When I saw my child for the first time minutes after she was born, I couldn’t believe my eyes. How can someone as ugly as me produce something so beautiful? This really couldn’t be my child. My exhausted body demanded rest, and reminded me of all the pains it had taken to bring my baby daughter into this world. But stubborn as I still am, I refused to let her go. Rishi was standing next to me, a proud father. The newly arrived little person had totally enraptured him.
Despite a failing struggle to let her remain with me, the nurse took her from my arms, and asked me to rest. And in spite of myself, I slept a dreamless sleep.
This was fourteen years ago. Since then, life has never been the same for me. Being a mother can be very demanding. But need I say that its also the best thing in the world? A span of fourteen years passing by unnoticed. How could I forget those moments? My infant baby daughter saying her first word “Mama”, and my triumphant smile at Rishi. She standing up for the first time, like it was the most natural thing in the world, and promptly landing down on her backside again. The way she was always scared of crossing the road, like I was at her age. Her cries whenever I got dressed up to go for work. Her joyous laughter at her first toy, a stuffed dog. She falling down an umpteen number of times, but never crying until she I held her in my arms and comforted her. Her excitement at going to playgroup, but her fear at seeing so many other children of her own age. The way she held my hand when she was scared. Her first school uniform and her ecstasy at her pigtails. Her very first holiday in Goa, where we learnt that she was a natural at swimming. When she shyly came and told me about her first crush, at the age of 13. The three of us have shared so many beautiful and tender moments together. How can I forget them?
But then, how can I forget the moments when my baby girl first started vomiting blood? The first time we were told that my Mahika was victim to blood cancer? The first time we were told that she had just six months to live? The first time we told her of the situation and she cried her heart out to us? The time when she stopped going to school because she was entering the last stage of her short life? The pitying looks and phone calls she received from her friends and relatives? The way she struggled to keep happy and cheerful, so that we wouldn’t lose our strength? The way she bravely faced her sessions of chemo-therapy? The times when she used to cry by herself, when she lost her lovely hair? The way she began to wilt before our very eyes and lost the entire colour in her life? The way she bid us goodbye– “Mum, Dad, I love you a lot. Thanks for being so caring. You’re the best.”
But like I knew all along, Mahika didn’t die; I knew she wouldn’t. I never had much faith in the doctor anyway, although Rishi believed him from the start. There I can see my daughter coming home from school. She is so beautiful! No wonder so many guys fall for her. I’d better hurry and get lunch ready; she must be hungry. Although I wish the people in this place, would leave me alone. Do they think I’m mad, that they have kept me locked up in this place? Is cooking for my daughter, washing her clothes a crime? Why do they tie me to the bed this way? Let me go, Mahi is back from school, she needs lunch. Please, someone let me go. My Mahika needs me. Not that stupid injection again, please. Not now, oh please not now! My Mahi must be looking for me. My daughter must be hungry…….