Curiosity is the forerunner of discovery (part 1)
“Yes!” she said jumping into my arms and hugging me tightly. I was elated, she agreed to my proposal. I was finally getting married.
Now our families would agree on a date and get us officially engaged. I couldn’t believe it, I could hardly contain my happiness. Everybody in the family could see how happy I was. We were engaged two days later.
I was sitting with my mother when I saw her wallet lying on her dresser. There was a picture of a little girl in it and I couldn’t recognize who she was. When I asked her about it, she said it was some distant cousin of mine. Somehow, my heart didn’t agree and I asked her again. She brushed it aside and told me never to ask about it again.
I couldn’t take that picture out of my mind and kept thinking about it. I wondered who could she be?
“Can you get the picture out of the wallet, we can search who it is?” asked Riya, my fiancée.
“That is difficult, but what I can do is, click a picture of it on my phone” I said
“That’ll do” said Riya
I sneaked in to my parents’ room one day and clicked a picture of the little girl from my mom’s wallet. I had a feeling she was connected to me.
“Whatever we do should not reach my parents, clear?” I told Riya. This was a top-secret mission.
We started our search and came up empty. No one knew who she was. Plus, it was a new born baby’s picture. She would be now 20 years old according to the timeline. Then, an idea hit me and I quickly picked up Riya from her house and told her all about it.
“This might work Raj” she said
We went to the hospital I was born in and showed the picture there.
“First of all, I’m not allowed to divulge any details to anyone. Secondly, this picture is not going to help you son. I need details: parents name, time of birth, date of birth…”
“Please, I need your help. This baby might be related to me and these are my parents I’m talking about here. I can only give you the parents name and an approximate date of birth” I said handing her rupees 500/-.
“Hmm, ok let me see what I can do” she said and started typing on her computer
“With the names you have given me, I can only tell you that a baby girl was born to them but she didn’t survive. I hope this helps” she said
“Thanks a lot miss” I said and turned to Riya
“I had a sister and I didn’t know about it till now?” I said with tearful eyes
“It’s ok. Your parents must’ve thought it best for everybody that you didn’t know about it” she said consoling me
“I need to know more”
“Then talk to your parents. Outright ask them whatever you need to know” she said
“You’re right, I’ll talk to them about it” I said
That night I went to their room and asked them, “mom dad, we need to talk”
“What is it, son?” asked my father
“I need to know about my sister”
“Your sister? You know about her?” he asked
“Yes, I saw a picture of her in mom’s wallet”
“Ok, listen son. We had a baby, five years after you were born but she didn’t survive. She caught an infection right after she was born and succumbed to her illness” he explained
My mum was sitting there quietly but I could see that she had something else going on in her mind. She was very restless and I decided to talk to her in private the day after.
The next day when my father had left for work, I went to see my mum and asked her what the matter was.
“Nothing son, your father told you everything” she said
“No, there is something you are not telling me. I can handle anything, please trust me” I said holding her hand
“It’s too painful. I don’t want to go through it again” she said
“Mom, please listen to me. You need to share this with me. I need to know what happened to my sister, otherwise I will never be at peace. I will not be able to live my life knowing I had a sister and something happened to her.
“Ok son, here is the truth…”
“…I gave the baby away to my sister. Both of us had our babies at the same time. She lost her baby right after delivery. The doctor said they could only save one of them, either the mother or the baby. We couldn’t tell this to your aunt as she would’ve gone into depression, so, to save her and her family from breaking apart we made this sacrifice.” She explained with teary eyes
“If she is with aunty, why haven’t we met her till now? Where are they?” I asked
“Your father and your uncle used to work together earlier. Suddenly, one day, they decided never to see each other again. What transpired between them, we don’t know? And since that day, we haven’t seen them.” She said
“Well, where are they now?”
“Last I heard they were in Shimla” she said
“Can we talk to them?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea son. Just let it be, things are better this way”
“Mom, I need to know her. And, most importantly, she needs to know who she really is” I asserted.
“Please, promise me you won’t do anything. I don’t want any more trouble. You need to promise right now” she said extending her hand towards me
“Ok, I promise” I said disheartened
“What I’m about to tell you should be between us only. Deal?” That evening I met Riya and told her everything.
“Oh my God, is this for real?” she asked astonished
“Yes, and we have to do something about it. I have to meet my sister, I have to get to know her” I said
“What do you want to do?” she asked
“We have to go to Shimla, first of all, without telling anyone”
“How will we pull this through?”
“We will tell my parents that I have to go to Mumbai for some official work and you will tell yours the same. Can you manage that?” I asked
“Yes sure, I’m not leaving you alone. I’m right there with you on this one” she said hugging me
The next day, we boarded the train to Shimla and reached there around noon. We checked into the hotel, had our lunch and headed out. We only had a day or two to complete our search. We got to know that there was a grand ball to be held there tomorrow night and the whole town had been invited. This was our chance to get to know my sister. But how do we get in?
Both of us dressed up lavishly for the ball and headed to the city hall, where the event was to be held. We waited for the guards to look the other side and quietly made our way to the hall. Once we were inside, we searched for my sister. Riya used an app like ‘future baby look’, we now had a tentative picture of my sister. I was getting impatient and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I saw her. I felt thrills down my spine. I was sweating, I held Riya’s hand and went up to my sister.
“Hi” I said to her
“Hi, how are you?” she asked
“Very well, can we talk to you in private?” I asked
“I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you. Have we met before?”
“No, I just need to talk to you for 10 minutes. Please” I said
To be continued here.