Finding Her – Short Story

It was a late night at the hospital. Rakesh’s sister Rupa was taking care of him tonight at the hospital. It was calm until Rakesh woke up screaming from the hospital bed, ‘I am alive!’.
‘You are fine. It was just a nightmare’, Rupa reassured him.
As he fell asleep, Rupa picked up the book lying by the lamp and started reading. However, it was hard for her to focus.

‘The treatments are not working. Your brother may not live very long.’ Rupa couldn’t stop thinking about these words. Rakesh’s doctor had said it at their most recent appointment.

Did mom know about this disease from her, and instead of facing up to it decided to abandon us?

Next morning, Rupa was woken up by someone gently tapping on her shoulder. It was her dad. She turned around to look at her father, her eyes were full of tears.

‘Dad, why did mom leave us?’

He sighed ‘I wish I knew…’

She saw the sadness in her father’s eyes and the suffering her brother was going through. All Rupa wished for was to see her family happy.

Far away from Rupa and her family was Disha. She was busy negotiating a business deal with her counterparts in the U.S. As the Skype call ends, she falls back in her chair. She is thinking about her two kids, whom she had abandoned years ago. Will they ever forgive me for abandoning them? Is there a cause or a reason big enough to justify the fact that a mother left her two young children?
Her trail of thoughts is broken by the pinging on her phone. It was a message from one of the MBA students she had been mentoring. ‘Ma’am, can I ask you a personal question?’ Texted Rupa.
It must be to do with her brother. She reminds me of the two kids that I had.

‘Sure. I am here for you’, Disha texted back.

She could see that Rupa was typing a response, but was not sending it.

Disha decided to give her a call. The phone rang, and Rupa picked it up, crying.

‘Is everything ok? Where are you?’

“Yes, everything is fine. Can you come? I need someone to talk to.”

‘Ok, it will take me a while, but I will be there. Send me the address.’
When she reached the hospital, she saw Rupa sitting on a bench outside the hospital. She was crying and had a couple of old photographs on her lap. Disha walked up to her and gave her a tight hug.

All of a sudden, Rupa said, I don’t care why she left. All I know is that we were a happy family before she left and I just want her back.’

Disha saw the photograph Rupa had been looking at, and her heart skipped a beat.
She asked Rupa to come to her place tomorrow for a cup of tea. ‘How about coming to my house tomorrow. We can talk about this and take our time with this conversation.’

Seeing the expression on Disha’s face, Rupa agreed.

That night, Disha couldn’t sleep. How do I explain to her what happened?

The next day…

Rupa arrived at the address on her dad’s bike, and he dropped her off at the gate. Walking towards the lift, she passed by a huge sports area. It had an indoor pool and a badminton court, on the other side of it was the kid’s area.Wow! It must be a lot of fun for families living here. Rupa thought.

On the other side, Disha was pacing up and down her kitchen, wondering and struggling with the truth. Should I tell her about how I was forced to marry at a 19 at my village? I was not ready for a child and a family, so I ran away and changed my identity.

Disha struggled with this thought as she paced up and down the kitchen, waiting for the chai to be ready.

The bell rang, and Disha warmly welcomed her in. They sat on the couch with a warm cup of masala chai.Disha notices how shy she was feeling. Disha started the conversation with the topic of career growth and then slowly moved to more personal topics.

When Rupa started talking about her childhood, she started getting extremely emotional. Seeing this, Disha lost the little bit of courage she had gained. She couldn’t tell her.

So when it came time for Rupa to leave, Disha said, ‘Rupa, think of me as your mother. I am proud of you, and I will always be here for you.’

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