... 'so-great' mom
I have always craved for a child, a girl child to be precise. My friends seemed surprised. For them I will always be the immature bacchi who will either change the channel or turn away even at the sight of a lip lock scene on the telly.
Its not that I am a great kids person. I am not. I don't fawn over 3-9 months olds or pull their cheeks and exclaim 'how chweet'. I don't even hold them and have ended up offending quite a few new moms. You know how they are. Well, I do have a special gift with annoying kids. Like if the kid is 3 year old then I'd be the 2 year old one.
Yet I want a child. I want to adopt one. No, I have no intention to be the next Sush (I mean, who can). I do visit orphanages in my free time. Others call this social service. Its not. I am doing myself a favour by filling my lazy afternoons like this. Orphanages are no discotheques but just as fun. Actually more so.
Now its not as if you adopt one just like that. In India, the legal peaks of adoption have no end to them. But forget the legalities of it, there are other pressing matters. You need to feel some connection. And I have felt it with her. Her name is Ziha. I named her.
I found her near the Blore railway station. I used to work for the B-organization for child welfare during weekends. They have 4 orphanages in Blore, though badly funded. I am not sure, but I think she was 8 or 9 months old. Her face was grubby, she stank, she was bawling; but it was love at first sight.
I couldn't take my eyes off her bluish grey eyes. When cleaned up, fed and put to sleep, I thought she looked like an angel. I became a frequent visitor at the orphanage. Before, I used to go to have fun with the kids there. After Ziha happened I had eyes only for her. She had me completely wrapped around her finger.
I wanted her. I wanted to adopt. But adoption procedures that too for an unmarried Muslim girl like me- do I need to say more? I remember telling Sister, "Juz give her to me. Who is going to know? I found her after all."
Constant nagging and pressure to stop seeing Ziha from my friends (social work trainees) who knew about this didn't help the matters. They kept attacking me with questions like- Even if you manage to adopt how are you going to manage? You don't earn enough to support her. What about when you go off to work. Kids need constant attention. What about your parents? What will happen when you marry? Oh my God! I wished to goodness that they were working somewhere else.
But it really stung when they said it was not love but an unhealthy obsession. I lost it.
Childless parents visit orphanages frequently. Every time when I hear about someone coming to visit from Sister, my heart’d beat wildly. I couldn’t help hoping that Ziha would go unnoticed from evil eyes. Shes mine. I despised myself for this. It wasn’t fair. She can’t wait in the orphanage till I make up my mind, till I tell my mummy and papa… And there was a huge chance that my request for adoption would be denied…
But again Ziha is a beautiful child and the youngest there. Of course she’d be taken. Sister convinced me for that. She doesn’t live at the orphanage now. I don’t know where she is now. I can find out if I want to. But I won’t. Its nearly one year since all these…
I have discovered an important thing about myself. I am not capable of true love. If I had truly loved her, I’d have fought tooth and nail for her. I wouldn’t have let her go. I wouldn’t have let myself be convinced by Sister that shes better off with ‘a mother and a father’. I would have told my parents the truth and done what I should have, no matter what. But I have let her go.
It was and is still like looking into a mirror that shows you your ugly dark side. Isn't it amazing, the length we go to convince ourselves (and of course others) that we are good people? Yet we forget that there is no escape from the evil in our heart, selfishness that bounds tight & cowardice that rule our hearts. Its easy not to fight, and its easier to give up half way... Why 'easy' always win over 'right? Of course we are experts at making excuses that insult conscience. And we let ourselves be convinced and then move on with a heavy heart.
I won’t say I love you Ziha. I have no right to. I hope, if there is a next time I will do what I want and what is right.