I unfold the letter that lay on my bedside, aunt told me about it long ago, the excitement was bubbling inside me, and I wanted to know what my mom had to say. Being the silly female I am my hands started shivering when I read the first line aloud.
Happy eighteenth birthday to you, may he give you the strength to keep you going moreover the strength you need to fight the world so as to rise over the masses. This letter may take you by surprise and you may question my disappearance but as I proceed I hope to answer everything. First and foremost I want you to know that I love you, I always have and always will. And I am glad to know that you have grown up to be a strong woman and not a princess (momma knows more than you think she does). There are times in your life when you have to rise above your selfish needs and do things that are right even if it hurts you, there came a time in my life too. When I was holding onto the sonograph reports which proved that I was carrying a female child in my womb, my brain panicked, bringing you into my world would mean killing you before you could breathe your first. The family I was married into thought lowly of women and having a girl child in the family was a shame for them. Sweat broke out on my forehead, I could not let your dad see the reports, and with shivering hands I discarded them somehow. That night when your father walked into our room after the dinner I was terrified that he may find out the truth and kill you, I pleased him like I never had just to keep him distracted, the next day I thought I will visit the doctor and explain my situation to her so that she will play along with my lie and she did. That night was the most dreadful night ever, the fear of losing you and the anger for the man who slept beside me was eating me up, and I couldn’t sleep. I kept talking to you softly all night long and I secretly believed you could hear me in there.
With each new day came a new battle, as the days past and I grew big I realized I don’t have much time left with you and that I should make most of it. I had secured your life in the months I had with you, my best friend or your aunt whom you probably call your mom today was ready to take your responsibility and I trusted her with it. I tried to collect as much as I could so that you two could leave the country and start afresh and I succeeded I guess. I can never thank her enough for what she did for me and what she is doing for you; she has always been the strong and independent woman who had the voice that followed her heart. You can blame me all you want but I had you in question and I could not risk your survival, knowing the devils I lived with I felt helpless, laws then were not as strong as they are now, they did not reach the houses of the villagers that were chained in the traditional beliefs which were poisoning their lives, killing them slowly and sweetly. I don’t want you to hate anyone because all were blinded by what they thought are right and none had the power to prove them wrong.
This is my only piece of message that you shall ever receive, I tried to keep going for you but I lost the last battle with life. What happened of me after I sent you away? Well I ran away too and served as a nurse in a hospital for kids, it made me feel closer to you. By the way they did find out that you were born but then they could do no harm, they did not try to find me either as I was a lost cause. The reason I am writing to you now is because I think you deserved to know what happened, I was just waiting for the right time to tell you. Make me proud and the only way you can do that is follow you heart, don’t let anyone tell you who you are or where you belong, rise above a class and be yourself, change is an epidemic, let it grow within you and I am sure people will contract it soon. Don’t lose faith in yourself or in life there is always something good to come. Take care, keep smiling and always know that momma is watching over you. I love you my princess oh please scratch that, I love you my strong woman.
PS. With this letter I am giving you one of my priciest possessions, the only picture I have with you.
I cried, I don’t know whether they were the tears of joy or it was sorrow acting up, the only thing I could think of is, I call her aunt and always will, you were wrong when you said that I probably call her mom today. And I love you too mom. I hugged the picture she sent; it will be the strength for my weaknesses.Just as I fold the letter back and place it under my pillow with the picture enclosed in it, I hear a knock on my door and soon I see my aunt’s face peeping in from the door, her face complimenting her smile. “May I come in?” she asked in a playful voice. I just nod and she gets the hint that I have got something up my sleeve as she speeds past the door towards me and pats me gently on my back, it is her way to say its okay I am with you.
“Won’t I be at fault if I let things go on as they were even after reading this letter?”I ask her but I don’t wait for her to reply as I ramble on,” there must be many women out there in India who were not as lucky as mom to see their daughters live, how can I be at peace here knowing everyday at least one baby girl is killed in the village that was home to me and my mother once upon a time. It will be selfish of me to put everything behind me and start living a normal life as if nothing ever happened.” Determined I tell her,” I will go back to India, and I will work to be the change I desire.”