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Amrita Valan is a mother to two teenage boys and also a writer who loves to observe and reflect upon the world around her. Some of it is beautiful and creates memories to cherish. Some of it puzzling to the point of being unacceptable, but as a writer, it becomes imperative to shed tears of ink when it hurts.


Trigger Warning

She was my cousin, a kid sister, following me avidly in everything since childhood. Like if I put up a Boris Becker poster, on my wall, or one of Tom Cruise, soon enough, she too would have sourced the same guy’s poster somehow.

When I outgrew my teen icons, I rolled them all up, including Lennon’s, (Though I never outgrew him), and presented them all to her.

My baby sister’s heart shaped face lit up and her dark doe eyes glowed, as she pushed back her pretty raven locks and said, “Really Bea Didi, (Elder sister), You don’t want them anymore?’

I marvelled at her sweetness, her simplicity.

Later in life when she swiftly rose meteorically to high flying jobs, with salaries to match, I marvelled at my little sister’s dynamo and drive.

Today, she is a successful woman, (very!) and mommy to a beautiful ten-year-old boy. She chose his birth date in fact, since he was delivered by C-section, to avoid even a hint of complications that she had faced in a prior pregnancy.

She had had to choose, to abort that little one, also a boy, at a late stage after having crossed the first trimester.

She had always seemed to have had it all, beauty, a great job, and a doting handsome spouse, but at thirty she craved for a baby, and was euphoric, (in her own serene fashion) when she conceived.

Again, she was very understated about it, because that is her nature, a big achiever, but with no flashiness. Modest and so down to earth.

You could just see the glow of contented radiance on the face of this soon to be mommy.

Then it all went horribly wrong.

One July morning, in hushed tear-soaked tone, her mother, my aunty, confided to me, that the nearly five months old fetus had been discovered to have a rudimentary heart. I cannot recall the exact medical term for it.

But what was pertinent was that, so long as the mother’s heart supported the baby, he was fine inside the womb. Outside, he wouldn’t survive, beyond a few painful months, as he would literally have to struggle for every breath.

When I met my sister, she gazed at me gravely, and stroked the cheeks of my two boys, one a toddler, the other about a year old.

I was super ashamed to bring my kids in tow, but that particular day, I had no one to leave them with. My aunty was miffed but not my sister. She has always got that streak in her, fair minded, brave too. The guts to take decisions, after weighing everything quietly. That translated into success in her job. Now she berated her mom, “Don’t keep children away from me. I need to love them more now, to make the right decision.”

Then with eyes suspiciously moist, she said to me, “If I love him Didi, then why would I subject him to pain? Even if I can tolerate his struggle… Why should he have to?”

She gave her little baby to be, his final release on 11 a.m. in the morning a few days later.

And each of us mourned that moment in silence and prayed for the passage of the innocent soul.

I think she is the best of possible mothers today. She would come home from office, as early as she could make it, and however tired, she would first take her toddler, to the park to play with other children. Every day.

Yes. To me, she is the best of possible mothers in this imperfect world of unnecessary unforeseeable tragedies. To both her sons, the one born in perfect health, and the unborn wee one, aborted out of mercy.

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