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Taking one slow step after another she reached the bungalow half an hour late than the time it usually took to reach. She did not want to be home with him. She needed the fresh air. She stood before the bungalow and wondered whether to enter or continue walking. Finally she made up her mind and turned around to walk away from the bungalow.

Sangita, a woman in her early-thirties, married for 5 years and three days, never believed she would reach a crossroad in her life, standing where and weighing her options was not as easy as her friends suggested. Sangita did not have many friends. The few friends she had were close to her and understood her well, sometimes better than she understood herself. But, not this time. This time none of her friends would possibly understand what she went through.

She took a different route this time. She shivered as the cool breeze of the night rushed past her, taking along with it a few dried leaves. She loved observing the minute details of night-life. The road she walked on gave her silent company during the lonely nights of her life. She did not sleep for hours even though Vikrant dozed off after finding his release. What they shared between them might have been romantic once, but now, after five years of marriage, the sex turned into efforts to reach a particular goal. Vikrant had always been calculative about a lot of things, even during their courtship period. What she found interesting then annoyed her now. She assumed his calculative nature to be about saving for future but now, she realized, this was the most annoying habit of his, which he would not change. They had enough to last for decades for the two of them since they did not have any children. Sangita’s in-laws suggested she visited a doctor to see why she cannot conceive and she took the tests even though she knew she was healthy and capable of conceiving. She visited her gynecologist who told her the same thing. She returned home with the reports and showed them to her in-laws and suggested they should talk to Vikrant about getting the tests done. But they did not have the courage to talk to him about it. Sangita tried talking to him and ended up wounded, both physically and mentally after the beatings and the frustrated sex he had with her to punish her. The next day he bought an expensive diamond necklace, which she stuffed into the locker. All these expensive gifts meant nothing to her.

For a couple of months, Vikrant noted the date of Sangita’s periods and calculated the ovulation time, targeting those days for having sex to achieve the goal. He never blamed Sangita for not being able to conceive and he expected the same from her. He believed they both were healthy and all they had to do, he said, was to time this perfectly. Sangita had given up hopes of conceiving but too scared to mention the tests to Vikrant, she participated in his calculative sex, though unenthusiastically.

Tired of walking, Sangita sat down on the pavement and buried her head in her hands. Tears dropped on the pavement and her vision blurred. The cool breeze blew once again and carried with it a piece of paper, which landed near Sangita’s feet. She wiped her tears and picked up the paper, which turned out to be an advertisement of Fertility clinic. Sangita tore the piece of paper and threw it away and started crying. This was the suggestion one of her friends gave her.

“I have a contact in a fertility clinic, someone who can help you find a suitable donor. You need not even talk to Vikrant about this. He will never find out. This person will take care of all the requirements. We will sign you with a false name.” Sangita’s friend suggested and Sangita refused saying that she did not want to cheat Vikrant, despite he being adamant about his capability to get her pregnant.

“Put up a fight. Force him to take the test. I know a police officer who can help you if Vikrant beats you again. We will fight for what is right!” Sangita’s another friend suggested. The same friend who beat his own wife as per what his wife told her.

“Adopt” yet another friend suggested. Ravi held her hand and comforted her. He understood what it felt like to not be a parent. His wife was unable to conceive and he accepted the fact and the couple decided to adopt even though his wife suggested the surrogate mother option.
How could she tell him adopting a child from orphanage seemed inappropriate to her when her own son grew up somewhere without her?

Sangita burst into sobs as memories attacked her mind.

Two years before her marriage to Vikrant, Sangita had become pregnant with Ravi’s child. They were just friends and never loved each other. They had been too drunk that night and one intercourse with Ravi made her pregnant while so many calculated ones with Vikrant failed to give desired results. They never talked about that night again. When Sangita’s parents learned about her pregnancy they sent her away to stay with her aunt where she delivered a baby boy who was immediately snatched away from her and she’d been forced to return back to her parents who decided to get her married to Vikrant. Sangita had abandoned her child and now life got back at her in its own way.

Sangita tried a couple of times to find the whereabouts of her son but in vain, until recently when her aunt, who was on her death-bed requested Sangita to meet her personally. She informed Sangita that one of her cousins was raising her son. Sangita could not resist the desire to meet the boy. She visited the given address and met the boy. Overwhelmed with motherly love she rushed to embrace her son, the moment she recognized him. Her cousin, annoyed by her action requested Sangita to leave.

Sangita stood up and started walking again. Burdened with memories, her head started to ache and her legs grew tired of walking. Unable to tolerate the pain in her knees, she sat down again, resting her head against the trunk of a tree and closed her eyes. She was only a few minutes away from her bungalow and she believed if she called up Vikrant on his cell-phone he would be kind enough to bring her back home. She knew he loved her a lot. The only problem was, he did not understand her. She finally decided to spend the night on the road since the neighborhood was safe enough. She tried to relax, forcing thoughts out of her mind. The cool breeze and the rustling of the leaves of the tree she rested her head against helped her to calm down and within a few minutes she was rejuvenated. She stood up and walked back home.

Opening the door with her keys, Sangita stepped in the dark house and tiptoed to her room. The door was slightly open, like she had left it. She walked in and closed the door behind her. Vikrant was asleep. She walked to the desk and took out a notepad from the drawer. She sat on the chair, switched on the desk lamp and started writing:

My heart was saying “Yes” but my head was saying “No”. Finally, heeding to my heart’s advice, I am writing this letter to you. I can write a lengthy letter and diplomatically arrive at the point I want to discuss or I can come straight to the point. I choose to do the latter.

We've been trying too hard to start a family. Despite knowing that I am capable of conceiving I went ahead and got the tests done for the sake of your parents. When it was time for you to get the tests done, you not only refused but punished me for asking you to go to the doctor. We both know the truth. You need to accept that no calculation is ever going to solve this problem for you. Talking about calculations, I have being doing it myself for the past few months. I have calculated the chances of success and the risk involved in doing something.

And, finally I found the solution today. This is it. This is how it is going to be. I need to tell you the truth, which I should have told you earlier. I have a son who is being raised by one of my cousins and I wish to adopt him.
“We” would raise him together if you love me enough to accept this part of my life.

She left the note on the desk and walked out of the room, into the silent night.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Crossroad 2 : The Other Side of The Coin