I am making the filling for Ukdiche Modak, a sweet made as an offering to Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival celebrated by Maharashtrians all over the world. One needs to use deft fingers to mold the hot rice paste into domes, filling it with the sugar and coconut mixture. My hands are moving with practiced dexterity as my mind moves unfettered to places in the dark recesses of my mind, when my thoughts are broken by the door bell.
Radha bai opens the door and says 'Tai, saheb aale' (madam, your husband is home). Vikas walks in with his laptop bag and picks up the mail lying on the coffee table. He looks tired and had hardly been home these days. His excuse is "there is too much work at the office". Without giving a glance in my direction, he drops his bag on the sofa and goes to the bathroom to wash his face. Radha bai puts a vessel on the gas stove to make tea for us.
I had hired Radha bai to work with us full time, six months back, in anticipation of the baby's arrival. What with keeping awake late nights for feeds and diaper changes, I knew I would not be able to handle the baby and the house all alone. My mother had passed away when I was in college and I was the only child. I had no one from my family to help me take care of the baby. Vikas's father did not keep good health so my mother in law already had her hands full. Radhabai had taken care of many small babies in other houses. She knew how to bathe and give oil massage to the baby.
As I smell the tea and the ginger, I touch my flat belly and remember that unfortunate day, when my world came crashing down. The unnatural cramps in my abdomen and a visit to the bathroom was all it took for me to realize something was terribly wrong. As Ritu, my next door neighbor took me to the Gynecologist, I knew deep in my heart that I had lost the baby. The days after the miscarriage are so hazy in my mind. They seem distant and at the same time so close..the memory of those days still leaves me breathless.
Both Vikas and I had been ecstatic when we got to know that I was pregnant. Ours was a love marriage and even before we were married we knew we wanted children. There was the usual flurry of doctor's appointments and reading baby books in the first few months. Friends who were parents chipped in with their own advice. We started decorating the guest bedroom and turned it into a nursery. Tiny baby clothes and booties made my heart burst with happiness.
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Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.