“So, are you ready?” Sia asked in a calm voice almost sounding confident in Meera’s decision. Meera squinted at her with the sun blazing into her eyes replying, “I don’t know. I can’t say anything until I get that call.”
It was a subtle, quiet, and warm afternoon. Sia and Meera were sitting together sipping lavender chamomile tea. It was now their signature drink that they shared together every day. Any other Saturday the girls would have been out and about to flea markets looking for treasures to fill up their beautiful 4 bedroom apartment. Their parents had been world travelers working for the Indian Government at high ranking positions. Which meant that they got exposure to many cultures around the world. The girls also did not have a trained upbringing with conditioning to cook, clean, and procreate. But had been brought up to be independent, healthy and happy human beings. They considered themselves world citizens and were involved with a lot of charities worldwide. It was in their upbringing to give back to the society as you get more successful. So this next step in Meera’s life was honestly no surprise to Sia.
They were smart intelligent sisters but were still quite different from each other. One was more naïve, polite and follower of rules, trying too hard sometimes to please everyone around. And the other was slightly outgoing and more of a rule breaker. They shared a common love for lazy afternoons reading books while sipping tea. Along with, of course deep hard-hitting discussions about anything and everything. In fact, one of their worst fights ever had been about politics. They had lived through failures, rejections, and heartbreaks. They had seen each other through a lot. The night their parents died in a car accident; was the night they made a promise to each other, to always be together. They were never going to live apart and were always going to stand by each other even if it meant going against the rules (Sia added that last bit just to prove how serious she was about the promise).
Like any other family, these two grew up being compared to the other as well. To the extent that there was a time when Sia could not stand Meera for being the preferred one. For one looked more like their mother whereas the other one was a copy of their father. After weeks for crying over not being able to talk to Meera (out of jealousy) Sia had broken down in front of their mother saying how lonely and rejected she felt because their grandparents liked Meera more than her. And it was also during that conversation that she realized how much she truly loved her little sister. That was also the night Sia decided to never let anyone come between them and today, 15 years later the girls were living their dream but minus their mom and dad.
Their single status in the present was more of a choice than an obligation. Sia had no interest in sticking to a relationship or as Meera claimed had never truly fallen for anyone yet. But Meera was a romantic at heart and had been in a long-term relationship that came with an expiration date.
But today was different. Today was not about the past gone wrong. Today, they were discussing ‘what next?’
Sia asked her again, “Meera, I mean it. You need to explain it to me honestly. And none of your psychiatrist self, covering it. I want brutal honesty. You don’t have any mixed emotions about this, do you?”
Meera finally spoke, “Growing up we both played with dolls pretending to be moms to our stuffed toys and creating our own world of pets and babies. Even then while playing I knew I wanted to be a mom someday.”
Meera continued talking, “I also always knew I was going to be a psychiatrist. I mean mom put that in my head. But I am not complaining. I am in fact thankful that she could see that potential in me so clearly even when I was just a kid. I honestly love my profession. It is literally like getting paid for a hobby.” Sia continued talking sipping tea from the large mug that had big letters written on it. ‘BE YOU’.
“The last time Aakash and I got together I honestly thought we were going to get married now. And I know you don’t believe in marriage as an institution, but I do, Sia. Whatever marriage we witnessed growing up, I still love the idea of being with that one person who loves and adores you and wants to grow old with you. The one who sees this whole world of potential that you yourself can never see. So obviously when it did not happen the third time, I knew this was it. I could never love another man in this lifetime again. My quota of love for a romantic relationship is done.”
“But my quota of love for a baby has not even opened up yet. And I want to be a mom. Why can’t I be a mom? 90% , ok not 90 but a large percentage of women still want to be moms at some point in their lives, so why not me? Why are you expecting me to explain it repeatedly to you?”
Sia just stared at her sister and then looked straight at the sun but with eyes shut. It was an old habit, that Sia did even as a kid, anytime she felt confused or lost. She would turn to face the sun but with eyes closed, quietly concentrating on her breathing and letting the solution come to her. She called it her ‘Sun Maneuver’. She once explained it to her dad, that the heat from the sun sweats the ideas out of her. Her dad had proudly laughed listening to her and then told her to never stop sweating. She now opened her eyes and looked at Meera lovingly, “Meera, I love you. And I am not doubting your ‘ability’ or your ‘want’ to be a mom. I am only asking this repeatedly because you will be asked this question for the rest of your life. I once read somewhere that having a child is like getting a face tattoo. That you don’t even get to choose. And you have to love that tattoo for the rest of your life.”
Meera interrupted her saying, “Are you seriously calling my daughters bad face tattoos? You are crazy Sia!”
She was about to get up when Sia held out her hand to stop her and said, “I am also calling my nieces face tattoos.” “And I am not calling them ugly. I need to know you are sure because we can get that call anytime now.”
Meera sat back and started to really talk now, she knew Sia would not let go until she had spoken her complete truth. “A few months ago I started seeing a new patient. She is a 12 years old girl who recently lost both her parents, just like we did in a car accident. She is now living with her grandparents and has no siblings. Her grandparents made the decision to introduce her to therapy. She hardly talked to me in the beginning but loved to draw. So we ended up drawing each time she came in for a session. And then out of nowhere, she says that she fears she will forget her parents one day. And that all her memories of them as a family will be gone. And so, her grandparents got her enrolled in art classes, where she gets to draw out her memories, Sia. That is how much love she has even when life has been so cruel to her. She is finding strength in her pain to go on. That kid found her own way to live.”
Meera continued talking, “I want to make memories too Sia. I want more than I have right now. I want to spread more love and happiness in this world. I know my purpose is more than what I am doing right now. And this little girl is my sign. I can feel it in my gut. I want to impart my knowledge, and love to my daughters so they can take it forward. This is not where I stop. I have a lot more to do with all this love inside me. And I want them so much. I am praying every night that all proceedings go smoothly and are in my favor. I want to bring both of them home together as it should be.”
And just then in the most eccentric way, Meera remembered what Sia had said a few minutes ago and sharply questioned her, “What do you mean, ‘prepare me’? Are you going somewhere?”
“What? Of course not.” Sia replied. “I live here too. And I plan on taking maternity leaves as well, right after yours are over. And that way one of us is at home with them during the early months.”
Meera smiled looking at her sister lovingly, “Mom would have been the best naani (grandma).” With tears rolling down her eyes she asked her sister “Sia, am I doing something wrong?”
“Meera I have seen too many lives destroyed over money, property , and petty issues of ego. I don’t see a world where I can sanely bring up a child. I don’t have it in me. But I am proud of you for having the determination. Because you see the beauty in things, I am unable to.” Sia was now crying trying to explain her point to her little sister.
Meera reached out to hug Sia and said, “Come on Sia, you are the most determined person in my life. Every time I am at a crucial point where I don’t know what to do, I think of you. I don’t even think of mom or dad but you, like ‘what would Sia do in this situation?’ You bring out the best in me, Sia. With you, by my side, I can overcome any crap life throws at me. So, I need to know from you one more time, am I doing the right thing? This will change our lives forever.”
“Meera, I can’t wait to be a massi. We will have twin daughters soon. It feels like magic.” Sia said wiping her tears smiling.
“By the way, do you have the names ready?” Sia asked getting up to refill her mug.
“Yes, Naina and Asmi.” replied Meera.
And then the phone rang. The twin sisters who had been left at the doorstep of a Church were finally going to be home.