Sharmila was restless.Her daughter Anita kept on asking when they would be able to see grandma. She goaded her husband Ravi to drive faster.
He grumbled “The road is kutcha, dusty and uneven.I cannot drive faster.It is just forty miles away and we should be there in an hour or slightly longer.”
“I know but you will not understand my agony and the suspense I am going through.” She wailed
It was only in the morning that the news was broken by her dad.Her parents had kept it a secret for twenty seven years.Even in the morning it would not have come to light but for the inadvertent blurting by her uncle.Not knowing that Sharmila had come the previous night, he asked his elder brother as he entered the house “Where is your adopted daughter?”Her dad signalled him to remain silent with an ‘sshh’ by placing his finger on his mouth.Sharmila who was in the adjacent room heard them clearly and saw her dad’s gesture.She was confused and shocked.She straightaway accosted her dad with the question”Is it true that I am an adopted daughter? If so why have you withheld this information all these years?”
The shock and the shifty eyes of her mom gave away the bitter truth.She said” I don’t want any explanation.It is enough if you tell me in what circumstances I was adopted and who are my biological parents.”
Cornered her dad admitted that hse was adopted.He said “Frankly we do not know who your dad is?You were left outside our compound by some woman stealthily unwilling to be found out.We heard your crying and came out to see your mother fleeing.We ran behind her and fetched her comforting her that she need have no fear and that we would look after you as our child as we had no children of our own.We only stipulated that she should not claim yu later.She readily agreed as the child was born out of wedlock.We gave her adequate money.She leftthe place.”
Sharmila asked “What is her name? Did she never come again to see me?”
“Her name she said was Singaram.Yes, we have seen her many times standing outside th compound watching you go to school or playing in the garden.True to her word, she made no attempt to speak to you.We used to see her wiping tears from her eyes in joy” .” her dad explained.
“Where does she live? Do you have any idea” Sharmila asked
“She lives in some village……. near Kanchipuram about fifty miles away from here.But she ivery indigent and we pay afew hundreds whenever we see her.She has stopped coming after you were married and left this place”her mom intervened to say.
When the car reached the village, Anita jumped with joy and cried”We will be seeing grandma soon.We will take her with us.She will tell me stories”
Ravi asked a few people about the whereabout of the woman named Singaram.They didn’t know till one old man directed them to a hut in the corner of a lane.When the walked the distance they found twowomen in their fifties talking to each other.Ravi asked them whether they knew any Singaram living there.
One of the woman spoke”Why do ou want to know? Who are you people? You seem to be rich”.
The other woman kept quiet but was keenly watching Sharmila and Anita without turning her head.
Ravi said ”We came to ask her about her daughter’
The woman who spoke to them kept silent and turned to the other.The woman who was keeping mum till then broke her silence as if in a hurry and said “Yes, Singaram used to live here.About three months back she left the place without giving any reason or the place she was going to. She simply vanished.But she seemed normal and happy.”
Ravi put his hand on sobbing Sharmila’s shoulder as he dragged her towards the car and said”There is no point in lingering here.We will try another time. We will find her some how.”
When the car left the other woman asked “Singaram, why did you speak like that.The beautufl lady is your daughter and the child your grand daughter.Didn’t you know that? What a foolish woman, you are?”
Singaram said.” I knew.But I do not want to rob her pleasure.Let her mom remain unknown.It is good for everyone.”