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Distant Silhouettes - Chapter 3

by Tanuja Chatterjee
(Kolkata India)

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Chapter 3

The Early Life of Ramila

Abandond at birth, the baby was warmly taken in by Dr. Nirmal and Anya. Without any glitches, their own two daughters welcomed her with open hearts. They became a family, as soon as Anya walked in through the door holding the baby in her arms, along with her husband.

"Why Ramilla Ma?" asked Anya's eldest daughter, Apoorva.
"Why Ramilla? Ma, I don't like this name," followed the other one.
"Oh! I must tell you how beautiful her name is!" replied Anya to Apoorva and Aditi.
"How can it be beautiful, it has no special meaning" replied the eldest Apoorva.
"Who said it hasn't any special meaning?" Anya said curtly.
" made of...RAM...and...ILA. Do you know who Ram is?" asked Anya, looking at Apoorva.
"I know RAM is God." replied Apoorva quite interested in the conversation.
"Right! RAM means God and ILA ...! Do you know?" she asked her again. Apoorva nods in disappointing negation.
"And you Aditi! Do you know what ILA means?" she turns and aks her younger one, who nods a big NO".
"Very well then, I'll tell you what it means! Remember it always. ILA means The EARTH. "Anya gives her own made up analysis of the name. She knows that they are too young to question.
"So, Ramilla means THE CREATION OF GOD. Right! No problem with the name now!"
"But where is the earth?" asked Aditi again.
"What is earth ITI? Isn't it the creation of God?" answers Anya raising the girl's curiosity.
"To show that it is special, we say that ILA means CREATION," answers Anya patiently.
"So when we put the two together RAM - ILLA, it becomes Creation of God." Anya feels that she could satisfy them with her reply.
"Oh Papa! the little one has a special name too like E.T and me!" Apoorva runs and jumps into Dr. Nirmal's arms. Shouting in excitment she says," so we three become sisters. Don't we!"
"Oh, calm down Apu! Come Iti( who was actually called E.T - Extra Terristorial). Come to Papa," calls their father.
"Yes! Now you two have a little sister too. Take good care of her.O.K!" tells Nirmal
This was enough to satisfy the ever questioning mind of the two. From then on there was no love lost between the three.

Days rolled into months, and months into years, but nobody came for her. Long back, Dr. Nirmal had heard that after about a month and a half at the Civil Hospital, Kanta, Ramilla's biological mother, was discharged, on gaining back her health. She had even cried at the loss of her daughter, they had said so. Nirmal had grown restless on hearing the news and was sure that the mother would surely visit him some day. But NO...! Nothing of that sort happened! No one came looking for the beautiful baby girl. What a relief it must have been for Nirmal to think that this piece of his heart would not be torn apart from him any more!

Ramilla had been a bubbly and a chirpy baby, loved by one and all in the hospital and also by the people on the other side of the hospital gate. Slowly the story of Ramilla's birth and her arrival into the family was no more on the lips of the people, it had died down probably. Or you can say, that people accepted Ramilla as a part of the doctor's family perhaps. Since,time is the best healer,so with time, all memories got shrouded in a hazy mist and Ramilla's advent into the world got pushed far back into the greater depths of their subconscious mind, for good. All rejoiced her presence, anywhere and every where. In fact, she was accepted as a fortune child for all said that she brought great good luck to the family she visited. Much to Anya's annoyance, she would be invited and at times whisked away, by some, to grace their families with her auspicious presence. For a toddlerit all meant good time.

Anya and Nirmal gave in their all and with great care they reared the three together. Like Apu and Iti, Ramy too turned out to be a vibrant child. She had started to walk in her ninth month and talk...! Well she began her speech with free flowing fluent little pieces of poems. Every thing seemed to be unusual about her. She called Anya "Ma" and Nirmal "papa".

Her education began at home, by Anya. She was taught English and Maths. After reading a poem together, Anya would explain it to her and then leave her with it to read it over and over again so as to memorise it on her own. Ramy would fall prey to those beautiful colourful pictures of her book and would actually begin to visualise the scenes. Later,she would enact it out before her "Papa", on his return from the hospital. This is how the time flew by and before they could realise ,she had already turned three.

.........To be continued......

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