I endearingly call her my favourite aunty for she is beautiful, affectionate and my mommy’s close friend. She and her husband looked like this picture perfect couple, handsome, stunningly dressed and flamboyant. But my mommy said, they aren’t half as good as they look for they don’t have any children of their own. It was sad as both of them wanted to have kids but infertility and its lack of acceptance for a long time had put age behind them. Adoption, I thought in my head, can’t they adopt a child, wouldn’t it solve everything which entangled them, wouldn’t it make their lives happier, wouldn’t it give a new lease of life to someone somewhere. But I couldn’t ask her, when the question continued to bother me, I asked mommy. She told me that favorite aunty wanted to adopt but uncle wouldn’t ever agree, but didn’t he also want a child, yes he did she said but again to love a child like you would love a child of your own is not as plain as it sounds. He would rather lead his life without knowing the joy of being a father than trying to be a father of someone else’s child.
One day a few years later, favourite aunty called mommy and said “Alka, you are a maasi”. My mommy couldn’t get the import of it and it took her two minutes to realize what that statement meant. Soon, there was a smile in my mommy’s eyes, yes the favorite aunty and uncle had adopted a child. An infant had come in their home, from a faraway place. But I didn’t understand, why now after twenty years of marriage, why now when all these years he wasn’t convinced about adoption, when did this change of heart happen and why. What favourite aunty told was an unbelievable fable to the ears. She and uncle were holidaying in Assam at her sisters’ place, the sister casually mentioned about a young couple getting separated and leaving an infant under the custody of an old woman (the child’s grandmother). The sister lamented for the child and left it there but the favorite aunty didn’t. Surprisingly, even the uncle didn’t leave it there, didn’t he always want a child. In no time, favorite aunty and uncle met the child’s grandmother, the legal formalities got completed and when they returned from the sister’s place, it wasn’t just the two of them but a third one, who through his big eyes stared at his new house and parents.
Mommy told us this and we rushed to meet her and the child, oh what a bundle of joy he was. Fair complexion, ruddy face, thick hair, everyone said he resembled uncle and he really did. In a few days, he also started managing their lives, sleeping pattern, eating ways, all of it was dependent on this little boy who was their son. He is now a naughty boy of five and the darling of his father who once thought that all that mattered was his blood and his wife’s womb. When I remember all this today, it forces me to believe something which my grandmother says with all the conviction she has: the people we meet, love, lose, cry for are the people we are meant to..