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A mountain of sorrow

By Shamim Merchant 

by NewsMonks
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“It is as if a mountain of sorrow has collapsed on me!”

 

My deceased grandmother used to say these words very often, and I always thought she was exaggerating. How can a mountain of grief fall upon anybody? Did man even have the capacity to bear so much suffering?

 

However, only now, in my current situation, am I able to understand the truth behind her overemphasised statement. If time hadn’t played its awful games on me, I wouldn’t be standing here today. Life has given me in abundance, one after the other: What? Shocks!! By now, at the age of 27, my tolerance level has already reached its saturation point. I don’t think you’ll believe me. Let’s go backward and descend in a chronological order till the present day.

 

“Amisha, we may not be rich, nonetheless, your mom and I have given you values that will take you a long way ahead.” These were dad’s words when I got married. Born and brought up in a middle class family, my marriage was a simple affair. Although my husband, Brijesh Patel was disappointed for not getting a dowry, he never brought up the issue with me, especially when he saw how well I had blended in his family, tailoring all my needs just to make my in-laws happy.

 

After our first anniversary..

“Congratulations, you are two months pregnant. Mr. Patel, your wife is a little weak, take extra care of her during these difficult months.”

 

“Amisha, this child must be a son.” Brijesh commented as soon as we left the hospital. All was fine, until I slipped in the kitchen one day. That miscarriage was the shock of my life. It was my first baby and I couldn’t stop grieving over it.

“Amisha, it’s really very sad, but don’t worry, we’ll try again.”

 

However, I was a magnet for misfortune. The series of events that succeeded testified as if I was dogged by bad luck. Two thunderbolts exploded on me simultaneously; I had a second miscarriage, following which the doctor informed me regretfully, “I am sorry Amisha, but you won’t be able to conceive again.”

 

When you are down in the dumps, what do you expect from your family? Condolence, support and empathy, right? But that wasn’t in my case. “You are the worst decision of my life! I should have never married you at all. Not getting a dowry was bad enough, but for sure I can’t live with a woman who is incapacitated to give me an heir.”

Brijesh’s shocking remarks pierced a dagger in my heart, shattering me completely. “Brijesh! How can you be so insensitive? Can’t you see the pain I’m going through? I’m your wife and this is the time I need you the most. We can always adopt a child.”

His reaction was astonishing. Brijesh slapped me hard on the face and barked furiously, “I wanted my own flesh and blood, not any random kid from an orphanage. What’s the use of being in this relationship if you can’t give me my own son?”

 

In the aftermath of divorce, I was back at my parents’ house. They were sympathetic, but somewhere their attitude reflected as if they didn’t want me to live with them, especially because my brother and his wife kept eyeing me scornfully. Through the past year, a depressing realisation has hit me like a ton of bricks. My tragedy is mine alone. There is no one I can share it with. No one who will step in my shoes and feel what I am feeling.

 

I am an educated woman. I tried working odd jobs, going out with friends, but grief can be tiring. Two miscarriages, zero hopes of becoming a mother, divorce and my family’s indifferent treatment; all put together caused a gradual implosion of self, draining me out emotionally. These many shocks are sufficient enough to commit suicide, correct? Currently, I am standing on the railway tracks, waiting for a train to come and knock me off, setting me free from this pathetic existence.

 

With the blowing wind, a cry hits my ears. It’s a loud pleading screech of a baby. The bawl is quite persistent and I’m forced to look around. Behind me, a little far away, on the same track, I can see a white bundle trembling with helplessness. Out of sheer humanity and without a second thought, I run towards the baby. My first reaction is to pick it up and move away from the train route. Holding it to my chest, my eyes frantically flicker everywhere to catch a glimpse of who must have been so cruel to abandoned this innocent here, leaving it to die. There are people around, but no one seems suspicious. The child has stopped crying and cocooned into me for safety. Peering down at it, I realise, it’s a girl.

 

An unexplainable emotion stirs within and hugging the baby, I cry and cry and cry profusely. The sadness that I had suppressed in my heart for the past few years, comes out, free flowing like a cascading waterfall. Craning my head up, I look at the sky and wonder if this is God’s way of keeping me alive.

 

For long hours, I sit on a nearby asphalt footpath and cradle the girl gently. The almighty lord had suddenly put me in a mother’s role, how could I desert my child and think of ending my life? The feeling of failure and emptiness is suddenly replaced with a renewed sense of responsibility and determination.

“Anjali. I name you Anjali, that’s what you are to me: a gift of God. I promise you my girl, you will get all that I was deprived of. And you will never ever suffer, what I went through. We will build our own home, our own heaven!”

I am now walking towards the beginning of a new life; for me andmy daughter!

 

Shamim Merchant

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