It was 6 in the morning ,Tiasa looked at the white plastic kit, it showed two pink lines. Overjoyed with the feeling of another heart throbbing inside her, she hurriedly went to disclose the good news to Amit. As she stood in front of him , her boundless joy was perturbed by the evil shades of peril and an uncertain future.
'' It's positive '', she said with jubilation in her voice and tears in her eyes standing in front of the beige wall of her bedroom looking at Amit's dreamy eyes. Amit with his trademark impish grin was looking at her through the glass framed in a black wooden photo frame most of which was covered with red and yellow day old marigold garland hung on the wall .
'' How am I going to spend the rest of my life Amit , all alone without you . How will I take care of our little one without you being around ? '' she said sobbingly with a bewildered look on her face.
Tiasa came out and stood at the small balcony facing the east . Everything else was exactly the same as it was for the last six years. The golden rays of the sun pronounced a new day as per Devine Law, the birds were chirping in the cool breeze breaking the silence of the night , the butterflies created a rainbow of colours all around, the mogra plant which Amit planted last year was full with white blooms . Only Tiasa's world has turned topsy- turvy in anguish .
Tiasa closed her eyes in reminiscence of how her life changed in the last six years. The only daughter of a rich businessman,she stayed with her parents in a big house in south kolkata . When in college, she fell in love with Amit ,three years her senior.
Refusing to accept Amit as his son in law, as he was an orphan and running a NGO,Tiasa's frugal father disowned her , as she was obstinate to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved. Tiasa left her father's house , got married to Amit to live with him in his two bedroom rented flat beside a slum.
Amit was teaching in a primary school then. His NGO called "Amader Swapno '' ( Our Dream ) dealt with the problems of the underprivileged women and children of the slum and was a shelter to eleven orphan children whom Amit took care of. Tiasa cooked food for them and taught them in the evening. In the last six years ,Tiasa's life metamorphosed from a pampered daughter to a responsible wife of a person who chose to serve humanity rather than being an heir to his father in law's business.
Though there was nothing in abundance, Tiasa and Amit were happy in their life together . Amit's dedication to his work and satisfaction in serving the one's in need reflected his pristine soul.
But disaster struck with the Covid pandemic.
With everyone confined at home, Amit had to shut his NGO. But he made sure to deliver home cooked food to those eleven orphan children and took care to keep them safe .
But the worst was still stored for them. Amit tried every possible way to reach out to the ones who needed him and as much as he could. He delivered masks and packed food grains to the slum dwellers . He was like a messiah to them. And on that fateful day Amit was distributing relief material in the slum when suddenly he felt a pain in his chest and collapsed.
The ambulance with blue light ablaze took him to the hospital. That was the last time Tiasa met Amit. His condition deteriorated and the doctors could not stabilise him.
Amid the lockdown a very few people from the slum cremated him.
Tiasa came back inside the room and sat on a sofa in front of Amit . She had made her decision . In the last few days she has understood how difficult, how meaningless her life was without Amit .
The loneliness has vanquished her, squeezing out every bit her life little by little.
Amit has abandoned her to mourn alone in this dreadful world. She can't live her life with his memories in despair.
She decided to end her life.
She did not want to see the sunrise next day, neither she wanted her child to see this harsh world.
Just at that time , her mobile phone rang.
She picked it up. It was Dr Banerjee , who attended to Amit in the hospital.
"Hello," Tiasa said softly.
" Hello, Mrs Dutta , I have a message for you.
A last message from your husband.
He gave me your number and informed me to tell you that the children are hungry " Dr Banerjee said apologising for the delay in conveying the message.
Tiasa sat dazed, her uncomprehended eyes moving restlessly from one corner of the room to the other, his last words echoing in her ears …… " the children are hungry ".
Tiasa got up silently and went to the kitchen to prepare a meal for the children. When she went to the office where they stayed, she found them ravenous, their stomach quaking in hunger . They barely survived on whatever the slum people provided them with for almost two weeks .
Seeing Tiasa brought about a hope of survival in their life.
Tiasa gave them the food, convincing them that they were not alone , she will run the NGO , the way Amit did . They will never be hungry again .
When Tiasa came back home , the sun was getting ready to set in the western sky .
Tiasa stood in front of Amit , the way he liked to see her ,hair tied in a loose bun and a big red bindi in between her eyebrows , a thick layer of kajal smudged in the delicate skin below her eyes .
She did not feel the distress anymore .
She had found a reason to live .
Reason to live invigorated by Amit's altruism that empowered him with benevolence to think about others even when he himself was counting his last few moments of life .
She couldn't be so cowardly and selfish to end what Amit had started . Amit had taught her what humanity was . He had made her strong enough to carry on his dreams and keep him alive through his noble deed .
It was getting dark outside .
But Tiasa did not bother .
She was no more afraid of the dark .
She will wait for the sun to rise again bringing in a new day .
She will wait eagerly for her child to be born in this world so that she can proudly tell the story of a compassionate father who till his last breath believed in humanity above everything else .