This is a third part of the series: The Goregaon Girl. If you haven’t read the first and second part, click the links below:
A train ticket to Rameswaram sends me a quiver down my spine. This name resounded like a fresh wound to my ears.
A week ago, I had turned 22. After visiting an old-age home, spending my birthday with the bold and beautiful oldies, I was heading back home. Neither did I have the inkling about the moment of truth that I was about to face from my parents, a gift I could never forget for the rest of my life.
My father and mother were eagerly waiting for my arrival. After a quick chat of my experience at the old-age, my father broke the silence.
“Karthik, we wanted to discuss something important with you today”, my father’s stern voice pierced my ears. And I glanced my mother just to see her eyes pointing straight at her fingers, playing coy fully with her saree.
“Yes, tell me!” I gathered courage in my speech.
“I think it’s time we let you know about your existence.”
“About my existence?”, I added more power and strength to that final word.
A blast of exhalation with a shrilled voice uttered, “You are our adopted son from a distant uncle in Rameswaram. No sooner did my father completed his statement, I could see my heartbroken mother rushing towards the kitchen crying her heart out in tears.
I was in shock. A dilemma I never had expected in the wildest of my dreams. I wanted this to be a lie. The news had created a tight knot in my stomach cramping my gut that choked my intestines so hard that words wouldn’t utter. Thick black clouds formed in front of my eyes, dizziness kicked in and I passed out.
The next thing I could remember was me waking up on my bed with my mother’s warm palm caressing my forehead and my father sitting right next to me. I held her hands, gripped tightly, with the fear that this new truth would stop her from the care and warmth she had given me beyond measure for the past two decades. I never wanted it to diminish with the fact constantly telling me that I was not their kin anymore. She understood my question through that grip and held my hands with utmost love and affection.
Slowly I turned my head towards my father and tried to speak some words.
“Who are my real parents and where are they now?”, I asked them with a hole in my heart.
It was during the storms of the early 2000s when your mother and I were visiting the Rameswaram Temple to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva for a child. After a successful pilgrim, there was an unpredictable change in the climate. Incessant rains showered with a bolt of lightning and flood was impending across the areas of Rameswaram. The low-lying areas were hit badly with the gushing waters and some of the villages got washed away. Kumaran, your uncle was in one of those flood-stricken villages of Dhanushkodi.
Saving a few of the villagers, Kumaran came to see me off at the Rameswaram station. He wasn’t alone! He was with you. With tears in his eyes, he mentioned,” The rains have washed away many families in Dhanushkodi and we all are waiting for the storms to subside. This child’s parents have swept away in bright daylight and hardly have anyone. Please take care of him as your own child” Kumaran handed you over to me and left away.
Days later we came to know about Kumaran’s demise rescuing others during the storm in his village. That is when we realized, you were a blessing to us from God!
He handed over a chain with a locket that resembled a flag with an arrow. This is what we know of you. Keeping me ponder over a million thoughts, my father hugged me tight and whispered,
“Nothing changes with this news even today – the love, the care, the life will never dwindle. You were and you will always be our only son who brings happiness to our life.”
I wrapped my arms around my father so tight and wept like a baby on his strong shoulders.
A loud honk of an express train brings me back to the present. I see people rushing across the platform to board their train. My face turns cold in fear and there’s sweat formed like mist all over my cheeks. I’m still holding Ananya’s train ticket that has Rameswaram on it. There’s fear gripped within my chest, a sense of eagerness on the side with gamble minted on the other side of the coin.
Will Karthik still go to Rameswaram or will he drop Ananya off to the Railway Police and report a missing child? What entails Karthik and Ananya together?
Wait for the next part of this series in the next week.