The rhythmic creak of the arm chair soothed the babies as they drifted into sleep in Neena’s arms. They were just about a month old and soon she would not be able to hold them both simultaneously. She ignored her aching arms and relished their closeness. Her mind moved back and forth in time in tandem with the rocking movements. Was it really only a year ago that Life meted out its lessons to her?
Barely out of her teens and already married, which was what her family arranged and she had acquiesced. Soon after they celebrated their first anniversary, Neena was already pregnant. Twins, the doctor said, and Sam was overjoyed. Double the joy he said! He made sure he was with her for every check up and stood by her through her phase of morning sickness. The nine months couldn’t pass soon enough for him. Sam was due for a career course and decided to ask his Commanding Officer for a posting. Yet unexpectedly, his Unit was deployed in a conflict zone.With barely any time for farewells, the officers and men left without a backward glance. The operation turned into a prolonged one as causalities mounted. Some of the worst fears were realised and Neena was bereft. At the end of her third trimester, she remained confused and dazed not comprehending the storm that had hit her life. Her family took her home and what had was meant to be a rosy future suddenly turned dark.
Neena went through the final days of her pregnancy completely unaware of her surroundings. She cried all the time, but without understanding for whom.. was it for dear departed Sam who would never see his twins, was it for herself or for her babies.. It was only when she held the boys in her arms for the first time that the enormity of her situation hit Neena….
She had no home. She was not financially literate. Would her graduation degree get a job of any kind? Could she bring up the boys single highhandedly? While her parents made all efforts to make her feel comfortable, how long could she depend on them? Relatives showed their true colours as being only fair weather friends and so-called friends were suddenly missing. Her in-laws were least interested in Neena’s welfare or that of the boys.
The future was bleak. The war machine had taken its toll and left her life in pieces. Her sons innocent trusting smiles served as a wake up call and inspiration. The time to grieve was over. There was no time to cry or for self pity. It was up to her to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life again. She owed it to her sons. To Herself.