• Nikhila Jain

The Unborn

Updated: May 17


Prologue

A little girl sat next to her mother, her eyes dried with tears, her face pale, and she argued, why me?

Her mother saw her with closed eyes. The unbearable pain cut through her heart, tears filled in her closed eyes, and she no longer could bear the pain, and she opened her eyes.

An unknown territory, crowded with unfamiliar faces, made her condition worse than she had thought. Determined to find an answer but unable to find a way out, she got up.

********

I saw out of the window a never-ending queue of couples lined up, waiting for their turn. For all those decades, it had been the same old story. Countless couples came and went, but I found none or maybe wanted none. Why would someone want to give away the beautiful time? I argued with Simon the other day. His face hard, though expressionless. The only thing he said was, “Inevitable”. I laughed in his face and said, “Inevitable, Hah!”. We came here unwillingly, but we got the power to choose. We decided what we got to do, and no one else does that for us. We were the creators of fate. How could you say inevitable? But he kept quiet, immersed in his terrain of thoughts, ignored me and my questions. He shut himself in his space, and I had no choice but to leave him alone.

I walked away with a heavy heart and sat on a pearl-white stool kept next to the big window that overlooked the horizon. If it had been usual for me, the scene would have mesmerised me. But the horizon reminded me of the unfortunate incidents that happened. I came here and got stuck. Was I Disheartened by the incidents that took my heart away, or was I angry, unsure I accepted what came my way? The time filled with chaos, same as always, every moment I spent here for past decades had been the same, just the way it was when I came. I saw people entered with a sadness that filled the void, but soon they left with cheering faces. And I saw them happy as if they were a part of the cycle. I loathed the diplomats that were at every corner, and then I met Simon. He had been the only companion from the time I came here and turned out to be the best of the lot, a sensible person with whom I could talk. We connected and were inseparable from there. Simon came before me and had been for approximately 20 years, and I still remember how we met. Afraid of the people and the clamour filled in the dead room, I sat in the corner with clenched fists and dried tears. I held my emotions, shook away the loss, but wasn’t destiny harsh I questioned but who had the answer. And then I heard, “You”.

********

In a snap, I turned around and saw a man with a long white beard that touched the floor and a long shining pearl gown, “Sorry!” I said in exasperation.

“You and only you got to decide if destiny was harsh or a never-ending cycle of fate.”

Unable to understand what he meant, I said, “Sorry!” again.

“Troubled, Hmm! Pretty simple, like you, I had banged my head on the walls, I had scratched my eyes out in horror, but no one replied, and at last, I found my answers”. He breathed a sigh of relief and continued, “And that’s why you and only you could answer”. He moved away, left me with my ordeal. I saw him disappear inside the gigantic rolling pins that kept the world separated. As if a strong force pulled me, I got up and ran behind him, “Hey! Hey! Help me get my answers”. I stumped, and I fell to the ground. I looked up and heard a loud roaring noise as if gigantic pins warned me to back away. With no strength to summon, I ignored and closed my eyes.

I saw my six-year-old daughter crying, her eyes swollen, her face ashen, grief I could feel the same grief of losing them all and she trapped in the grief of losing me. I saw it every time I close my eyes, I saw myself lying on the floor and my daughter sitting next to me with unbearable pain in her eyes. Unable to bear it more, I opened my eyes. I shouted, “You”, I pointed in the direction of rolling pins, “Listen to me, you took it all away from me, I hate you, Let me go…. let me goooo”, I sobbed, my voice died out.

There were no days or nights as if it was an everlasting ordeal for me. The man in pearl gown would visit me and narrate his same story that never helped me. The moment I tried to get answers, he would disappear behind the pins. The time had flown by, but for me, it was like I had got caught up in a bad storm. I reckon if it would ever let me get out.

Determined to strike a conversation next time, I waited for his visit. With a shining white beard and long hair, he looked like a soothing breeze, but the fire inside me needed answers. Before he could start with his same old story, I caught him between the words and said, “I want to see my daughter, and I know you can make it happen”. I expected him to fly away, but instead, I found myself starring out of a window. A young woman, nurturing a baby in her hand, looked familiar. I said it aloud, “Oh! My gosh, Jenny, my love, my life. She had grown into a beautiful young woman, a mother.” Tears of joy rushed through my eyes, I murmured, time had flown away. Jenny starred right through my eyes and said, “Let it go, it’s okay…. move on. That’s what life is all about.”

She cuddled the baby and said, “I want you to be like mother, who never gave up, but embraced what life threw at her”. I starred at the two most beautiful girls in my world, but before I could feel the joy, the sadness engulfed me, and I was back in the awful world of ‘Unborns’. The man was gone, and a cluttered environment took away the serenity of the place. “Holy crap!” I scolded myself.

********

From that day on, I got a friend forever. Simon, the man in white, as I called him, and I started my so-called journey of being unborn. Simon had felt the same grief of losing his family, his daughter and decided never to return to the mortal world. It was too much to bear. I agreed and asked him, “Do we have the power to choose?” He nodded and asked me to follow. He held my hand and escorted me to the world beyond the rolling pins. We both stood in front of blazing, bright light, and I heard a voice, “Simon, what is it about.”

“The child wants to know if we have the power to choose,” said Simon.

Silence prevailed, and as if it took forever, the voice replied, “If that’s what the child wants, yes”.

The bright light intensified that blinded my eyes. We fell in a hollow cave with no light and then were back in the crowded place. From then on, we stayed together, we saw every face that left, and new faces came, but we chose to stay behind until Simon told me, “My day had finally arrived, I got to go back”. Stunned with what I heard, I screamed at him, “How could you? You got no right to choose the mortal world. The light gave us the power to choose.”

And Simon ignored me as if he had no reason to reply. I knew he had the power to choose, wait and decide. My eyes blazed with anger, and I swore to not talk to him. I left.

I sat in a corner, where I had sat for all that time alone. I wanted to understand why Simon, after decades of togetherness, chose to leave. I was furious with him and swore never to talk, but then I saw him afar when he left with a smile, his face gleamed with happiness, and he waved at me. He screamed, but I heard nothing. I thought, is it worth it? How can he choose someone over our friendship of times? Why he left me here, alone, when we were best of friends and had experienced the grief, but why the pain again? I felt perplexed. I never want to go, but then Simon’s words echoed, “I was waiting for them, and I got to go… Maybe someone would come for you too….”

********

I want no one to come, and I don’t want to leave. I looked at the queue that kept growing and growing with no dead end. People were swarming in from all corners, looking at the couples, reading about them, some happily leaving and some preferred to leave. I sighed and missed Simon, but much more than that, I missed Jenny, the love of my life, my part, my strength, my daughter. I guess I never moved on. It was just Simon who calmed me.

It’s not the way it was here when Simon was around. I decided I need to take a quick peep on Simon. I rushed through the crowd, merely stumbling with every other thing in sight as if I had a new meaning. I climbed the gigantic rolling pins, balancing myself, yet fell. Desperate to check on Simon, I tried again. Holy crap! I went down again. I would not give up, I thought. My hands damp, my legs tremble, gosh! For heaven’s sake, Lemme. I got up for a ten-thousandth time and fell again? Exhausted but refused to give up, I tried to get up. The gigantic rolling pins glared and me, and then it was dark and obscure.

I don’t know what happened to me. My eyes refused to adjust to the sudden flash of light, and then it filled every bit of the corner. I heard that voice, the same voice that had haunted me from the time Simon decided to go from here.


“My child! You got to slow down.”


“Oh! I don’t want your mercy, go away,” I said.


I got up and looked around. Neither I saw a familiar face, nor were the giant rolling pins in the vicinity. I looked straight at the bright light and asked, “What happened?” The bright light glowed and glowed, but without answering me, vanished. Frustrated with what had happened, I ran around, but all I could see was me. Caged, I had nothing but to bang my head on the walls.

Time passed, but the only thing I did was banged my head on the walls, pierced through the walls, but I could barely see-through. I felt there was a world around me, but I got caught up in this cell. Why? Why that voice did it to me? I just wanted to be here. I had a right, and he gave me, then why I had to bear the pain. Wasn’t that enough, on that dreadful night when I lost everything, and I came here. The voice had promised me I could be here as long as I want, then why he put me in here.

The voice, never visited, never I dared to accept what I had lost. Buried under the grief of mine, I kept praying it to be a nightmare but afraid to open my eyes. Every now or then, the fresh tears would swell up in my eyes and rushed through it, but I refused to look around. The crowd, the buzz was there. I thought, how many trapped in these cells. I never realised one existed till I got caught up in it. I had no one, Jenny, I lost her long back, and Simon he left me. The fresh tears formed again.

********

Killing time was one thing that I never appreciated doing, and that’s what I had been doing. I looked around the white walls, people swarming and moving as if I don’t exist. The voice rushed, asked me to help, and I saw the cage disappeared. I saw Jenny, sat in the corner, tears dried in her eyes. I rushed to console her, but the voice held me back.

“Remember, you got to make her wise, but you couldn’t reveal who you were”. I nodded and rushed to console her, Jenny, she looked at me, and I said, “You”.

The memories of Simon returned. I remembered Simon, my father. He tried to show me the path to realise the destiny and move ahead from his long, tearful, gruesome journey here, but I refused to listen….”Oh! Dad, I am sorry…” I burst out in tears. I messed it up all. I calmed my nerves and thought, I got to make it easy for Jenny.

Determined to help her, I held her hand and took her over the rolling pins, surprised as the pins made no effort to block my path, my destiny. I thought, the cycle of life, we all play our parts, ain’t we.

I told Jenny the story, my story, the way Simon had told me his, rather our story, only I couldn’t understand. Would Jenny understand?

Time flew the way it had flew away for me. I tried everything to convince Jenny that to move on, but like me, she understood nothing.

I sat in my cell, thought about Simon, my father who helped me in the afterlife. As every individual had a fixed time boundaries, he had his. I felt warm tears, something I had never felt from times unknown, and then a window appeared from nowhere, and I saw Simon, praying with his folded hands and calling me. I knew it’s time, and I knew Jenny would be fine. I got to go to make it happen for her. I looked one last time at her and said aloud,


“Would wait for you,” she looked away, and I left.

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