It was colder than always this winter. The window of this particular bogie refused to stay shut for long. The cold, chilly wind managed to make its way through bundles of layers of cloth, beneath which lay two tiny little beings, very new to this world, in their mother’s trembling hands.
They were just about a week old, and their mother, probably sixteen. Her body had not yet recovered from childbirth, something that her body wasn’t yet developed for. Her breasts were dry, with hardly any milk left in them, sagging like just two pieces of flesh, attached detachedly to her fragile body. She could do little about them. “It is my karma”, thought she, for this was the torture she had to undergo for giving birth to two girls-not one but two! Without enough food it was impossible to lactate, to feed those tiny mouths-shivering with the cold that had by now entered their bones- which clung to her, for warmth, for security, and for food.
The psychological satisfaction, by clinging on to a piece of flesh each, was enough for the tiny beings to survive. Survive? This is when it happened. That very moment, the suckling stopped, a mouth withdrew, and the body lay motionlessly in her hand. She froze, didn’t dare to move. “What if?”, “Is it…?” She realized what had happened. One of the girls was dead.
Curses were fired from all directions; they seemed never ending.
“How much time does it take for a dead body to start rotting?”
“Can we just get rid of it as soon as possible, maybe flush it down?”
“We will throw it when we cross Ganga maiya, after the next station. Maybe she will forgive this randi. Hai Ram!! Baap re!! What an evil she is!!”
She held the dead girl to her chest, not letting any attempt to snatch it away from her succeed. If this is what had to be done, then be it. But she will be the one to throw her in the wild river, not anyone else. The next station came. The train halted for a brief 7minutes. Her tears had dried up even before coming out. She realized the gravity of the situation, went numb as she realized that she had lost the seed that grew in her womb in the last nine months, and had been out for less than 9days. She carried both the girls-one dead and other alive- for she feared losing the other one too, to the door, which lay ajar. The wind tried to suck her fragile body outwards, but the rigidity from within helped her stand still. The train was finally over Ganga, the stiffness in her body grew. With one last look at her, she flung the bundle of cloth towards the river…
…only to realize that the bundle that was left behind was the one with the dead girl. She had thrown the wrong body.
(Inspired by the movie "SAANJH", starring Nandita Das. Thanks Chumki!)