April 21, 2013:
It is a lazy Sunday and we are taking our kids out for a swim. It's already noon and I am impatiently waiting for our helper who hasn't shown up yet and as I am about to give up on him, he rushes in panting and looking disturbed.
He says that he got delayed because he had to take my mother-in-law's driver Sunil and his pregnant wife to the hospital (they are his neighbours) as she had gone into early labour and now after all these hours the child is dead.
I am horrified and call the hospital and after a myriad questions, I gather that Sunil's wife has delivered just short of 24 weeks and though the child is technically still alive they have not put it in an incubator or ventilator as the doctor says that the chances of survival are nil.
My conversation with their doctor is even more disheartening as she clearly states that there is nothing we can do, as the child is less than 750 grams and will not survive the next hour.
I am not very familiar with Sunil as he doesn't work directly for me and our acquaintance has been limited to a few polite 'namastes' but I am very shaken up; holding my own baby in my arms and having nearly lost her, I can empathise with his wife though I have never seen her. I understand her feeling of loss and the pain that she must be going through.
The man of the house is also very disturbed and we decide to do whatever we can to help.
We send an ambulance from a neo-natal clinic in Khar to transfer the baby there from her current hospital and when I call Sunil to tell him this, he seems already resigned to the death of his child but reluctantly agrees to accompany the baby and go to the neo-natal ICU.
The baby makes it through the next hour. Doctors say it's because she is a girl. Girls are stronger right from the start and a premature baby girl has a much higher chance of survival than a boy.
A month later, she is still in the ICU and the odds at beating death keep increasing in her favour as each day goes by.
Sometimes I wonder how precarious fate is. I delve in the world of what ifs: What if we had already left for a swim? What if I was not in the right frame of mind? If there is a God, then is this His way of working his magic? Or is it just that little girl's own good luck?
April 21, 2014: It is her first birthday and she has come to meet me. She has managed to astonish everyone with her sheer determination to survive. They had asked me for a name when she was finally released from the ICU and I had suggested Raisa.
Raisa gives me a shy smile; her mother is crying saying that she could not imagine this day would ever come, that I am her mother because she would not be here otherwise.
Her mother is wrong. She is not my child nor is she hers; she is simply destiny's child.
Destiny comes to us on numerous occasions with choices.
We have the option to do the right thing or just do the thing that is the most convenient to do and each time we pick the latter, we lose an opportunity to be part of greatness.
I didn't help that little girl; she helped me. She gave me a moment that I can always look back at and say that my existence on this Earth was worth it.