Unheard Lullabies has been edited by Aashna Kanuga.
Meera ran as fast as her feet could take her. Within her arms, the baby cried away in the heavy downpour, on the abandoned road. Drenched, bruised and fatigued, she could no longer run. Seeking shelter under a tree, she knew it was safe to rest for a while. With the loud rumbling sounds and lightning, the child cried even louder. As she leaned against the tree and closed her eyes for a moment, out of nowhere she sensed someone coming towards her. Within moments, found herself stabbed and bleeding.
A dark hooded figure stood above her. He snatched the child and she screamed in pain. He was about to kill the infant when he heard the noise of a car approaching. Carrying the child he escaped into the woods. Meera was losing her consciousness and saw someone pacing towards her. She passed out before she could see who it was.
When she gained consciousness, she could feel someone injecting a needle into her arm. She could hear the murmur of people and smell the bitter medicines. Opening her eyes wide she heard the doctor asking, “How are you feeling, do you feel any pain near the abdomen?” Meera could not comprehend what was going on. “You are at a government hospital. One of our employees, Nitesh, rescued you in time. Can you hear me?” She suddenly remembered, and cried out, “My child, where is she?” Astonished, the doctor asked, “What child, Nitesh found only you, no one else.” Meera tried to get up but felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen. “You better stay still for few more days, the wound will need time to heal. Nurse, give her the sedative again.”
Within a few minutes, her eyes felt heavy, so she fell asleep again. After few hours when she woke up, a man came and stood beside her with a few medicines. He introduced himself as Nitesh. Before he could speak any further she cried, “My child, he took her away, where is she?” “There was no child miss, it was only you lying there half-dead. The police asked me about you. I did not know anything about you, so they will be coming to talk to you soon.” She felt a sense of relief, thinking maybe the police will be able to find her daughter.
“What is your name?” One of the policemen inquired as the other noted. “Meera.” “Where do you stay?” “In the slums.” “Who and where is your husband?” “Sabji, I left and escaped from him, he used to torture me.”
“What happened that night?” Meera explained how her own husband sold her and forced her to sleep with other men. She fought but in vain. He forced her to abort her child the first time she got pregnant. He said it would become a hindrance for his income. The second time she came to know about her pregnancy, however, she managed to escape from him and settled in a nondescript village. She earned her living through menial jobs. Soon, her baby girl was born. Somehow her husband found her and he wanted to take her back. When she refused, he threatened to kill her. At first, she believed it was only a threat but then one night he actually came to her house with a knife. She managed to escape again but this time he took away his daughter. The police told her they would look into the matter.
After her recovery, Meera returned home. It was typical hut built with cow dung and dry grass situated in an area where hardly any houses were visible. When she entered, she went to the corner and picked up the blanket stained with blood. A lifeless child wrapped inside. The blood stains had dried. Flies consumed and carved on the stabs and open wounds of the infant. She murmured, “I am back, don’t worry he will not come again, I told the police everything and they will catch him”, she said, singing lullabies as she rocked the child in her arms.
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