More than their own
By Betty Kuriyan
Geethika was in deep sleep and it was her friend Jayanthi who shook her awake with a big hug saying, “Geetu, wake up you are the topper in the district in Board exams.” Geetika sat up shell-shocked for a moment. “She ran to her mother Maya,” Ma, did you hear what Jayanthi said? I can’t believe it?”
Maya held her close and said, “True, child, and Jayanthi has come to take you to school.”
A hurried breakfast over, she saw them off with a song in her heart. The girls ran along and Geethika was stunned to see a banner across the head posts of the school congratulating her. She was soon swamped by the whole school and hugged by her teachers.
Geethika was by nature shy of such adulation, though she had a crop of laurels to her name.
Back home Maya waited for her husband Chandran’s return for lunch. An auto-rickshaw driver, he often came home when the passengers were few. That day as he passed by the school, he saw the banner and Geethika’s name emblazoned. The school foreground was a seething mass of students dancing with glee.
“Geethika is adopted by Maya”
He hurried home, and his heart almost tripled its pulsing as Maya told him the news. It was not unbelievable as he had seen his daughter toil away, burning the midnight oil after helping Maya with the housework. His sons had loafed their way through school but by his own good graces he had found them decent jobs and they lived separately with their families. There was an open rift between the parents and sons. The rift was caused by the parents when they brought Geethika home for adoption.
Geethika was not Chandran’s and Maya’s biological child. He recalled that 16 years ago Maya and he had gone to the general hospital for some minor medical problem. There they met Dr Yamuna who knew Maya. As they chatted for a while the doctor had to rush to attend to a maternity case.” Wait for me,“ she said as she hurried away.
An hour later, she pulled Maya aside and asked in a soft voice. “Can you care for a newborn baby girl? She ‘s underweight and her mother doesn’t want her. She swears she would throw it away in some garbage bin.”
Maya and Chandran said, “Give her to us doctor. Our boys are grown up and our house needs a child’s laughter. We will care for her and cherish her as long as we live.”
The doctor knew that the regular protocol to be followed was to hand the unwanted baby to a government agency set up for the purpose of caring for rejected babies, and there were private charitable institutions too who would take her in but it would be a throw of dice if she grew up cared for and loved by a couple who she knew well. It was unethical to do what she planned to follow but somehow she felt the baby girl would have a better chance in life if she was placed in the hands of a couple who would love her.
So, bypassing all norms, she took the law into her own hands and since the mother of the child did not want her, the doctor wrote a statement which she had the mother sign, saying that she was giving up all rights to the baby. The superitendant counter-signed it, as he knew and trusted Dr Yamuna’s judgement. It was not a legal document but it was her gut feeling that the baby would get a fair chance in life.