“Thief Thief… Killer..Thief, Thief” yelled Malati at the top of her voice. The whole hospital got alerted. The security guard rushed towards her ie. towards the incubator room. He saw a lean man holding two just born babies in his two arms. The guard lost no time in overpowering him. Malati almost snatched the babies from the thief and put them back into the incubator properly. The snapped wires were also set right. She was so much shaken by the incident that she was still shivering. Luckily, she spotted the thief in time – or else it would have been a havoc for her. How could an outsider gain entry into the Incubator Room! It is supposed to be a NO ENTRY AREA where only a restricted few could enter. It is practically I.C.C.U. of just born babies. She was happy that she had the presence of mind to call the security man and averted a great mishappening.
She now rushed to the administrative office and rang up the chief doctor -- Dr. Yashodhara. She told her about the crime and asked her to rush to the hospital, so that thief could be handed over to the Police. Dr. Yashodhara came hurriedly to the spot. On seeing the so called thief, she burst into bouts of laughter – uncontrollable laughter. Reason? - Very simple. The lean man held by the security guard as thief, was none other than the very father of the two babies. In the morning when the babies were born, he was only informed of their births – but denied any access to see the babies. As the babies were tiny and underweight, they were straight away taken to the Incubator Room. So neither Malati nor any attendant had any idea as to who the father was. Even during the routine check-ups of his wife, Gangadharan, the father, was not present. A young father’s natural instinct to cuddle and cajole his babies was wrongly construed as STEALING, KILLING and what not… Oh! the Poor man!!! Dr. Yashodhara explained everybody about the crude joke of the day.
Malati vehemently denied and confirmed that his approach and mode of handling the babies were not at all natural. In any case not a father’s gentle touch. She was very sure his intentions were not genuine. She would even swear that he actually wanted to get rid of the babies.
Upon questioning, Gangadharan admitted that he was at that heinous act. He confessed to the Doctor. He narrated that he loved his wife so dearly and he was sure that she could not withstand the ordeal of giving birth to multiple babies Now that she had delivered the babies in one operation, he was afraid whether she can bring them up – she herself being very weak….These babies have not descended as a blessing on their parents – but are actually demons and are waiting to devour his dear wife. At no cost, he could ever lose his wife. The very thought of losing her, was very painful. He would rather be a father without children – than be a widower with tiny tots in hands. He waited for an appropriate opportunity and stealthily sneaked into the Incubator Room. He snapped the wires and took the babies into his arms. Before he could slip into the darkness outside and vanish into the thin air, he was caught and held as culprit. He fell at the feet of the doctor and pleaded ----- “Please save my wife. I cannot exist without her. She is my heart and soul and in fact, my everything in life”. He continued…You know I am a farmer – a mango gardener. In our farm, we normally follow a practice called PRUNING. In this procedure we retain just one or two in bunch and remove the rest. This ensures good harvest. You may have known that I had earlier received a national award for being both a very good horticulturist and a best farmer. Mangoes grown in my orchard are the best in our country. For getting the best results, all I had done was to pluck and remove as many mangoes from every bunch, just leaving one or two there. These few mangoes get good sunlight and full nourishment and grow well and develop a good taste and colour. This way I am able to reap a good harvest every year. The same technique I applied here. If only, I can get rid of those two tiny demons, I can take care of the one left with my wife. Both my wife and child can lead a normal life”.
He continued, “Here in the hospital, you will take care of my wife and all her kids. But afterwards, when she will be discharged, she will still be weak and may not be able to manage all her three babies. There will always be tension and stress at home and this may lead to her or the babies falling ill. Dr., Please Dr., save my wife. I do not want to lose her”. He was in tears.
The Doctor was very furious at his silly nonsense. With what effort and energy, she had saved the mother and her three babies…and this idiotic fool, unmindful of such a miraculous happening in his life, is simply nullifying it and befooling all. He had not even seen babies – the first baby being near-normal was with its mother. She turned to him and said angrily,’ You cold blooded murderer! You are not aware of what crime you have committed. Do you know one thing? Once admitted into this hospital, everything belongs to us and are in our custody. Only upon our discharge, you can own your belongings. Let that be your wife or your babies. You may be the father of your babies or husband of your wife, but not till we discharge them. We are responsible for their lives. You have no business to stand in our premises without our permission. Just in a fraction of a second, I can hand over you to the police on charges of stealing, assaulting and murdering…Luckily today, only your babies are kept in the Incubator Room. Suppose some more babies were there and you happen to take somebody’s baby—who will answer its parents? By your stupid action, you have brought a permanent black mark to our hospital and this lady, who had been very sincere and honest at her work all these years, would have been chucked out of her job. Have you ever thought of the consequences of your foolish act, rather your misdeed”? She blasted at him left and right and yet her anger would not subside.
She then held him tightly, dragged him and led him to a special ward, where a lady was lying unconsciously. The man – her hubby sitting by the side of her cot, stood up. The doctor said, “Look at this couple. Their child is no more. It was a still born –ie. born dead. With great difficulty, we could save the mother. With excessive bleeding, it was a tough battle of life and death for her. She does not even know till now, that her baby did not survive. Once she comes to know about the loss, it will have serious repercussions on her health. We just don’t know how we are going to save her then. Babies are born as God’s gift and only a chosen few get His Blessings. We Doctors are only His agents, trying our best to save both mother and baby. You silly fellow, now do you understand what you did? Have you ever thought of one more point? Do you know for how many months your wife was carrying the babies in her womb? What pains she suffered to keep them safe there? You damn idiot! Finally, when the babies arrived safely on this earth, you tried to get rid of them! How dare you do it! Do you think, your wife will ever pardon you for your sinful act, when she comes to know about it? On top of it, you say you love your wife very much? Is this the way you show your love towards her?
You Country Brute, now make these FIVE PROMISES to me right now. Or else I will call the POLICE and hand over you to them.
One. You will never tell your wife that you attempted to get rid of her babies.
Two. You will not kill any baby anytime in future. You will retain two babies – one boy and a girl.
Three. You will not discriminate between the boy or girl baby. You will show equal love and affection towards both.
Four. You will give one of your girls forever and forever to the issueless couple just now I have shown you.
And lastly, Five. You will not disclose your parenthood to the baby you will be giving away or her guardians or the caretaker parents – never, never in the future. Once given, is given forever.
This way you save yourself from the clutches of POLICE and the consequent rough dealings by them, plus, you save your wife from bringing up three undernourished babies and also save the issueless couple from their untold miseries. They can now be blessed with a baby girl you will be offering”.
Gangadharan readily agreed to all the five conditions imposed by the Doctor. He was ashamed of his folly – not a folly – but a treacherous misconduct. His profound love for his wife blinded him and he behaved like a mad chap. Dr. Yashodhara opened his eyes and he obeyed her and was ready to carry out her instructions. A treacherous bizarre action on his part, was instantaneously turned into an act of kindness and mercy.
To everybody’s delight, things moved faster. The doctor called Shrihari, the husband of the special ward patient and told him that his wife and he would have a jackpot. A baby girl! Just born and alive! He was taken to the Incubator Room and shown the girl. He was overwhelmed with joy. He lifted his head above towards roof and with tear-filled eyes and folded hands thanked God for the gift. Tears uncontrollably came rolling down. He held the hands of Gangadharan and wept. While others were watching this touching emotional scene, Shrihari literally ran out of the hospital and stood at a nearby sweet shop. He purchased all the sweets in the shop and offered them liberally to all in the hospital.
The night that fell upon Malati and other staff members as a gruesome monster, slowly melted away and filled the air with fragrance of love and fraternity. Shrihari asked Gangadharan for his name so that the baby could be named after him. Gangadharan’s name was shortened and the baby was named GANGA - truly a source of life and happiness to all in abundance. Similarly Gangadharan asked Shrihari’s name so that he would keep the same for his baby. Finally, he called his babies HARI (standing for Shrihari) and GANGA (the very name chosen by Shrihari for his girl) All babies got a family and a home for themselves.
Dr. Yashodhara was also very happy that the hospital was not just a place where babies were born – but it also remains and still remains as the birthplace of humanity and mankind at large.