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The alarm rang and Shreya woke up with a startle. She looked around and her daughter and husband were fast asleep. Quickly she switched off the alarm and made sure that they did not wake up. She dragged herself out of the bed and after the usual chores opened a window and could feel the cool breeze against her face. The weather was awesome but it reminded Shreya of that day.
That day when she got up it was drizzling and was windy. On her way to office she had stopped at her favorite coffee shop, just to enjoy the weather with a hot cup of coffee and a muffin. At the neighboring table Arun was seated with his cup of coffee. They saw each other and could not avoid the glances and it was indeed love at first sight for both of them. Arun was mesmerized with Shreya and could not resist but talk to her even she had the initial apprehensions but something about him wanted her to talk to him. Soon they were very much in love and as they say love needs no other company the two on their own were seen together everywhere in malls, at restaurants and for movies.
After a year of knowing each other they decided to tie the knot. Shreya’s father did not approve of this, but she thought with time he would accept Arun for what he was. However, Arun’s parents agreed after a hue and cry from his end. After marriage Shreya felt that she was the luckiest girl whose best friend had become her husband. Till now she felt that she was in a fairytale but soon she was jolted out of this dream.
Her mother in law had not really approved of her and had just said yes so that her son would not take any drastic step. As they were not of the same caste she would often hear Arun’s relatives consoling his mother. They would sympathize with her for not getting a girl of her choice. Often her MIL would say quite blatantly to Shreya that she did not get any chance to look for a girl for her son. If she had done so she would have found a girl who would be as good as her son. Shreya was also a good match for Arun as it was her vivaciousness which had attracted him to her. But her MIL never looked at that aspect.
Shreya got pregnant after six months of her marriage. Both Arun and she were very happy. They informed their respective parents. Arun’s mother congratulated them and told her finally she has a chance to be a family member with the birth of a son. Shreya was a little disappointed and softly but sternly asked her,”What if it is a GIRL!!!?” At this her MIL gave her a sharp look and said,”This cannot be. Our family has had only sons and so will you.” Her MIL’s answer shocked her and Shreya started praying for a healthy baby.
Anyone who used to bless Shreya would always say “putravati bhava”. Her MIL used to make endless visits to the family astrologer to find out if they were going to have a grandson. The astrologer had confirmed and also suggested some remedies for the same. Shreya was made to have the ashes of peacock feathers as it is believed that having them bores a son. She maintained a chart of what Shreya liked to eat, kept a track of her activities and body changes just to analyze whether it was going to be a boy or a girl. Once she had even expressed the desire to find out the sex of the baby; but Arun had put his foot down. She had spoken to all the dai’s and all had said that Shreya is going to have a son. As per the old wives tales Shreya had a low and round baby bump which was proof enough that she is having a son.
Finally the big day arrived and Shreya was admitted to the hospital. Due to some complications her doctor decided to do a c-sec rather than a normal surgery. When her MIL came to know about the c-sec she was furious. She went and counseled Shreya for having a normal delivery as it was their family tradition. Shreya’s doctor put her foot down and went in for the surgery.
Within minutes everyone including Shreya could hear the cries of a baby. The doctor congratulated Shreya and told her she had a healthy baby girl. Shreya was happy and a stream of tears rolled down her cheeks. When in the recovery room everyone came to meet her except her MIL. Her MIL was very sad and did not even want to see the baby’s face. Her MIL said that if Shreya would have listened to her and had a normal delivery she would have had a baby boy. Shreya was hurt at this but Arun calmed her.
On returning back home her MIL never welcomed the baby. Shreya would do all her baby’s work alone though she enjoyed it a lot. One day Shreya had put her baby to sleep and gone out of the room, when she came back to her surprise she found her MIL near the baby doing some sort of black magic and calling out names to the baby. Shreya was aghast and ran and picked up her daughter. That was the day she said NO to her MIL for the first time. She told her MIL never to touch her and baby again and till the day Shreya was alive no one could cause any harm to her daughter. Shreya had thought that with time her MIL will mellow down and accept the baby but this did not happen. She was shocked how someone could think of harming a little baby who is yet not aware of the world around her. That evening Shreya confided everything in Arun; he was shocked too. Till now Arun had never said anything to his mother for the way she had behaved with Shreya and for other issues but this incident was like a straw on the haystack. They decided to leave the house and take a house on rent.
Suddenly, she heard her daughter cry and she came back from her thoughts to her own house. She walked towards her baby and picked her up and calmed her. She happily looked at her daughter and Arun and was glad that she had said NO that day otherwise she would have lost her daughter. She wiped the tears off her eyes and kissed her daughter and vouched for her safety and made a promise to her that she will always stay by her side.