By Shrabanti Ray
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
Way back, when I was in contact with my teenage self, I remember coming across images of little children darkening the glossy pages in the magazines. No, they were not a bunch of juniors crowned in a reality show. Not models, not sponsored star kids, nor child prodigies either. Their faces bore meek simplicity and eyes in search of something. I attempted to decode those expressions, but, in vain.
As I grew up some more height and flesh, I chanced upon a few words either in italics or bold letters. There were words that described them as “homeless, orphans, abandoned and illegitimate”. The last word did create confusion in my mind and I further briefed myself by referring to the dictionary. Although I failed to attain clarity, the blankness in their expressions haunted me. I had to decipher the contents soon, I thought.
Life progressed after graduation. I pursued Management and resumed my professional career. The eyes did follow. Now, that I had some wisdom from this wide expanse of the Universe, the factual descriptions pertaining to the identity of those children became conspicuous. I could perceive an inner urge to contribute in some way. But how? I could not fathom! The desire, with time, nestled in my heart. I had freedom, money, friends to unwind with but lacked a dot of something. I paused to ponder, to contemplate. WAS it LOVE that I was missing? A whirlpool of chaos battled within.
Then one fine day, as usual love came knocking. I lay open the windows and doors of my heart to receive it. My heart pounded almost crushing my thinking antennas…..my sensory appendages. The initial shock waves, I presumed. Marriage is the last stop on this curriculum of adulthood. I got desperate to settle down and be the proprietor of my family. Floating candles, comfy cushions, togetherness, and freedom came as bounty. Gradually, with an aging marriage, I succumbed to the daily chores that surrounded the periphery of relationships. Soon enough, I realized that the blank dot was behind me, like a shadow.
My son was born to stray me away. His well-being was my sole concern and I was blissfully participating in the regular marathons of family life. Cooking, cleaning and other engagements occupied me, leaving me stressed and worried.
After a couple of years, I sat down, having decided to start the discussion of the missing dot with my husband. I dreamt of a little girl…walking towards me, in anticipation. The entire episode of the conversation witnessed development as we registered online for ADOPTION. Meanwhile, with the completion of formalities and documentation, I breathed relief and profound joy.
I recalled the conversation with my late father-in-law, who was furious with the idea of adoption. “Are you hell-bent in damaging my family name and heritage?”
My mother-in-law snapped, “Why, do you have any medical complications?
You can conceive again, right?”
OH YES! I could afford to give birth. But what would happen to the dot that was waiting? For sure, I could not desert her. By now, I had succeeded in reading through those blank stares and mystifying silence. She needed a home and a blanket of warmth, a cozy hug, and a meaningful life.
I waited eagerly, rubbishing off the negativity of the tongue twisters.
I waited in longing, in yearning.
I continued to work, but, every other day I sensed an inner call to QUIT!
“LAY IT OFF NOW”….my heart would sing on and off.
The adoption agency had reassured me – “The minimum waiting period is 2 years.”
We had registered in mid-2015 and immediately new rules and guidelines were introduced by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority).
In the summer of 2016, I experienced a voice within to liberate myself from any ongoing confusion. It was an indication, a signal to quit from work. It gave me sleepless nights and anxiety.
I followed my heart and resigned, to the utter shock of my peers, colleagues, friends, and management. In the letter, I mentioned 31st August 2016 as my last working day.
Call what you may, imagine what you can. As I celebrated my birthday on 2nd August 2016, I was excited and ecstatic for something I had no idea of. On 3rd August 2016, after coming home from work, I found my father, husband, and son glued to the television. As I opened my shoes and placed them on the rack, I heard my husband telling me –“Well, there’s some important news for you. Go inside and check.” I didn’t bother much, perhaps I was exhausted. He joined me instantly and switched on the laptop.
A giant tide of happiness drenched my soul and heart. I broke down in inconsolable tears.
We were instructed to choose a child according to the specifications. By now, my son had entered the room. We hugged and kissed in celebration. Together, we clicked on the very first photograph… A LITTLE GIRL STARING… I identified the missing dot. We confirmed our consent via mail.
I still could not believe my fortune. I was never spiritual in the conservative sense of the term. I don’t go to temples and crowded places of worship. To me, HUMANITY is the greatest religion. I find solace and tranquility in serving mankind in whatever little way. I grow, I learn, I derive, I dwell on life and the human kingdom. I had always loved children and fondly recall offering them chocolates and stuff on the way to bakeries and sweet shops. Much to my amazement, the shop owners would try to shoo away these children in rags, brushing past the glass entrance with naked bodies and hunger trapped in their flat inward bellies.
After some days, we were informed by CARA and the agency to visit our child. Everything seemed like a dream. On reaching the premises that housed abundant innocent lives, I soaked in the reality of the dim images that crossed my path many years ago. Thereafter, a lady reached out to me and handed over a cute little girl with brown eyes. I readily fastened her with warmth and love. The feeling was hysterical. I held my cheek close to hers and she chose to stay that way for a long time. The EARTH spun, THE SUN shone, THE CLOUDS danced. MY WORLD was painted in hues of rainbow colors. I held her with no intention of releasing her. She was to be the DOT OF GRATITUDE in my life.
I had lost control. I expressed my desire to see the other children and they obliged. As soon as I looked at them bedded and cradled, still wearing a radiant smile, tears overflowed profusely.
On 3rd September 2016, we carried our dot of gratitude in the lively environment of our HOME. She basked in the playful slide of everlasting happiness in the company of her brother, father, and mother. My son, my soldier, named her ZIVA. With time, she has grown to be a chirping bird, tweeting meaningless words and learning to live and love. We take pride in raising her with abundance.
I am delighted to have expressed my feelings of Gratitude.
TO the pages that I chanced upon.
TO the blankness that I understood.
TO have nurtured the dot within.
TO have lived the dream.
MY DOT. MY STORY.
MY CHILD. MY GLORY.
My utmost gratitude to LIFE, NATURE and SOMEONE UP THERE, high above, to have bestowed upon me the happiness of dots. My heartfelt gratitude to my mother whom I lost to CANCER in 2013 for her blessings and love. ZIDAAN and ZIVA, constitute the connecting dots of love and continue to adorn the chapters of my life.
About Shrabanti Ray
Shrabanti Ray is a teacher, trainer, facilitator,
mentor, poet, crafter, and writer forever.
She loves to create euphonious music and seeks solace in nature. She loves to write blogs, quotes, and poems.
Her work is deeply acknowledged in the writing fraternity.