of their birth. And there couldn’t have been a greater similarity, as the baby in the4 crib looked exactly like the stillborn sister of Aamir. As Aisha took the baby in her hands and her cries subsided, and she pushed forth her hand to Aisha’s cheek, teeny tiny fingers touching her cheek, looking at Aisha, taking in the visage with her big baby eyes, as if she thought Aisha was her mother.

She was named Anu, a choice that was agreed upon unanimously, and the suitcase in the attic, which was exiled forever, saw the light of the day again. Anand and Aisha were over the moon adorning their granddaughter with all those jewelry. It was not just the old jewelry that has made a comeback, but so did the old self of Aisha, her youthful self. Aisha before the tragedy struck her; when she was just a newlywed girl, who loved traveling and one who was never quiet. It was the happiest house in the world.

Just two weeks after her birth she had a high fever, and the doctor said many complex sounding names which didn’t make any sense to the old couple, they didn’t have so many medical terms in their days. Doctor said Anu is not so well suited to cope up with cold climate, at least until she would be of age five, by when she should have developed enough of something that was lacking in her now.

She can’t be taken to the USA, nor can she be left at their grandparents, because Anand and Aisha lived in Keylong, Himachel Pradesh, which is in the Himalayas and is snow covered most of the time. So Anand and Aisha decided they would travel south, to Hyderabad, where Rashi’s brother lived. They took a residence there, until such time as Aamir can take Anu back to US. Although they didn’t say it aloud, both Aisha and Anand were guilty of being happy at their granddaughter’s sickness, for it meant she would be with them.


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