Story: Shadowy Sunlight
The day has been hectic all over for Dr Shruti Mukherjee. It seems she has been in the inundation of patients. It happens once in a week or a fortnight. She has also to plunge herself. There has a very knotty operation in the early morning. A foetus was somehow dead, and the mother was in the danger. When she heard, it seemed she had to say sorry, but thank God, mother was survived, but not the foetus. Mother was sobbing but Shruti was totally helpless. She has been thinking and gawks her fixed eyes toward the photo frame of goddess Kali that has been affixed in the wall of her personal cabinet. The attendants are very outlandish creatures. They can’t say anything and permit everyone.
Dr Mukherjee, ogles at her wrist watch. It sticks at eight thirty evening. She is going to leave her chair, then an attendant Kasturi opens the door of her cabinet and asks for her permission,
‘Madam, one patient comes for a consultation.’
-Now! Are you mad, today I have started at nine thirty morning, and this is eight thirty evening, almost twelve hours, ask her to come on next day.
– No Madam, it is not possible, she is very desperate and has already paid the consultation fees. She is paying no heed of us.
– Disgusting. You all are simply incorrigible. It seems foolish to run such a clinic with you all. Stupid, block headed. You all have witnessed the rush, still you are taking fees. I shall kick all you out. This is almost nine now, and mother may get angry today. She is already screwing my mind regarding marriage and you too are making me mad.
Dr Shruti pauses for a bit and reacts, ‘Okay, ask her to come.’
Kasturi closes the door with a tepid thud. After some time a young girl of nearby thirty plus, opens the door and enters in the room. Shruti raises her neck and meticulously scrutinize her. That lady wears a capri and a top. But she is very simple, even has not wore any ornament. Shruti after taking sometime starts in a very gruff voice, ‘Can you not wait for a single day?’
The lady leers, lugs a chair and sits on it. Immediately after she says, ‘Sorry Madam for disturbing you, but I have just able to manage a space only today.’
Dr Suruti melts down, and replies, ‘Then says, how can I help you here?’
The lady in a very plain voice replies, ‘Actually I have been trying for a couple of months, but some extent could not manage the time.’
– Leave the matter. Let’s have a discussion but in a very precise way please. I don’t have more time in my hand.
-I want to be a mother.
Shruti again watches her strangely and snubs ‘Go on, who has debarred you there.’
-No, madam, I am a single.
-What! Am I a mad, what have you considered? I run an IVF centre that does not mean I can do everything.
-I shall give you full payment.
-Everything does not run in payment only. We too have to follow a decorum. Get married soon, make a natural relation with your husband, if there is any discrepancy, only then you can come to me or to any other doctor
-I hate men
Dr Shruti has been surprised and frowned, and thoroughly re-examines the lady sitting just in front of her. Yes everything is very natural and simple, there is no incongruity, but still the lady states something very queer.
Shruti poses her, ‘Where do you stay?’
-Nearby, gate no one.
– Do you think only your egg can beget a child?
– I too know it is not possible, but you have your sperm bank in your centre.
Shruti jiggles her head, ‘Yes I have, but the process is very hectic and time spending. Can you bear it?’
-I may manage it, can arrange for medicals and what more?
Shruti is getting annoyed, but has not showed it and replies in a very calm tone, ‘Do you know how this IVF process run?’
That lady again simpers, ‘Madam I am an operation manager of a leading govt bank, every day I read news paper, entire world is under my palm. Your process starts form the day two or three of the cycle, and then takes four steps. Am I right Madam?’
-Are you directly from your office?
-Yes Madam, have tried to come earlier, but cannot manage. This fucking job is just horrible. Oh sorry to use my office jargon here.
Dr Shruti has lost her all equations. This is the first time in her ten years’ career, and two years for this new clinic, such a queer lady has come with a very weird affair. She is now enjoying her, and then asks, ‘Would you like to take a cup of coffee? I am preparing then.
– No Madam but thanks for your offer. Now tell me about your package and how many days I really need for it?
– Your name?
– Okay Keya, can I ask you a question?
–Why are dodging your marriage?
Keya heaves a sigh and replies,‘It is very personal but I will answer. Madam you cannot feel it. My mother is from East Bengal, and my father is from this West Bengal. Since my knowledge I have to see my father is very dominative, and he almost every time squeezed my mother. She has to leave her bed with the birds and at night she had to expose herself before my father. You cannot not imagine, my mother is just a figure for him. He doesn’t know anything, no fever, no periods and nothing. Every year she got pregnancy, and she had to abort. We all had been informed that she was not well and had to consult the doctor. I couldn’t do anything but only gape. She died earlier in uterus cancer.
Keya stops talking and starts sobbing.
Dr Shruti hears everything without a single remark, then she takes a long breath and replies, ‘You are an insurgent. But I have a very simple question .Can you live like a rebel? At least war with self is very dangerous.’
Yes I am intentionally a rebel. I don’t wear any womanly garments, I smoke, drink, use abusive words, not in love yet have a number of sexual relation .Further I have come to consult a doctor for my own baby and without having any marital relation.
– This much!
– I don’t want to discuss more.
–Then why have you come to become a mother.
-You know doctor, I have not thought it before, but one day one of my office colleague came with her child and I took her on my lap. You cannot imagine I felt a drizzling surge inside my body, and I was very much mesmerised with it. That has made the turn. Though I had been undecided for a couple of days, and then finally come for your consultation.
Dr Shruti pauses for a while, and then asks, ‘What is your problem in marriage?’
Now Keya pauses for sometime then replies, ‘Madam I had a relationship in my college days but I had not enjoyed. Every relation is very crispy during the initial time and then dampens. Men are more a fucker than a lover .I cannot enjoy it. I read many articles on surrogacy, and IVF; I have also searched for the names of the consultants then get your name. Someone has a successful IUI from you, I enquire for your Bio-data. The more important matter is we two are of same age. Even a doctor can be a friend.
Dr Shurti is brooding over the matter and finds a mirror in front of her .Yes she herself is sitting there, and her own mother too. Her mother has been tormented by her own mother-in law, and sobbing. Father is mere a spectator. Dr Shruti has been totally affected, her girlhood had been just spoiled. Is she Keya or Dr Shruti herself ?
– Madam, I am also Mukherjee.
The last sentence puts Shruti back to her table. She breaths gulp of air and utters, ‘One question Keya, after your delivery will you not get any problem, that means regarding parenting, a child without any father’s name?
Keya starts to fiddle her nose and asks, ‘What sort of problem? Defamation! I don’t care. I have my money and it is my own body I will enjoy as I wish.
– Okay but this is very painful process, injection can cause inertness, and success rate is not very optimistic.
Dr Shruti wants to continue, but Keya raises her hand and says, ‘Wait, now I have a question, a number of couple consulted you, babies are also being delivered, but still you are unmarried.’
Dr Shruti dazzles. It has been totally unexpected for her. She cannot answer but tries to measure the patient who sits in front of her. She wants to answer but Imtiaz of her medical college days comes to her in a mirage. He was younger, but very sobers and a cheerful and impish one. Shruti was very much moved with him, but she forgot, ‘propose was also a part of love.’ And one day Imtiaz took out a photo and showed it to Shruti, ‘Look, she is Shahina, my marriage has been fixed with her.’ Shruti couldn’t talk but a suffocation had paralysed her sense, she forgot every love and related matter. Now her time moves on injection, period’s day, and new babies of unsaturated married couple. She is now a very famous doctor. Every week her interview is published in leading newspaper. Her grandma is no more, but uncle, aunty and other kinsman like to keep in touch, like to come. Now her mother looks after the administrative part of the centre. From the medical stock to the stuff payment everything is under her mother’s control. Father takes the charge of the account section.
– What are you thinking Madam?
Keya asks. Shruti was in her college days and with Imtiaj. But she cannot say it anyone. Instead she in a grave voice replies, ‘Let me check out the legal matter, if anything comes. Next month you may come.’
Keya hears everything and says, ‘Madam, there was a dispute regarding a dead husband’s sperm, and the girl was not permitted. But in my case I think nothing may happen. But as you wish, may I come on my next cycle?’
–Make a prior appointment, and ask the attendant to have my touch at first. It would be better calling me at evening.
Keya leaves the clinic and Shruti comes to her home.
The night is not so good for Shruti on that day. She is hoaxing the pages of a medical journal, but cannot ponder. Mother has already poked about marriage. Shruti is also very desperate. After leaving a sustainable job in a reputed hospital she establishes her own centre. The process is not so easy. Everyone laughs initially, ‘No future of such a centre here in our suburban area. People are basically rural in nature.’ But her centre is just rushing now.
She cannot think more. What is the meaning of civilization? Every day when she returns to home, she leaves behind everything even her own past. Now she shuffles around this life. Her patients are coming from foreign also. Still she cannot decide.
Shruti stares and finds her mother is roaming around her room. Has she slept then?
Oh, it is morning. Mother unbolts the windows and invites the sweet and tepid sunbeams. It swathes her bed and every corner of the room. Shruti winks for some time and then asks, ‘Mother, if I arrange a doctor, can you run our centre for a year?’
Her mother becomes surprised, and asks, ‘Why? Are you leaving for any more courses?’
– I want to be a mother, and by IVF.
–What! What about marriage?
– Marriage is a poor concept.
-But you and we all have to live in this society.
– Fuck off. Just tell me if you two are agreed or not.
Mother takes a long breath, and come to sit on her bed. She says, ‘Then who will convey you after our death. You need someone only for that. Forget this devilish concept, and be rational.’
Her mother wants to leave her room, then Shruti asks her mother, ‘I shall understand those thing latter, but just say if you two are agree or not, I don’t bother the rest.’
In single breathe Shruti responses everything. But mother doesn’t make any reply. Outside of the window is very bright. The Sun is crossing its childhood and mother keeps her face on the sunny surface of window pane. What to do now, should she be granted or should receive a scolding. The coming equation is very complex and she is just in the corner.