I can see her standing by the window ledge smiling serenely at me. She is standing there, now trying to clutch the bars of the window with her tiny hands. She is my 2-year old daughter and she is dead. She died a month back due to heart failure. For the past few days, she has been smiling at me from the window ledge. It used to be her favourite place in the house where she used to play all the time when she was alive. She still plays there all the time but I can see her sometimes wincing in pain. Perhaps, her heart troubles her still.
When she was dying, she had clung to me tightly. I could hear her whisper to me softly with her dying lips, ‘Mummy, I will be back. I will come back.’ I wept for the whole day clutching her lifeless body in my arms. ‘Mom, don’t cry. I said I will come back na,’ a voice inside me spoke to me.
Her father cremated her body next day. But he did not know that my daughter had left her body behind and had returned. She had come back to me. I was overwhelmed with ecstasy on seeing my baby back. There she was, standing by the window fixing me with her innocent eyes that appeared to say, ‘I told you na Ma, that I will be back. See, I have come back. I have come back for ever. I shall never leave you again.’ I cried with joy and laughed with delight. My daughter burst into a fit of giggle as she saw her mummy laughing hysterically. Ah, my daughter had returned to me. My joys knew no bound.
My husband got increasingly worried. I don’t know why, but he began to fear for my sanity. I told him he was being stupid. I haven’t gone mad. I am just delighted, now that my daughter has returned. I leapt high in the air and clapped my hands gleefully. I told him to celebrate as well but he looked at me with inscrutable eyes and wept. I told him ‘Why are you crying. You ought to be celebrating now that our daughter has come back to us.’ But he continued to sob. I don’t know why.
They organized a 12-day ritual for my daughter. They thought she was gone…..gone for good. I mocked at them for their foolishness. The priest arrived to perform the last rites for my daughter. He was a pot-bellied man and was wearing 7 rings on his fingers. I counted them eagerly. My husband sobbed inconsolably. I grabbed him and shook him hard, ‘What happened dear? Why are you shedding tears? Look, our Sarah is playing there, by her favourite window’. He did not answer me but continued to sob. I don’t know why.
The next few days passed hazily. All of our relatives turned up everyday for the next 12 days. They wore white clothes and looked glum. My sister also came with her husband and her 4-year old son Aarav. She patted me tenderly on my shoulders and gave me a sad look. I turned to Aarav and told him, ‘Go, play with Sarah. She is standing there by the window. She is calling you. Look…’
My sister wept on hearing my words. She held Aarav’s arms tightly. I think she did not want her son to play with Sarah anymore. I wondered if it has got something to do with the fact that she died. May be, she does not want Aarav to mix up with a dead girl. ‘But, Sarah is his cousin,’ I pleaded with her. ‘Look there. She is standing by the window desperate to play with Aarav. Why is he not playing with her anymore?’
A few more days passed slowly. After the rituals were over, our relatives stopped coming to our house. Only three people were left in the house- me, my husband and my daughter. But I felt lonely. My husband hardly talked to me these days. And my daughter only smiled from her place by the window side. She never spoke. I missed her sugary voice. I told her, ‘Why don’t you speak, Sarah? Say ‘Mummy’, ‘Papa’. Say say.’ But she only looked at me with her mystical eyes and smiled….
Today, I am thrilled. My daughter has finally spoken. I heard her say, ‘Mummy, come here…come to me.’ My husband is not at home. He has gone to office. I and Sarah are all alone. She is beckoning me towards her. But I find that my legs are tied with a rope which is tied to the bed. I can’t go towards her. I don’t know why but my husband bound me with thick ropes before going to his office. I don’t know why he is doing this to me. I heard him talk to the doctor last evening. The doctor told him that your wife has suffered mental imbalance due to trauma. I didn’t like the look on my husband’s face when the doctor spoke.
I am chained to my bed. I am not liking it. My daughter is calling me from the window. Please let me go towards her. Please let me go……..