With her eyes narrowed and fingers murdering the keyboard, Ashita was engrossed in writing the last chapter of her novel. Ravi, her husband of ten years, aware that she had switched on her writer-mode, closed the bedroom door to give her the ‘space’ she had demanded.
When she emerged three hours later, after a grueling writing session, she had a smile on her face. Her face was devoid of the earlier I-am-about-to- puke expression.
“So is it out? It is funny, how you go all potty-faced when you get the idea for a chapter,” said Ravi, biting his cheeks in an effort not to laugh.
“Yes…at last. ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ You number crunchers would never understand that,” said Ashita, countering her husband’s cheeky remark with a quote from Maya Angelou.
Branding her son with an eagerly received hug and kiss, Ashita enquired what they wanted for dinner.
“Anything, as long as it is palatable.”
“What do you mean? I cook un-appetizing food?”
“Who said that? I just meant anything,” said Ravi, flashing his best smile to pacify his wife who might take on her war- goddess avatar if he crossed the ‘lines’.
Humming a tune, she headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Ashita had her life in place, at the pace and order that she wanted it. She was a successful author and lately financially independent owing to her best sellers.
Gone were those days, which were dark and brooding. Postpartum depression had sent her reeling with sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem and guilt. She had feared that her lack of expertise in raising a child would irreparably harm her child. Being continents away from her family, with no one to help her cope up being a new mother, she was exhausted, scared and at the end of her wits. She had begged Ravi to save their child from her. Ravi had laughed it off saying all new mothers went through this phase and there was nothing to worry. Though he chipped in with housework and childcare responsibilities, it was never enough.
Hope had danced into her life in the form of Elizabeth, a benevolent social worker, who had found her at the clinic, after a failed suicide attempt. Elizabeth, with her kind words and her group of volunteers including Ravi, had instilled new courage and hope in her.
“Never bottle up your emotions, Ashita. They will eat into your very being. Pour them out as words. Write them down. Write about your fears and write about your hopes. Watch how words magically heal you.” Elizabeth had told her, handing her a notebook and pen.
The writer in her was born that day. The initial hiccups and fears had drowned in the support given by Ravi and the many volunteers who trickled into their one bedroom flat as baby- sitters, giving her the necessary space and time to heal. A house cleaner to help, was the next step.
The baby blues had vanished and she had transformed into a content mom. Her new friends nourished the writer, with appreciation for the few stories she had penned down during her darkest hours. A collection of short stories well received, led way to a full-length novel which went on to become a national best seller.
“I smell something, yummy,” cried her five-year-old Aryan.
The aroma of her cooking had lured her son into the kitchen, closely followed by Ravi.
“Mmmmm… Biriyani,” said Ravi, his eyes bright with excitement.
“Yes it is Biriyani. It is celebration time. The first draft is done,” said Ashita, picking up Aryan, allowing him to perch on her hips after she finished transferring the Biriyani into the plates.
“Bravo...That is great news,” said Ravi, hugging her.
The novel was her story, a gift for all those who might be out there dealing with the often undiagnosed and damaging condition of postpartum depression. The profits from the book would go to the support group she had formed together with Elizabeth, for helping new moms and single moms suffering postpartum depression.
As Maya Angelou said, she wanted to try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.