Translation of “Uyirosai” by S. Ramakrishnan, published in Ananda vikatan dated 12.10.2003. It is one of the articles from the collection, 'Thunai ezhuthu'.
Durga has come to chennai for the third time. She was married to a Bengali engineer just four months ago. When they had been to Andaman Islands for honeymoon her health failed. Medical results showed that she was pregnant. That drove her to Chennai for the first time.
Doctors detected that she was carrying triplets. The state-of-the-art mediscan showed three small dots throbing. The doctors said that her children might be born with congenital defects, as she was weak. They advised her to be very careful.
Without expressing her grief, she went to ASTALAKSHMI temple in the evening. Unlike her, her husband showed deep sorrow in his face. He paid homage with shivering hands. Both meditated at Sai Baba temple.
At night, she was not able to eat. Her husband asked her, “What are we going to do?” She answered biting her lips, “ 'am scared.” They didn't sleep the whole night. They consulted another gynecologist the next morning. She underwent the same tests. There were three foetus. “The mother as well as the children will get affected,” the doctor's statement made them phobic of medication. Nonplussed, they returned to Kolkata.
Durga's parents prayed to Goddess DURGA. Her husband's family came forward with many suggestions. They consulted an astrologer too. With great hesitation her husband told Durga that the doctors told him that there was only one solution for their plight.
“One of the embryos can be killed.”
“Which one?” she asked in perfect panic.
To decide that, they had come to Chennai again. All the three had grown equally. Her health condition was not fit to carry three. Doctors warned her that the children would become handicapped if continued in uterus. Durga went to Kabaleeswarar temple. Prayed earnestly. She gave fistful of coins to each beggar.
Before starting to Chennai for the third time she prayed to all the Gods known to humankind, to forgive her sin. She asked excuse to the baby that would leave her before birth.
When she entered the hospital she thought, “Should I return to Kolkata without taking the treatment?”, though she knew about the risk for her life if she would fail to take the treatment. But she was not courageous to tell that to her husband. Her sister-in-law and mother-in-law were accompanying her. Another scan was taken on that day. In anesthesia she could hear the doctor. In few minutes one of the three embryos was cut, as easily as breaking the edge of a thorn. She was admitted for two days at the hospital. Everyone were delighted.
Among the three which one was that? How to know that? What would have been its name? Male or Female? Why did the life end for that baby so early? How did the doctors choose that particular one? How does an embryo emerge? Its felt that embryo grows in pregnancy. But where does a life come from? Depression increases as she continues her thinking. With her tired eyes she cries through the whole night thinking of her unforgivable sin. The other two creatures are still throbbing. The next day she decided never should she visit Chennai again.
What's happening around us, indeed? The phobia of advanced medication seems to be of higher degree than the fear caused of ignorance or helplessness. Does any other creature destroys its own embryo? A pomegranate grows with hundred seeds in it! Has mercy been sacked of this world? Is a life so cheap? She is scared.
Durga will not come back to this city. But it is the city of her unborn child, isn't it?
A story... written by Re. Fradry of America.
A woman gives birth to a female child. It is a city affected by nuclear radiation. Her husband hurries with excitement to see the baby. The baby, placed in the cradle looks like an aluminium sheet. So weightless! Like a sketch on a paper, she has small eyes… small mouth... He is able to feel her breath. Only her breathing announces that that is a living object. They fear even to touch the infant with the tip of their fingers.
After few weeks they carry their baby to home. They always keep her in the cradle covering the infant with a cloth. She does not cry, does not laugh either. Instead she makes a little sound that the pen makes with the paper. Although, it is their first child... isn't it? They name her. They dress her with new garments. They bring her up happily.
Several months pass by. Suddenly one day they hear a whistle like sound from the cradle. They understand that it is from the baby, but they are not able to console her.
A doctor comes to diagnose. He tells “your baby started speaking and this is her language. Listen to her whistle keenly.” The mother learns the whistle sounds daily. She understands which sound is for hunger and which one is to express happiness. She whistles similarly. The baby replies with another whistle. The whole family learns to whistle.
They have learnt a new language from the baby. There are no words in that. As the baby grows they stop talking among themselves. The whistle sounds are enough for them. One rainy day the child gets hyperventilation. They pray to God day- and-night. Alas! The baby passes away. They are greatly depressed with grief. Time moves on. Then they never speak a word between them. Seldom they whistle to each other. But, there is no one to identify whether that means hunger or happiness.