This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
After 9 years, I’m going to my hometown Manasi. My mind flooded with memories. This town brings luck to my life. Yes, it brings Ajay to my life- A friendly collage senior. Some strings attach us together. Three years of college life made the bond strong. Finally, we got married. This town gives shelter to the young struggling couple. After doing some small jobs and earn some money, we move to Chennai. Ajay started a business there. Now he is a successful businessman.
Our taxi passed a railway crossing, and the roads become familiar for me. The ever flowing river and green fields confirms that we reach our destination, Manasi. I’m going to our old house to see my mother in law. She is sick and tired. My 7 year old daughter Rashmi also coming with me. She joined me in this trip for two reasons; for meeting her grandma, and enjoying her summer vacation. Taxi dropped us at a narrow street nearer to house. We start 200 metre walk towards the house.
After ten days….,
This trip becomes boring for Rashmi. I’m busy here managing home and nursing my mother in law. I have no time for Rashmi. To save her from boredom I send her out.
“Good evening, mom” Rashmi said. Her smiling face grabs my attraction.
“How was the day, dear?” I asked.
“I met a girl mom, she is so sweet.” I was happy that finally my daughter got some company here. But I want to know more about that girl. It’s not safe for Rashmi to hang around with a stranger in a strange place.
“What’s her name?”
“I don’t ask her name. I met her at the river bank. “
“Does she say anything about her?”
“No mom, we play sometime. She took me to some new places in the bank. It’s really beautiful mom. She asked about you, dad and grandma.”
“How did she know us? Is she our family?” My mind gets confused.
“She is definitely bigger than me. I will ask her name tomorrow. She ask me join her tomorrow morning in the bank.”
Now, I got a chance to know that girl. I will join you guys tomorrow.
Rashmi went to meet her friend. I have to complete my works. In a rush I completed all my work.
I reached the banks. It took some time to find Rashmi. I found her alone, throwing stones into river.
“Where is your friend?” I asked her and sat down. River looks beautiful, as it always does.
“She didn’t come, mom.”
“Let’s wait dear. She will come.”
“She will surely come, mom. But…?” She struggled.
“But what? ”
“You won’t wait for her, mom” She hugged me and started crying. I get confused, and don’t know what to do.
“Why are you crying?” I asked wiping her tears.
“Nothing mom. You stay here.” She said and get up. Then walks through the bank and climb on a big rock.
“Rashmi what are doing? Get down from there” I shouted and ran towards her.
“You give me to this river, mom” She said and jumped into river.
At that moment my heart stops beating. I fall down.
When I got my conscious back I was in my bed.
“How are you mom?” I saw Rashmi sitting in my bed. I hugged her and broke into tears.
“A rikshawala saw you lying unconscious. He got you here.” My mother-in-law said.
“What happen to Rashmi? She is here with me all this time.” She said and went to kitchen.
What? Rashmi is safe. Who’s that girl? May be it was a dream. A bad dream.
“Roshni sis send me home early, mom.”
“It’s her name mom. She said her mother threw her into that river. How cruel she is?”
“Yes dear, she is cruel.” I said and started crying.
“Roshni, how is her name Ajay?”
“Do mom knows you are pregnant?”
“No, you say it to her.”
“Do you think we need a child now?” Ajay asked. I don’t expect such a question from Ajay.
“Ajay, what happen to you?”
“Try to understand Riya. You know our situation. We can’t afford a child now.”
“What you wanna say?”
“Let’s abort it Diya,”
I woke up and check the clock. It shows 1’o clock.
Yes, Roshni is my daughter. I killed (sorry, aborted) her and threw her away into that river. I can’t fight against Ajay’s so called ‘reasons and situation’. May be I can. I forgot it’s a life. I think murder and abortion are different. Yes, they are different. I destroy my Roshni’s dreams before she starts dreaming. It’s a mother’s regret and a murderer’s confession.
“Mom, where are you going?”
“I’m coming with you. To meet your Roshni sis.”