The weekend was a day away. Anuja couldn’t wait for the day to end. It had been quite hectic. Lately, she realized, her schedule sapped too much of her energy. To top the list, her project had taken most of her free time, she felt good she got time to glance herself in the mirror at least once.But, she also liked her work. It paid her well and hardwork always satisfied her. And today it was finally over.The report and all other fine details had been submitted and approved.She felt the warmth of a relaxed noon spread through her as she sipped coffee. Just the regular office work, a final presentation for the day and she would be off for a calm weekend. She deserved all the three days of isolation after the three months of running around.
As she walked down the stairs , it occurred that she should be treat herself with a ride. A ride to some unknown village. Her bike seemed to understand her thoughts. It looked as though it was pleased by her idea. She smiled. That was a lovely thought.Nature , serenity , the bike , the weather and herself. She Spent almost an hour in her bathtub that evening. She had already ordered her favorite dishes for dinner. She was in no mood even for the slightest effort.She packed her essentials in a small rucksack.As the heard the doorbell, her hunger roared.She felt the sudden surge of happiness.That night , she slept as though she had entered the world of peace forever and there lay her final dream to infinity.
The morning was as pleasant as it could be. She had not felt this free since a long time. The breeze blew through her hair , making her smile spread across her face. She felt like a feather that floated along the wind. The sky was a perfect shade of black and blue,tiny streaks of the lighter background filtering through. It looked like the light had blended in with the shadows. The trees on both sides of the road ; their branches spreading out towards on another like they couldn’t bear being apart. It looked like the roof of natures’ palace. They looked down at her like a mother looks at her new born baby. She felt fond. The road had only her company. As she prepared for a tricky turn, it felt like leaving behind another world and beyond it , starts a new world.And all of a sudden , a raindrop hit her nose hard. And then , the rain hit the ground. She drove on but it seemed more difficult with every distance as the rain thrashed. She stopped her bike under a tree. It was at the end of a farm. A woman was already there, she had a big belly which looked like her pregnancy term was about to end.
” looks like a storm is going to visit.”, that woman spoke.”Are you travelling by this road for the first time ??”
“Yes. Just a casual visit, a trip. Do you stay nearby ??”
“Yes. Half a kilometer ahead is our village.I had come here to collect firewood.”
“Why did you come ? Couldn’t anybody else do it? I mean, it must be difficult with a baby due.”
“I have one child , but he is too small.My husband has gone to the city for some work. My in-laws are too old.So I insisted. And the doctor said I was due in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow I am going to my folks place for the baby.”
They chatted for a few minutes before Anuja noticed her face. And all of a sudden , she screamed. As she clutched her belly, Anuja felt a cold chill run down her spine which had nothing to do with the cold around her.
The baby .
Summing her discomfort ,she realized she could not take her on her bike to the village. Nor was there any person around and that half a kilometer was impossible to be walked. Another scream brought her to her senses. Feeling helpless , she rubbed her back as she held her hand tight. She couldn’t look at her face, couldn’t hear her screams as she prayed for the rain to stop. Terrified as she was, the rain and pain seemed to worsen. She removed her jacket and scarf and tried to cover her in vain. the woman screamed like she was the thunder. She looked into her eyes and whispered “Help me”. She was gasping for breath as the rain hit harder from outside and the labour from inside.Her hand felt cold. Scarred , Anuja sobbed as she realized the woman and her baby was her responsibility.Not a single person was to be seen around.She did not know what to do.
The woman looked deep it her eyes. They pleaded her not to waste time. She positioned herself. Her hands trembled as the woman screamed and she saw the head. She felt dizzy. The lightening hit the skies above. As she touched the small little person coming out , the woman was unconscious. She looked at the little girl, in blood. She wrapped the baby in the only scarf left and her tears rolled down her cheeks like a flood. The woman was silent but she knew she was alive. And then, she suddenly realized.
The baby had not cried.A numb sensation grasped her. The tiny body did not feel alive. She kept the baby close to her chest. Her throat felt dry. She stared at the baby girl.
Please ,she thought , please no. Please stay. Please I am scared. Please, please ,please she cried. Please live , Please do cry, please baby, please don’t scare me. Please. Please .Please.
But the baby did not cry. The baby was silent.The wind felt harsh as her hope began to fade away. She hugged the baby tight as her legs gave away, she did not have any strength. She stared at the baby’s silent face.The world had gone silent. She did not hear the the thrashing of the rain, the lightening, the force of the wind . She felt blank.It was over. Anuja looked at the mother as she opened her eyes and turned to look at her baby.
And all of a sudden, the baby cried.