Daughters in Law – Part 5
By: Thiyam Ningol, Dr. Nalini
Very unexpectedly, just 2 weeks after their meeting, Yanula was back again to see her.
-I have given a good thought. I cannot blame you alone for what has happened.
We all are equally guilty. I should have known from the beginning that marrying a man from a different culture and society needed more understanding and openness. I never gave him the chance to behave like himself; I never cared about his culture. We will help each other. Time will come when the children would grow up and many questions would be asked. We have to give them the correct answers. Please do not leave Cyprus. Does his parents know that you are pregnant?
- Yes, they do and they are anxiously waiting for the grand child.
- Do they know that he raped you?
- No, in our society a husband never rapes his wife. She is duty bound to obey.
- Yes, I am starting to understand. I will have a lot to teach my daughter, I mean our daughter.
When the baby was born, there was no question of asking about the father’s identity. He was carbon copy of Noor.
Yanula helped Asha during her crucial time of delivery and she permitted Asha to use their traditional, religion based marriage certificate for the registration of Birth Certificate of the new born child. They both decided to keep their secret away from Noor while waiting for the right time.
During her maternity leave, Asha came home. Her parents and in laws were very happy. Asha decided to keep the promise she made to Yanula. She did not discuss anything with anybody about her personal life in Cyprus.
Seeing the baby’s resemblance with Noor, even her mother in law did not ask anything. Everybody took it for granted that eventually things were sorted out.
Asha knew that it would be very difficult to bring up a child single handedly in a foreign country. Two third of her salary would be spent for the upkeep of the child. Moreover, she would sometimes be spending long , night hours on duty. It would be easier to arrange for the baby to be left with the grand parents. She had to sacrifice for the sake of the baby. Her mother in law and Rehema were willing to keep the baby.
When she came back to Cyprus, she had to work harder, doing double shift or sometimes moon lighting in other hospitals. The busy life made her easier to pass time also. Monthly she could send home some money to her in laws. Rehema kept her updated about the health and progress of the child. She used to send her photos regularly and Asha passed on the photos to Yanula.
Two years have passed. Asha visited her child and in laws every year. She was used to the life, she had accepted her fate and forgotten all about the vengeance against Noor.
One evening, she received a phone call from Yanula, requesting her to visit their place. She sounded very weak and urgent. When asked the reason for the urgency, Yanula simply answered that she would know when she arrived.
Asha cancelled her moonlight duty for the weekend and came to visit Yanula and her children. She imagined that Yanula must have taken care of sending away Noor so that no further complications came up. But surpringly, the door was opened by Noor and he looked at her with a pleading eye. Asha passed him quickly without bothering to greet. Then she saw Yanula being wheeled in by her son in the wheel chair. The boy greeted her warmly.
- Aunty, where were you all these days? Mama is very sick. Where is your son? I
have seen his photos. Papa says…
The boy noticed that Asha was not listening to him.
Asha knelt near Yanula’s wheel chair, embraced her and wept bitterly. Neither of them could speak.
Noor could not watch the scene any more. He went away. His guilt throttled him.
Slowly Yanula broke the silence.
- You excuse me Asha. I had to break the promise I gave you. Noor knows everything now.
- But what happened to you?
- I have multiple sclerosis. Confirmed diagnosis.
- No, no Yanula it can’t be.
Asha screamed and wept again.
- When did it start?
- For the past few months, I had been feeling very clumsy, falling all the time.
As the days passed by, I became worse. I have undergone all the tests and procedures. It is about 6 months now since the diagnosis is confirmed.
- Why didn’t you tell me?
- What could you have done? Moreover you had your own problems. So at the end I had to discuss with Noor and had to reveal all our secret friendship; about your pregnancy and your son-Rahim. Now we need your help, Asha!
I cannot feed myself. Even talking is becoming difficult. After few weeks or even days, may be I will not be able to breathe also. You know the disease; I don’t have to explain to you. Asha, let us forgive Noor. He and the children need you. When I am gone……
She had to pause. She was labouring to breathe. Tears were rolling down on her cheeks. She could not raise her hands to wipe the tears. Asha helped her.
- You don’t have to ask for it. I understand everything.
- Asha, can you arrange for our mother in law to come? I want to see her and ask to forgive me. I want her to accept her grand children” and she looked up at the direction of Noor.
Noor nodded his head.
- Yes, mother and…….if possible Rahim also.
This was not the situation Asha would have liked to reconcile the family. Not much time was left. One glance at Yanula was enough to understand the urgency.
Yanula continued looking at Noor and winked at him several times indicating to ask for forgiveness from Asha.
Noor understood her. He approached towards Asha
- Asha, forgive…….….
Asha stopped him in the middle.
- No need. Let me phone home.
She dialed the phone. Rehema picked up. She explained briefly about the situation and asked her to put her mother on line.
- Hello Mother, Hope you are doing well. On our side we have some problems. Me and Yanula, your daughters in laws need you here. Please come as soon as possible. Noor will be delighted to receive you here.
Everybody is expecting you to come with Rahim also. We are arranging for all the necessary papers and tickets.
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