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3 sides to a story- A short story

Today’s story:

3 Sides to a story

3 Sides to a story

Karan was unwell for quite some time and it was a matter of extreme worry for both his wife Rani and his daughter, Radhika.  He had renal failure compounded by diabetes, and the only way out was a transplant,except there was one issue; Karan’s blood group was AB negative and getting a donor was next to impossible. That is when the Dr Khanna suggested that Radhika be a donor.

For Radhika, the decision was instant. Her father was her hero and being a donor for him was the least she could do. It was Rani, who was having issues with this. For Rani, her life was Radhika;though she was crazy about Karan, her love for Radhika surpassed it all. She was just not ok with Radhika donating her kidney. It was just too dangerous; everything could end, if things went wrong. Her life that she built over the last 24 years could just fall apart,and she was petrified. She needed to stop this, but had no clue how.

Dr Khanna decided the operation would be in USA. Seeing Rani’s tensed status, the doctor felt it was best to do it there, where the facilities were much better. After all Karan could afford it. He was a rich man. But honestly Rani was getting more tensed than required and he wished she would just relax a bit. He knew it was risky and Rani was afraid she could lose both of them, if something went wrong, but medical science had advanced a lot. She really need not have worried so much. But then guess the thought of losing all, was scary. Understanding the situation, he also agreed to accompany them to USA and be with them till the operation happened. After all he was Karan’s childhood friend too.

On arriving in USA, both Karan and Radhika got admitted; there was some routine tests to be done to check the compatibility which was a mere formality as father and daughter match was a certainty. However it was Rani’s condition which was worrying all, including Karan to the extent he thought he would stop the operation; however the doctors and Radhika was adamant. As Karan and Radhika were wheeled in, Rani kept pacing up and down outside the operation area. “What if something went wrong? Not doing the operation would mean losing Karan but doing it might mean losing both? This operation was too risky and  I am unable to make people realise that.”

When Dr Khanna found Rani, she was lying on the floor. She had fainted. The stress was too much for her. Dr Khanna, immediately got her admitted in the same hospital. Honestly speaking she had never seen Rani so anxious. He was worried too. But he knew she would be relaxed after he spoke to her. He waited till she regained senses, so he could talk to her.

When Rani regained consciousness, she saw Dr Khanna sitting next to her bed. He held her hand and said “Relax. Its all ok. Radhika and Karan are fine and their tests have come as a perfect match, which means Radhika can be a donor. Let me assure you, they in best of hands and the operation will be a success and very soon you will have them home soon.” Dr Khanna felt Rani would be fine post this but her puzzled look addled him, but he decided to ignore it.

Rani felt she was dreaming. What the hell was Dr Khanna saying? Radhika was a perfect match for Karan? But that was impossible. After all Radhika was not Karan’s daughter !!!

Rani’s Story

Rani had an arranged marriage with Karan 26 years back. His parents had seen her in a wedding reception, and decided she was the perfect bride to be, for their only son. The marriage was a hurried affair and Karan and Rani hardly got a chance to know each other, forget romancing each other. As a matter of fact, romance entered their life after the birth of Radhika.

The first few months of marriage was fun, but then Rani started getting bored; she was fun loving girl and Karan was just the opposite. It was during this time that Rani met Ashwathama at a party and they immediately clicked; he was witty, charming and she found herself being swept off her feet by him.

With a frequently travelling husband and in-laws in a different city, the romance with Ashwathama blossomed perfectly, till the day she fell sick. Rani was feeling uneasy for many days and finally decided to go for a check up. It was then she learnt that she was pregnant; only issue was the father was not Karan for sure. She was always on pills with him and it was only with Ashwathama that she skipped a few times and this happened. Rani did not know what to do and felt it was best to let Ashwathama decide; after all it was his baby too.

With a frequently travelling husband and in-laws in a different city, the romance with Ashwathama blossomed perfectly, till the day she fell sick. Rani was feeling uneasy for many days and finally decided to go for a check up. It was then she learnt that she was pregnant; only issue was the father was not Karan for sure. She was always on pills with him and it was only with Ashwathama that she skipped a few times and this happened. Rani did not know what to do and felt it was best to let Ashwathama decide; after all it was his baby too.

Ashwathama was stunned hearing Rani’s news; this would be a scandal of epic proportions and Karan would never give Rani a divorce. Indian laws are such nonsensical that by the time Rani got a divorce, and was ready to marry him, it would be time for their child to be married. While Ashwathama loved kids and wanted to be a father, he knew it would never work out with Rani. It was just too complicated. During that time, Ashwathama came across a guy with a similar problem and that was when it struck him that there was only one way out of this. Next day he met Rani..

He knew convincing Rani of what he had in mind, would be a mammoth task but that was the only way out. He explained to her that knowing Karan, a divorce would be an impossibility; plus the kid would have to live with the scandal of his/her birth. The only way out of this was that she tells Karan that the child was his and Ashwathama moves out of her life for good; he would move back to USA and would cut all ties with her. He would leave moment the child was born and Karan would know the child was his. After much convincing Rani accepted; after all it was the future of her kid and she knew that sacrificing her love was the only way out.

Finally the day came when Radhika was born. When Karan placed her in her hands, Rani was weeping. It was the joy of seeing her daughter and also knowing that today was the day, that she would lose Ashwathama for ever. But a sacrifice was must and now her life would be Radhika.

That was 24 years back; things have changed since then. She fell in love with Karan who was a doting father and husband; everything was perfect between them minus the fact that Rani could never forgive herself for lying to Karan about Radhika. But now doctor’s were saying that Radhika was Karan’s daughter. She knew it was impossible. Something was wrong. Very wrong. Karan’s operation was scheduled for 2 weeks from now and she decided to get the DNA tests done so she could get the results in time; so she gathered her clothes along with Radhika’s and Karan’s and submitted it for tests.

Rani was preparing herself to tell Karan the truth as she was opening the first enevelope of the test results, except she could not believe what she read……DNA results confirmed paternity of Karan. Ashwathama was not Radhika’s father; for 24 years Rani had lived in this trauma. But it was finally over. She had nothing more to worry about and anycase Dr Khanna had said the transplant was safe. All’s well that end’s well. Then she remembered there was one more envelope which though was a mere formality, she wanted to read it. She opened the envelope and fell down on the chair ……….”Based on the testing results, obtained from analysis of 15 different DNA probes, the probability of maternity is 0.0% ”

Karan’s Story

​Karan had seen Rani at a wedding and found her pretty, but that was where it ended; he had no clue that his parents had liked her too and decided to get them married. When his parents informed him of their decision it was too late;anycase his parents would never listen to him and he was totally under their control.
Protesting would mean losing his business, which still belonged to his father though it was Karan who was running it.Besides the emotional blackmail his mother would subject him to would be too much; ​he decided to give in.

The marriage was a quick affair. Right after the marriage, Karan shifted to Mumbai, while his parents decided to stay back in Delhi. Soon they settled into their marital life. Though Karan was not much into Rani, he liked the fact that she took care of him and was non-intrusive, which with passing time only grew. Coming from an intrusive family who interfered in everything, the fact that Rani was least interested in his whereabouts, made the marriage just about perfect for him.

Karan met Sunanda about 6 months after his marriage. She was a model and before he realised what was happening, he fell in love with her, hook, line and sinker.​ Life was blissful. A loving girlfriend and a non-intrusive wife was like a man’s idea of paradise and Karan was living it. And then it happened…….He found out he was to be a father.

Karan had no idea what to do; the only way out was to come clean with Rani under the circumstances. That day when Karan reached home to tell Rani the truth, he found the house all decorated. Rani had not told him about any occasion or guests coming home and he was a little surprised. There was a table set for two and what looked like a romantic dinner setting; the last time he had such a romantic dinner was on his honeymoon and he was trying to understand what brought this about. The last thing he needed today was a romantic setting to tell his wife, that he had been cheating on her.

He looked around and saw Rani waiting for him seductively in a red saree, and the moment he saw her, she came rushing to him and gave him a hug. Karan had no idea what was going on, when Rani gave him an envelope. Karan took it and kept staring at what was written in it with a look of incredulity on his face……..”Pregnancy result: Positive”. After all what are the chances, that in the same week you find out you are becoming a dad, twice?​

He knew then that he could not tell Rani the truth anymore, at least not for the time being. For now he had to figure out how to handle this double pregnancy issue. It was during this period that he met this incredible gynaecologist who became a friend and confidante during those days. God knows what he would have done without him.

Finally the day came, when Radhika was born. She was the prettiest thing he ever saw and fell in love with her in an instant. On the day Rani got discharged, he put both of them in the car and went back to meet the gynaecologist, to thank him for all he did for him during this phase. As he entered he saw him staring at a baby in the nursery; he knocked and when he turned around said “Thanks Ashwath. You have no idea what you have done for me”. With those words he left.

The truth

Ashwathama was born and brought up in USA and had studied medicine there. In 1991, when the Indian economy opened, his dad expressed an interest to return to India, and Ashwathama and his wife agreed. So they all came back.

On returning, Ashwathama readily got a job in one of the leading hospitals in Mumbai. All was going good and then one day he met Rani in a party. There was something about her. She wasn’t the prettiest of the girls around but there was something very attractive about her. Aswhathama loved his wife, but somehow found himself being drawn to Rani and then one thing led to another.

Ashwathama wasn’t the cheating kind, and knew that this affair could not last for long; it’s just that he did not know how to get out. He loved his wife, and knew that his growing fondness for Rani would end up hurting all. He knew he had to break if off one day, but just did not know how. And then Rani fell sick. When Rani told him, that she was unwell, he decided to immediately take her for a check up and there the results came…… Rani was pregnant. Ashwathama had no idea what to do. This had the potential of ruining his married life and his reputation forever. Damn Rani for not taking precautions !!!

It was during this period that Ashwatham met Karan. He had seen Karan’s pictures a number of times in Rani’s purse and when he saw her for the first time he was surprised; Karan was with another woman in his chamber whom he introduced as his wife. If this is his wife, then who is Rani? Anyway he did not probe, and did a check up, and confirmed to Karan that his wife was pregnant.

About 10 days later, Karan took an appointment at his chamber again, but this time he was alone. Aswathama was surprised; after all men don’t come to visit gynaecologists. But Karan was visibily shaken and for a moment he thought that he had found about Rani; however Rani had promised not to tell Karan the truth and he knew Rani was not the kind to break promises. Finally Karan spoke. “Doctor, help me. The girl you saw that day was my Girlfriend and not my wife, and right now both are pregnant. I can’t have two kids from two different women. My dad will disown me and I will be ruined. You need to help me get my girlfriend’s baby aborted. I will convince her. Please doctor, help me”

It was then that Ashwathama realised that this was his way out. He told Karan that abortion would be risky and a better way would be if the child was adopted by someone, and that someone could be him. He wanted a baby and his wife could not conceive; besides he had decided to return to USA next year and this would be perfect. Karan agreed and he knew so would his girlfriend.

It was after this, that Ashwathama starting to put his plan in action. Everything had to perfect to the last T. He first convinced his wife for the adoption and the return back to USA, which was relatively easy. His dad was a little more tough cookie but even he came around. Then came the tough part of convincing Rani that he would be her gynaecologist. Rani was skeptical owing to their past but he told her that this was his only chance of being around the baby as once the child was born he would be gone forever; that emotional blackmail worked and Rani agreed. His next step was to convince Karan that it would be perfectly safe to have his girlfriend and his wife deliver under him. That was tough but after a few drinks and convincing Karan that his secret was safe with him, Karan agreed

And now came the actual work. First he had to ensure both the ladies had their check ups on different days to ensure they never ran into each other. Next was to ensure that both agreed to a C-Section instead of natural child birth; after all that was the only way he could control the time of birth. Both were extremely reluctant, but he told them that they had complications and this was the safest way out.He scheduled Sunanda’s date, a day before Rani’s. Luckily for him their pregnancy wasn’t too many days apart and he could schedule the births close by without running any risk to the kids.  Then he set the legal wheel in action to formally adopt Karan’s baby once the child was born and waited for the D-day.

On 17th November 1994, Karan admitted Sunanda for her delivery, who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Now came another hitch with Karan and Sunanda insisting that they wanted to see the baby. Aswathama knew that would upset his plans and so told them that owing to the fact that they were giving up the baby for adoption a clean break was best and not seeing the baby, was in best interest of all parties involved. Karan and Sunanda reluctantly agreed.

And then came the final D-day when Rani was wheeled into the hospital for her delivery. Ashwathama wanted a few moments alone with her and told Karan it was part of the routine procedure before an operation so she felt same going under the knife. When alone, he kissed Rani “Sweeatheart don’t worry. Karan will be a good dad and this is best for our child. Post the operation, you will be treated by Dr Gupta and I will move back to USA. We will never talk and our child will be testimony of our love”. Rani was in tears but knew that was the best thing for her baby.

And then came in another beautiful girl. Moment Aswathama took her in his hand, he knew that she was his, his own baby, his flesh and blood. But he had no time to waste. He had to wash and prepare her and also check into the nursery for another baby whom he had delivered just the day before. He took this child there and carefully placed his girl next to Karan’s other child and picked Sunanda’s child up and brought her out. There was Karan, his parents and Rani’s parents waiting outside. He placed the baby in their hands and said “Congratulations. Rani had a beautiful baby girl”. The switch was complete.

Few days later, Rani got discharged and Ashwath left for the US soon after.  Everything had fallen in place.

Epilogue

Karan did not have to convince his girlfriend much about giving up the baby. Sunanda was a model and a baby was a hindrance and she was more than happy to give up and move on. Karan ended up giving all his love to Radhika, maybe as a way to make up for giving up one child. He also felt bad for Rani and tried making up for all he did. In the process he never knew when he fell in love with her too.

All was going well. The operation was a success and everyone was doing well. Then one day he got a letter from Ahswathama. Ashwathama was getting old and he wanted to come clean. Karan read the letter and decided to respond.

“Dear Ashwathama,

Thanks for your letter. I know the burden of carrying a lie for ages can be painful. I have myself carried many for years. But here is the truth- that day when you took Rani in for a private conversation, I had seen you kiss her and talk. You had forgotten to shut the door. I could have broken the silence then but there was too much at stake, but I decided to check on you. So after the operation when you went into the nursery, I paid the ward boy and followed you and saw you switch the babies. When you handed over Radhika to me, I knew she was mine. The only person we have both wronged is Rani, but I think it’s best left that way. I have just come back from an operation and at this stage, I don’t want to upset her world any more. After all I was no saint myself. Stay well and give my love to your daughter. Regards Karan”

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