It was well past 9 pm. Reena paced to the kitchen forgetting the customary good night kiss to her daughters; Shivani and Sangita. She wanted to organise the kitchen chores, but her mind was perturbed. Her hospital appointment was at 7am in the morning. Her parents had come to stay with her for a week, for when she would recover from the planned medical procedure. Both her parents-in-law had passed away, so her parents often helped out with the kids.
Her mind wandered to the discussion in the clinic a few weeks ago.
Her husband Vinod was talking in very abstract terms, “We did not plan for a baby, so this is a gift. We should deem ourselves lucky.” But Reena wasn’t convinced. “Shivani is 7 and Sangita is 5. They need a lot of attention from us now. By having a baby now, we wouldn’t be doing justice to them… and 5 years is a long gap between your second and third child.”, she reasoned.
“Reena, you always wanted a girl and a boy. This could be the boy you always wished for.”, offered Dr. Sujata the gynaecologist, who was also a family friend.
Like many mothers, Reena had wanted two children; she would have preferred a girl and a boy. Sujata had known about this; she had, after all, helped deliver Shivani and Sangita.
“But I wanted a girl and a boy not two girls and a boy. My two bundles of joy keep my hands full. More importantly, I am too old for a baby right now and not mentally prepared for one either.”, said Reena exasperated
Reena had held her position that day at the clinic and the date for the procedure had been fixed. It was tomorrow.
Reena switched off the kitchen light and retired to the bed, not thinking too much about the MTP the next morning. Vinod was already asleep. Reena dozed off too, as soon as she hit the pillow.
“Wake up Vinod… Www…wake up.”, Reena shook Vinod awake. It was 3 am.
“Oh Reena. Why? What is it?”, he grumbled in his sleep. His deep slumber was destroyed by his wife’s tugging and panting.
Reena: “I saw him. I saw him over there.” she mumbled.
Vinod: “Saw who?”
Reena: “I saw your father.”
Vinod: “My father?”
Vinod turned the bed lamp on. Reena sat up properly on the bed. By now, she had become calmer. She pointed to her side of the bed, “He was standing right over there. He was sort of floating because I couldn’t see his legs. He appeared like a portrait, only visible up to his waist. He looked very sad.”
“Did he say anything?” Vinod queried.
“Yes, with a gloomy face he enquired why we are giving him so much grief by our actions.” said Reena puzzled.
“Vinod, I don’t understand what he meant”.
“What’s there not to understand Reena. We must cancel the MTP procedure first thing in the morning.”, said Vinod, overcome with emotions.
“But we decided”, protested Reena.
“Let’s talk tomorrow morning”, settled Vinod.
While Reena was firm in her words, her resolve had been shaken by what she had seen. Had her late father-in-law paid her a visit or was it just a dream. Either which way, it seemed to be a sign. Was Vinod right in interpreting the dream the way he did, or was it her own subconscious pushing her to reconsider?
She remained sleepless the remainder of the night. The following morning was clearer for Reena. She had made her decision – she was continuing the pregnancy.
Things moved on and Reena was on the 6th month of pregnancy now. The thought of the dream occasionally came back to her. That night she spoke to Vinod. “I keep thinking about Papa’s dream. He seemed so full of life.”, said Reena.
Vinod could sense anxiety in Reena’s voice. “Don’t you believe in Atma?”, Vinod asked her. “Someone may lose one’s physical form but the all-pervading Atma remains forever. Papa’s Atma could foresee your dilemma the first time and helped shape your decision by coming to warn you about the mistake you were possibly about to commit. Think of it as an intervention.”
Time rolled on and Reena was three days past her due date now. She felt like she had mild contractions that evening. Before going to bed, she had called Dr. Sujata to discuss her situation. Sujata estimated that Reena could be brought in the following afternoon, based on what the latter had described about her contractions.
Vinod checked with Reena how she was feeling. “I’m feeling very anxious .. an ominous feeling of dread.”, said Reena.
“You’re just nervous before the big day. Everything will be alright, I promise”, Vinod comforted, as they drifted to slumber.
.. This time it was as real as watching a movie. Reena’s body had frozen but she felt drops of cold sweat dripping down her neck. She was watching her father-in-law struggling to free himself from a vine that had looped around his neck. Reena attempted to rise from her bed to help him but he signalled her to stay. Or so it felt.
Reena woke up with a startle. She could feel her contractions were more frequent now. She woke Vinod up. “It’s time to go”, she said.
“Now?”, Vinod asked, checking his watch.
Many hours and contractions later..
Vinod waited anxiously in the lobby of the maternity section in the hospital, listening to Reena’s screams. He heard another burst of Reena’s screaming and gasping followed by a moment of silence.
Vinod rushed in to find a beautiful baby, just beginning to cry. “Congratulations, Vinod”, beamed Dr. Sujata. “Let me show you something remarkable”, said Sujata pointing at the baby’s neck. “Do you see these marks? Your boy is a fighter. He seems to have been entangled in the umbical cord but managed to free himself”.
Reena, lying exhausted in her bed muttered to herself, “Thank you, Papa”.
Photo Credits: Unsplash
This is an entry for the event #Supernatural #UniK-7 being held at Writers Room | Room8.
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