Vibha woke up in the middle of the night, checked on her daughters, and went back to sleep, hugging them tight. It was a usual midnight ritual. The following day seemed like yet another busy day. She gave her twin babies Dia and Mia, a bath, carefully chose pretty dresses from their wardrobe, played with them for a while and started reading stories for them. Dia, the elder child was the quiet one while Mia the younger one was naughty and gently reprimanded by Vibha every now and then.
Vibha stayed with her parents in a little village in India. She seldom stepped out of the house, and her parents ensured most of her requirements were met. Today as Vibha was telling the story of Krishna and Sudhama, to her daughters, in the backyard, a ball came flying into her lap. She noticed a young girl looking in the direction of the ball. Instinctively, she went out and handed over the ball to her.
“You must be, Vaishnavi, right? It has been so long. I saw you when you were a year old. Now you must be 6 years right? “ “ Do you want to come and play with my daughters? They have no friends to play with.” The kid hesitated. “They will share their toys with you. Do come in. They will be happy to see you” she pleaded.
Just then, Vaishnavi’s mom spotted her daughter with Vibha. She rushed to the spot, and screamed at her daughter “Haven’t I told you, never to go this side and talk to this mad woman? “ “She is a mad, mad, woman. She has no daughters. She is crazy.”
Vibha crouched holding her stomach. Vibha’s parents helped her in. She went into her room. Her babies were fast asleep. She picked them carefully, held them tight and felt a shattering pain pierce through her as if someone stabbed her right across her heart.
She recollected the day. It was her 20th week into pregnancy. The scan specialist said she was going to have twins. Vibha was very very happy. Even though it was illegal in India to disclose the babies’ gender, the doc on insistence from Vibha’s husband Ram, told them they were to be parents of two beautiful daughters. Ever since then, Vibha started building castles nursing her princesses in them. She even bought two beautiful identical baby dolls to adorn her bed.
Her husband Ram however seemed indifferent. He barely spoke to her after that. Vibha was too excited to let that bother her too much. At home, that night, she recollected Ram and his parents being huddled together in a room for nearly an hour.
A week later, Ram said coldly, she had to abort the children. The heir to the heirloom had to be a son. A son, who alone can light up a funeral pyre for his parents, a son for whom you never have to worry about giving dowry, a son who would take care of them as years go by and a son, who will take forward their family business and thus their fortunes.
Vibha cried the whole night. She contemplated calling her parents but Ram ensured there was no means to do that, by cutting off the telephone line. The next morning, she was drugged and taken to the hospital where, where……..her daughters were unceremoniously stripped off their lives.
Vibha with her parents tried to take it up with the police station for justice, who harassed her even more. They refused to even take down a complaint. She left to her parents home with her dear possession, her two dolls.
Vibha now fell down with a thud as the rotten memories came gushing down. She regained consciousness the next morning waking into the eyes of Dia and Mia. She had to bathe them. She had a new book to read to them. It was going to be another busy day.