Joined: 01 April 2012
Joined: 01 April 2012
For Raman to put it so bluntly meant he and his mil had exchanged harsh if not painfully bitter words. But he was a realist and had decided the only thing to do was meet this situation head on. He expected ishita to handle it becoz of their long standing friendship over the years.
"so u did not say anything miss iyer?" poornima said.
At the queen's strict voice ishita struggled to catch her breath and remain calm. No wonder she had felt tension when he had brought up this morning's meeting. Shagun's omission when it came to her mother had put a pall over an event that was helping Raman to get up in the morning.
He was counting on ishita being able to deal with his mil. She refused to let him down even if it killed her. More time passed while she formulated what to say before focusing on the queen.
"ur majesty...if I had a daughter who came to me in the same situation I wud ask her the exactly same question. In my case, I have done it for one reason only. Perhaps u did not know that the prince rescued me from certain death when I was 17. I lost my mother in that same accident. Before I was swept to shore by the wind, I had lost consciousness. When prince found me I was close 2 death but did not know it. "
Saying all this her eyes glazed wid unshed tears as she continued-" if u cud have heard the way my father wept after he discovered I had been found and brought back to the living, u wud realize what a miracle had happened that day, all becoz of prince's quick thinking and intervention. From that time on my dad and I have felt the deepest gratitude to the prince. Over the years I have pondered many times how to pay the prince back for preventing what cud have been an all out catastrophe for my dad."
The lines on the queen's face deepened, revealing her sorrow. Whether she was too immersed in her own grief to hear what ishita was saying , ishita did not really know but she continued saying-" prince and princess were the perfect couple so when I heard abt princess's 3rd miscarriage I was wounded 4 their sake. They deserve all d happiness in the world. Mujhe apne appa se pata chala what dr ria had suggested and how they cud achieve the dream of having their own family."
Ishita fought to prevent the tears from falling as she said-" after years of asking for a chance to pay the prince back...I realized that if only I cud qualify for this role...if I cud carry their child for them..it wud be my fulfillment. U will never understand the joy I felt at the thought of doing something this special for them. When I told appa abt it he was surprised at first but then he allowed me as he understood it was for the prince and princess ...otherwise he wud never have allowed me this...so that's the reason I am doing this. A life 4 a life. What I am going 2 get out of this is just happiness to see the baby the prince and princess fought so hard for. When this child wud be kept in prince's arms..shagun wud live through the baby and baby wud be a part of king abhinav and his wife and also a part of u and ur husband, ur majesty." Ishita stopped explaining her view.
The queen's hands trembled on the arms of the chair. She said-" tumhe andaza bhi hai kaisi hoti hai maa banana ki feeling..? kitne saal ki ho tum?" she asked ishita.
"I am 28 and its true that I have never married or had a child but I won't be its mother in the way u mean. I am only supplying a safe haven for the baby till its born. Yes I will go through aches and pains of pregnancy but I see it as a scared act." Ishita clarified.
Queen's features hardened and she said-" u call THIS sacred??"
Ishita boldly said-" I do. During my screening process, I met a dozen different parents and their surrogates who had gone through the experience and now have beautiful children themselves. They were all overjoyed and agreed that it's a special partnership between them and god."
For the first time queen looked away from ishita.
Ishita also explained-" the prince is a full partner in this. He and the princess discussed it many times. He knows what she wanted and I will cooperate in every way. If u have suggestions, I will welcome them wid all my heart."
Quiet reined the room.
Realizing there was nothing more to say, ishita glanced at Raman waiting for him to dismiss her. Raman read her mind wid ease. He said-" I assume ishita that limo is waiting 2 drive u to ur office right?"
"yes ur highness." Ishita said.
At those words shagun's mom lifted her head and said-"u intend to work?" she asked shocked.
" I do. I am passionate abt my career as an attorney. After my delivery I will have my own life to lead and need to continue planning for it." ishita said.
Raman leaned forward and said-" she will stop work when the time is right."
"where will u live after the baby is born?" her blunt question made it clear to ishita where the queen's thoughts were heading to.
Nowhere near the prince, she thought.
She could not blame the older woman for that. How cud shagun's mother not suspect the worst? her fears preyed on ishita's guilt, which was deepening because she had found herself missing Raman more than she shld have while he had been away. He shld nt have been on her mind so much, but she cud nt seem to turn off her thoughts. Not when the baby growing inside her was a constant reminder of him.
For weeks now she had played games of what if? During the night when she cud nt sleep. What if the baby were hers and Raman's? what wud he or she look like? Where wud they create a nursery in the palace? When wud they go shopping for a crib and all the things necessary? She wanted to make a special baby quilt and start a scrapbook.
But then she wud break out in cold sweat of guilt and sit up in bed , berating herself for having any of these thoughts. Shagun's death might have changed everything but this royal baby still was not ishita's.
How cud she even entertain such thoughts when shagun had trusted her so implicitly? It was such a betrayal of the trust and regard the 2 women had for each other. They had made a contract as binding as a blood oath. The second the baby was born, her job as a surrogate wud no longer be required and she wud return to her old life.
But ishita was aghast to discover that shagun's death had thrown her into an abyss of fresh guilt. She needed to talk to the psychologist abt finding strategies to cope with this new situation or go crazy.
Queen poornima had asked her a question and was waiting 4 an answer.
"I plan to buy my own home in another part of the city in same building as a friend of mine. Mere contract ke according Mujhe palace mein rehna hai till baby's delivery but the moment that happens , its over. "ishita said boldly.
Raman's eyes narrowed on her face as he asked-"kaunsa friend ishita?"
That was probably the only thing abt her plans the 3 of them had not discussed over the last few months. She now explained-" tumne Mujhe mihika verma ke bare mein baat karte toh suna hai na? she is my friend and works at same firm wid me. Ham law school saath gaye the before taking up practice." She completed.
If a woman cud look gutted , the queen did at this point as she said-" this whole situation is unnatural."
"not unnatural ur majesty..just...just different. Ur daughter wanted a baby badly enough to think it all through and agree to it. I hope jald hi aap bhi sab samajh jaayengi" ishita assured.
"who din kabhi nahi aayega" the queen said in a verdict giving tone. "I was thrilled each time she told me she was pregnant and I suffered wid her at every miscarriage but I will never see this surrogacy as ethically acceptable." The queen declared.
"but it's a gestational surrogacy" ishita argued slowly. Dr ria says that 1000s of women around the globe are such surrogates and its coming preferable to going wid traditional surrogacy becoz it ensures the genetic link to both parents. How many lives are changed by this process. Surely u can see what a miracle it is?" ishita tried to explain.
"toh kya it is ultimately an outside tradition. It interferes wid a natural process in violation of god's will."queen said.
"then how do u explain this world that god created all the new technology that helps people like ur daughter and Raman realize their dream to have a family?" ishita asked a bit bluntly.
"it does not need an explanation. It's a form of adultery...becoz u are a 3rd party outside their marriage. Some people regard that it cud result in incest of a sort." Queen said spitting all her venom.
Tortured by her words, ishita exchanged an agonized look wid Raman. "what do u mean?" she asked,
"as the priest reminded me their child might one day marry another of ur children. While there wud be no genetic relation, the 2 children wud be siblings , after a fashion." Queen said.
Naturally ishita hoped to marry one day and have children of her own, but never in a million years wud she have jumped to such and improbable conclusion. By now Raman's features had turned to granite.
"there's also the question of whether or not u will be entitled to an inheritance and are actually out for one." Queen continued without any mercy.
Ishita was stunned. "when the prince saved my life he gave me an inheritance more precious than anything earthly. If any money is involved, it's the 1 hundred 50, 000 dollars or more the prince has paid the doctors and the hospital for this procedure to be done," ishita said , she cud feel herself getting worked up but she cud nt stop.
"I have been given all the compensation I cud wish for by being allowed to live here in the palace, where my every want and need is taken care of. I am so sorry this situation has caused u so much grief. I can see u 2 need to discuss this further alone. I must leave for the office." She said getting up.
Ishita eyed the prince, silently asking him to please help her to go before the queen grew more upset. He immediately got the message and stood to his full imposing height signaling she cud leave.
"thank u for joining us ishita" he murmured. "whatever mummyji has said , its too late 2 talk abt it as u are pregnant wid my and shagun's child. Lets say no more. I assure u that jab inke haath mein inka grandchild aayega she wud be fine."
At this queen flashed him a look of disdain that wounded ishita. She cud not walk out of here wid everything so ugly and not say a few last words.
"its been my privilege meeting u , ur majesty. Shagun used to talk abt u all the time. she loved u very much and was looking forward to u helping her through in these cmng months. I hope u knw that. If u ever want to talk to me again, plz call me. I dnt have a mother anymore and wud like to hear advice u have to help me get through this." Ishita said wid respect.
It was getting harder and harder to clap wid one hand and prince knew it.
"again let me say how sorry I am abt ur loss. She was so lovely and accomplished. I have 2 of her paintings in my apartment. Sab unhe bohot miss karenge especially this baby." She continued.
"but thankfully baby will have its nani to tell him or her all the things only u knw abt their mother." Ishita completed.
The queen stared at ishita through dim eyes.
Ishita cud feel her pain. "good bye 4 now" she said and curtsied once more. Her gaze clung to Raman's for a few seconds before she turned on her low heeled sandals and left the room. The limo wud be waiting 4 her. Though she wanted 2 run, she forced herself to stay in control so she wud nt fall and do something to hurt herself.
The queen had put ishita on a trial. Raman's wife had been frightened to tell her mom abt such unconventional idea. Only now was ishita beginning to understand how desperate and courageous shagun had been to consider allowing a 3rd party to enter into the most intimate aspect of all their lives. Facing the queen had to be one of the worst moments ishita had ever known.
But this had to be an even more nightmarish experience for Raman. Here he was trying to deal with his wife's death while at the same time having to defend the decision he and shagun had made to use a surrogate. He had to be suffering guilt of his own.
Ishita blamed no one for this, but she felt Raman's pain. How he was going to get through this latest crisis she cud nt imagine. Probably by working? That was how she planned to survive for now.
precap- survival through work??
hows it? waiting.
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