Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Does every mother have a choice?

Last evening was a bad one. No idea why so much gloominess is packed in this one year for me but definitely I am tired of this now.

Saurabh surprised me by coming back home from work at least an hour earlier than his usual time. I was so excited to see him that I got down (we live on the 1st floor) to our gate to receive him. As soon as I step out of the gate, I hear someone wailing inside my next door neighbors house. Instinctively, instead of going towards Saurabh,  I turn to the house from where the voice is slowly increasing. To my shock I see our old maid -Laxmi-running out with her 2 year old son in her arms. Behind her is my neighbor frantically collecting his car keys and locking his house door. I rush to Laxmi to ask what happened just when I see the small baby bleeding profusely from his head. The blood dripping to the ground, his shirt soaked in red. Laxmi (she must be barely 22 or 23 years old) is crying while trying to somehow stop the overflowing liquid. I have not seen such a terrible sight so close and I try and hide my helplessness behind words of encouragement that her son will be fine.

In the meantime Saurabh too makes his way closer to us and then it hits me, how alone Laxmi is midst strangers with a severely injured baby clutched in her arms. As the neighbor pulls out his car, she looks at me and says- "Aap chalo mere saath". I do not think twice and we both get into the back seat. In my faint glimpse of Saurabh on the road, I remember him stuffing my phone in my hand. 

The neighbor (matching Vettel's caliber)  rushes us to the nearest hospital's emergency ward and then begins the ordeal with hassled doctors who finally (after half an hour) shout on us saying: "This is not a joke. We are bogged down with Dengue emergencies Madam. First aid has been provided to you. Now please rush the child some where else". Do we have a choice? No!

Now we are on our way to a private nursing home but Laxmi has not stopped crying. I take the baby from her who gives me his first smile of the evening. As the neighbor scouts for a parking space, I rush the baby to the clinic's emergency room and to my utter relief 5 senior doctors immediately spring into action. They take the injured baby from our hands and disappear into the minor OT before assuring us in a calm, relaxed tone  that if the child has not vomited or fainted after the fall, he is perfectly alright and some stitches will do the trick. 

The wait outside the OT, where the father of my kids has joined me now is excruciating. I decide not to break down in front of Saurabh because he needs to be assured that I am strong. But I am not. I am not a strong mother. From the inside, I was shattered. In every word of comfort that I spoke to Laxmi, was sheer pretense as I knew that if I was in her shoes, I would have myself required some medical attention. Within 10 minutes Harsh was sewed up and I can only imagine what Laxmi must have felt, but when I saw him in the Doctor's arms, stretching his hands to his mother, I choked in my throat. 

Harsh accompanies Laxmi to all the houses when she is working. My neighbor has often told her not to bring him along as when she gets busy with her cleaning and washing, Harsh climbs up and down the stairs or touches sharp objects without supervision. Last evening too as she got busy with the utensils, Harsh climbed a chair, lost his balance, fell and hurt his head on the kitchen slab. When I asked her last night why she brings such a small kid with her when she cannot clearly take care of him she said softly: "I have no one to take care of him at home when I am out earning".

These words of her reminded me of my own situation. I too did not have anyone to take care of my kids back home if I worked outside. Hence I decided to quit rat race and stayed home raising them. Difference is that while we could afford cutting our household income by half, Laxmi cannot. She had to and has to pay the price of this decision......this situation of hers :(

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