She suddenly remembered that night. There was a silent prayer on her lips as she went to bed alone. Kshitij had gone on a business trip and would not be home before the weekend. The unending thoughts had caused the sleep to evade her; after several unsuccessful attempts, she found herself ultimately going down the memory lane. It would be seven years since that fateful day. Their's was a happy marriage. Arranged, but they had found love budding in its own sweet time and pace. Kshitij's job often required him to travel and he made it a point to try and include Shraddha in his trips whenever possible.
At all other times, she was happy to stay back and await his return. It was during one of those waiting periods that she had found out about the baby. There was more eagerness and joy of waiting then. But the reality was to be in stark contrast of what she had expected.
Seven Years Earlier Kshitij had called to inform her about his return. It usually took thirty minutes to reach home from the airport. Shraddha was excited as the wait was finally going to be over. However, the wait only got prolonged. By the end of it, she just got a call from the cops stating Kshitij had met with an accident and was currently hospitalized. Shraddha found herself jostling for a little space at the reception counter to know the whereabouts of Kshitij. When she finally got a chance to speak to the doctors, she for a second had to hold on to the desk for support. He was in a delicate state, fighting for his life and would possibly lose the battle if he did not receive a liver transplant at the earliest. A speeding car had collided head-on with the cab he had taken and an iron rod had pierced through his liver in the process.
It was 3 in the morning and she still had no idea how and where from to get a donor. Her parents were on their way to hospital from Delhi. In the silence of the night she had sat on a bench outside the hospital thinking of a way out. Even though there was no issues with respect to money, she still felt as helpless as somebody who desperately needed wealth to save somebody's life. She had bugged the doctors to find out an alternative till they find a good donor, but she was told in clear words that the chances were bleak. It was not unknown that getting a willing donor is a daunting task that can take a day to years. Shraddha had gone numb. Yet there was something nagging her. She finally found the courage and approached the doctors with her question. The answer, was not surprising. Yet that had given her a sliver of hope. She held on to it with the death-grip.
Putting aside her apprehensions, she had asked if she can be the donor. That also meant informing them about her pregnancy. The answer she had received had put her in another tight spot.
This time, the decision was going to be the hardest in her life. Kshitij did not even know about this yet. She did not have the luxury of time, she had made her choice.
A sudden pain shot up, bringing her back to the present. She lovingly and longingly touched her belly, wishing for the end. Tossing and turning the entire night, she had gone into labour the next morning. Kshitij was informed by the neighbors and he was on his way back. In the meantime, Shraddha was experiencing a myriad of emotions along with the pain; fear of something going terribly wrong, or the contentment of finally achieving the evading happiness. After several hours, she finally had held her baby. Girl, who was a living embodiment of the freedom she felt. While their folks were starting to debate on what to name her, Shraddha already knew what would she call her. Deliverance had taken seven long years to come to her.
"Mukti", she said and hugged her tight.
- Sadhana Wadhawa