A roadside market in Uttar Pradesh – Part VII

Posted: February 13, 2014 in A roadside market in Uttar Pradesh, Short stories, starts & writing

Shani’s birth had an altogether more sobering influence on her mother, compared to the starry-eyed adulation her arrival had triggered in her dear Papa.
When she awoke from the anaesthesia, apart from feeling woozy and nauseous, and not altogether sure of her own whereabouts, Chahaya felt distinctly aware of some change in some part of her soul, or her being, her élan vital. She could not say exactly what, but something was missing. While she eventually came to the realisation that she had, quite literally, had a large part of her insides ripped out, for some time she could not explain the void she now felt within.
She was in hospital. Though not much else was, this much was clear. Doctors and nurses and orderlies and her beaming husband and a screaming baby all flashed past. Nurses and doctors and the screaming baby and nurses and then her worried husband, caught in a weird time dilation, and after what seemed to her like only a brief moment, a matter of minutes, she was suddenly being wheeled out to Yama’s Hillman.

The little car sat in the road, puttering white clouds of fog into the frigid air, like some well-trained Labrador panting away, dribbling slobber good-naturedly on to the living-room carpet.

Hillman Husky

“You go home and enjoy your new baby, Mrs. Surya,” said a voice from behind her head.
She slowly looked up and around and saw that a young nurse had been the one to push her out to the car.
“Here we are now,” came her husband’s voice over the sound of the car door closing. “Let us get you two out of this cold.”
“Can’t have this little joy getting a chill now. Up we get, Mrs. Surya.”
The same white clouds were puttering out of the nurse’s pretty mouth.
“Chahaya?” Yama’s voice asked.
Slowly taking her gaze from the nurse’s mouth, she looked up and noticed the bleakness of the sky, felt the cold.
“The clouds stole the sun,” Chahaya whispered, almost inaudibly to herself.
“What’s that, Mrs. Surya?” asked the nurse.
Chahaya looked around at her husband, his red, smiling cheeks falling ever so slightly when she met his eye.
“Are you ready, Chah’? Let’s take our baby home.”
It was only then that she realised she had a small bundle in her arms, a small, sleeping face quietly snoring out at her. A baby!
Yama stepped up behind her, took hold of the handles of the wheelchair and thanked the nurse.
“You’re most welcome, Mr. Surya. You two go home and enjoy your new baby.”
Chahaya looked at the grey sky over the rooftops opposite as she felt herself moving toward the car, found she was standing, walking, heard the clip-clop of the nurse’s shoes fading into the background.
Whispering quietly to herself again, she sang, “She was mine only yesterday, both our hearts beat as one.”
“What did you say, Chah’?”
“But then I felt her slip away,” she mouthed silently. Looking around at Yama she said quietly, “Nothing, Yama. Just a song.”
The next thing she knew she was in their living-room, sitting in an arm-chair by the ticking radiator, the sound of rain falling outside. Yama was standing by the window, holding the same little snoring bundle she had been holding earlier, staring in absolute rapture and whispering to it, showing it his red cheeks and his eye-teeth.
“And the heavens cried,” she thought.

And the tears filled the stream
And the stream filled the river
The river filled the sea
All because she took her love away from me

Though each dawn brings the sun again
Yesterday will remain, a-hoh-hoh
Everyday I’ll remember when
All the clouds filled with rain

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