Distant Silhouettes - Chapter 2
by Tanuja Chatterjee
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Chapter - 2 Ramilla Is Born
It was about 5p.m. Under the portico of his house, Dr. Nirmal Kumar had just sipped into his cup of hot tea, when four palanquine bearers entered through the main gate of the hospital, holding a palanquine on their shoulders. It alarmed him. As it had been customary there that all the hopeless emergency cases, which demanded immediate attention, were brought in palanquines.The doctor saw it come through the gate and immediately gave instructions to the security to inform the hospital staff, to get the operation theatre ready for an emergency. That day, after a long time, he was at home, with his family and had plans of going out with them. Instead, he simply rushed towards the hospital, leaving his hot cup of tea, just about a sip short, on the table.
It was past 10p.m, when the doctor's wife heard the sound of the jeep and rushed out. On disembarking from the jeep, Dr. Nirmal came hurriedly towards her and said,"It's been the worst accident case I've ever seen, so far. The woman is in her advanced stage and is badly hit on the head. On being pushed by a bull, she lost her balance and tumbled down the hill, head on. It's multiple fracture of the skull. All I could see was... just her brains, with no signs of fragmented piece of the skull. It had folded along with the skin and hair and was pushed underneath the skull bone, due to the heavy thrust of the fall. I had a tough time locating it."
"What now!" asked his wife, with a quiver in her voice. "Will she make it?" she asked. "How did the operation go... according to you?" she added, knowing fully well that her husband must have given his all.
"Well, you know, my means here in this small primary unit falls too short for the purpose." He answered.
"...But...I think, I did a good job, let's hope for the best!" he said wishfully.
"And now! Where are you off to?" she asked again.
"I just stopped to inform you that the patient delivered prematurely a baby girl. Though the condition of the baby is good, she'll survive. Still I've sent both, the mother and her daughter,to the civil hospital, in an ambulance and am following them now. Don't worry, I'll be back by tomorrow." And he hurried back towards the jeep and jumped in.
It was a disturbed night, with people flooding the gates of the house for a piece of news. There was absolute silence all around. Anya, the doctor's wife, was a kind lady. She opened her house for the relatives of the patient to spend the night by the fire place, who, she thought, must have travelled huge distances in the cold of the night, to be there. The hospital staff helped Anya to support and comfort them.
They looked worried about the patient and had many questions, like, "Will she live? Will she be able to work normally? Will she be able to bear few more children, later? Hope our son's life won't be ruined! What will happen to the baby? Will it be born? Will everything be normal with him?"
Some even began to suggest the man, "Keep a strong heart, all will be well. You're just a boy yourself and there's no dearth of girls either! The name must go on and for that if necessary, you can marry any time again!" Overall, they were more worried about the baby than the mother.
Anya couldn't restrain herself and broke the news of the birth of a baby girl. The stillness grew quieter still. On hearing the news of the birth of a daughter, they began to wail in grief and wished ill for the child. They remarked, "What a bad omen the child had bestowed on her mother! Surely,a witch incarnated! Who else can bring so much of disturbance along with her...none but a witch! Poor fellow! What a bad luck...with a lunatic wife and a ...!"
This filled Anya's heart and made her cry. She ran inside the house and locked her door. She could hear no more. Time went on clicking unnoticed. Amidst wail and grief of the night uncertainty and despair, filled the air.
In the evening of the following day, Dr. Nirmal returned, carefully holding a tiny bundle in his arms.
"She is fine... see! What a beauty she is!" so saying he extended his arms towards the relatives. The wailing and the superficial grief of the people grew louder and none came forward to hold the little one.
"Come on, hold your child." Nirmal asserted. On seeing no one come forward, Nirmal was taken aback.
"Give her to me, I'll take care of her till her mother regains health and returns!" came Anya's voice from behind. Before Nirmal could turn back, to his utter surprise, the sound of all wails stopped, all of a sudden, and the people gathered there, began to make moves as if they were leaving the house, together, feeling quite relieved, but without any sign of gratitude.
"Oh, just a moment please, I must tell you one more thing!" said Anya.
"God forbid! In case if anything happens to her mother I'll rear her as my own. So, please do not bother to come back for her then!" said Anya, carefully choosing her words to humiliate them.
"She may not be unlucky for you" remarked one elderly man, exposing the ugly hearts of the ingrates, who proved to be far worse than the animals.
"They do not deserve any compassion. They are sick and not fit for such a beautiful grace of god." she thought .
Anya came closer to her husband and looking at the baby she remarked," I'll call her Ramilla. What do you say Nirmal!"
She is God's creation, His gift for us and it is beautiful. What do you think!"
Nirmal was out of words. "What will you do when they come back for her?" asked Nirmal. "What if the mother returns for her child?"
"I pray that the mother returns to good health soon, but what I heard last night, assures me that her family won't let her come back to take her girl child.. In case she does, what more joy can there be but to pass on our tiny bundle of joy to her own mother!" replied Anya with a smile.
"But, I hope they never come back. I just hope so." To be continued.......