'Are you sure, Rhea?' asks my mother.
'Of course I'm. Survival of the fittest, mother. I'm not going against Darwin. Also I don't want unnecessary scars on my body.'
It's a known fact that we are all born to die. And frankly, I don't understand why it has to be made into such a big deal. If it were not for my mother I would have said that to the bunch of people outside my house, some of them with young kids, shouting slogans, waving placards, literally wanting me to cut one of my beating hearts out. "Save A Life. Donate!" they shout.
For someone who is one in billions, 7.125 billion to be exact, I expect to be treated better. Scientists are still befuddled regarding my condition that gave me two hearts in my mother's womb. But years of research and sticking needles into me have led them nowhere, and they have labelled me as a freak mutation. It's so rare - literally one in all humankind - that they didn't even name the anomaly (as they call it, I will call it awesomeness). I wanted to name the condition myself, something on the lines of Rhea's Heartsawesome but the doctors aren't thrilled with the suggestion. Instead they want to cut one of them out and save a life. Huh?
An IQ of 180, increased concentration, exceptional athleticism and a phenomenal metabolism rate - are just the few boring benefits of an increased blood circulation. Why would I ever give that up?
My mother has kept her gaze on me.
“Moreover, I refuse to be their Guinea Pig anymore.” Unsure of what my mother’s gaze mean, I said adherently to put forth my decision.
Thankfully at this time my cell phone rings. My phone is kept on the centre table of our sofa and the five and a half inch odd screen is quite visible to her. The caller’s identity is on the screen and it reads “Dracula”. I didn’t pick the phone.
“Who is this Dracula, darling?” She asks smiling.
“The hospital guys, who else? Every time I am there, they insert needles of different size and shape and take my blood and tissues out.” I said sarcastically.
“What is this call for?”
“They had an appointment with me today and so they must be calling for confirmation from their Guinea.”
“That’s ok, Rhea. Take the call and tell them what you have to say.” This was so assuring of her.
I know she is with me and I have her consent. The phone rings again and this time I pick it up to answer Dracula.
“I wold appreciate if you cancel this appointment.”
“All right, which next date you would like to have?”
“Well, I will call and fix up myself.”
“But Rhea, you know your doctor is not available all the time. Would you like me to give you dates when he is available, so that you could plan accordingly?”
“I am sort of busy now, I will call back myself.”
I cut the unnecessary commercial discussions short. Anyway, now that I have made my decisions and I know that my mother is with me, all this was useless. I wonder why she is always with me.
“Hm, Bye Mom! I will see you in the evening.” I pushed myself hurriedly toward the main door.
“Rhea, we need to discuss on this honey.”
“Yes Mom, we will keep on discussing this whenever you would like.” I rushed back and hugged her and again rushed towards the door. I just want to be out. I am feeling too light today. I have never felt like this before. I feel I have many more hearts pumping. I want to fly, I want to be with flowers, trees, sun everything. I am feeling bliss”.
“Beware Rhea, they are still outside.”
“Don’t worry mom! I am not going to mess with them.” I raise both my arms in assurance and with her smile I open the door.
"Save A Life. Donate!" the sound became louder and they try to encircle me.
I kept my head low and pushed myself ahead out of the crowd. I wanted to say a lot of things to them but I kept silent for the sake of my dearest darling, my Mom. I would have said “I want you to suggest me why shall I let one of my beating hearts being cut out. It is only a couple of days when I read the news that a man was slapped a bill of Twenty Five Lacks of Rupees for his heart transplant. TWENTY FIVE LACKS! It is freaking when thousands are dying for not having their basic necessities meet. The one who has donated his heart, which is now beating in this man, has given it out of compassion and your people have made a business out of it. Does he or the team that has transplanted know how many more days it is going to beat? May be a day or for another hundred years. How does that matter? Life and death both are immaterial, what is important is the deed and to do a deed; that matters to mankind, one need not keep on living in his temporal body for years. You should have been there with your placards. But no, you are here. I am not here for business of yours people. I have my business to do for which HE has sent me here. Excuse me till I am alive. Do whatever you want or take whatever you need after I am dead. Tear my body, burn it or bury it, but till I am alive let me be with what I have. It has been enough for me with scissors and needles.”
A few minutes’ walk and the shouting are gone. I can now go wherever I want. “Where shall I go? Ah, let me first have some time to think where to go. Yes, I need some time after all these years. I have been alive all these years and now I have to live. A coffee will help.”
There is a park on the opposite side of the coffee house. By my last sip, I knew I want to spend my time; at least for today, at this park with nature breathing some fresh air and enjoying my new found freedom.
I crossed the road and started spending time with lush green grass, green and red leaved trees, flowers and birds. I started imitating birds’ voices and without realising I started to sing. I am finding rhythm in everything. Some people around were laughing and some smiling at me but I couldn’t see them. I was inside me. There is nothing but music all around and I could feel the entire universe inside me.
Suddenly I realise that there is someone else with me, inside this internal Universe.
He is a lanky guy with slightly pigmented complexion. Among all he is different as he is also immersed in his own self. He is wearing a beatific smile and he is muttering something. At times he is raising his hands and with hands he opens his eyes. I could see epicanthic fold in his eyes that are making it appear small and slightly tilted. I could also mark his shoulders slightly slanting towards his front. He is sitting alone on one of the benches in the park and there is lot of space to adjust two more people. Something inside me stirred and induced me to go and occupy the same bench.
“We are sounding similar names.” I said.
“Yes, with some juggling in your letters and adding one more for me.” He smiled.
“I am impressed with your sense of humour.”
“Really, but I am not supposed to have this.”
“WHAT and why?” I was surprised to my wits by his answer.
“Because I am not like you, I am a mutation as they say.”
“The Freaking Mutation you mean to say, in which something either is increased or decreased!”
“Yes, how do you know?”
“Alas! I thought I am the only one.”
“What has gone increased or decreased in you?”
“Oh! I am an increased case. I have two hearts.”
“Oh! I too am an increased case. I have forty seven chromosomes instead of forty six.”
“WOW, Wow, wow! So we can be friends.”
He shakes my hand in the gesture of friendship. His touch mesmerised me not because it is the first time I am touching a male but because of his extremely soft hand, caring touch and honesty in his touch. I am a woman and so I am gifted with the sense of touch. We kept on chatting for long when he says
“It is getting late. We must go. It is not safe these days, especially for women and that too when you are a freaking mutation.”
“Are we meeting tomorrow?”
We decide on time and we left for our home. I am feeling elated today. I have got the newly find freedom, dealt with the resistance successfully and met a friend today. What a day! I feel like calling this day as “the day of liberation”.
Mom was sitting at the same place when I entered my home. She reads my smile on my lips and a blissful peace on my forehead and sighs.
“Good evening, Rhea. Did you have something to eat?”
Now I remember what I was forgetting the whole day. It was The Food. Mom brings me the food and we sit together on the dining table.
“So Rhea ….”
“I know mother what you want to talk about but can you give me a few days?”
Days kept on passing, Rehan and I kept on meeting on regular basis. I have found him to be loving and honest person who belongs to a well-educated and reputable family. This was the same park but another morning and we are sitting on the same bench.
“What they call your mutation, Rehan?”
“Doctors and Scientists call it Trisomy 21 and common people call it Down Syndrome.”
“And yours, what do they call?”
“They failed to name mine one so I named it myself. I call it awesomeness. Isn’t it great? Trisomy 21! Down Syndrome! How boring. Why don’t you name it something interesting, Rehan?
Suddenly there was a glow on his face and he became excited like a child “Yes, I will call it wholesomeness.”
“Wow! Now it is interesting. Awesomeness and wholesomeness! We both have something extra which no one else has.”
I see his glow waning and sadness wearing his eyes.
“I wish, I did not have this extra. I could also have been like others. The normal ones.” He continues “You know Rhea, The doctors and scientists wanted me to be killed when I was in the womb. They had their fear of my having severe heart problems, growth problems and mental retardness. But my parents held on. The school I was admitted in threw me out as they felt I needed special attention and the speciality school I was admitted in did not give any attention on me. I have seen my parents’ breaking down every now and then but they never gave up. They had their faith in me. My father took me to another country, by joining a low ranked job, just to give me what I deserved, rather needed. There I got it, my education, not the way these normal people get it but the special way.”
I sensed his confidence getting low and I intervened “And you became an accountant today. Moreover, now you have got your first acting assignment in the commercial movie and you have received in numerous awards. So, where is your metal retardness and what about your heart?”
“Right, they know intelligence and map IQ but they know nothing about multi – intelligence.”
“Can you list me some other mesmerising downsides of your mutation?”
“I have mild hypotonia and I have learning disabilities, as they call it. My heart didn’t develop any serious conditions as per their expectation.”
“So what did they say then?”
“They said, they don’t know. Everyone is different and they cannot predict anything. What they know is that we have some extra chromosomes and then they have some statistics of theirs. Every case is being added in this statistics making them even more confused. You know Rhea, we are mere Guinea Pig for them.”
“Bang on, Rehan! This is what I want you to understand. They think that this freaking mutation is happening for the first time as either they have their eyes closed or they pretend the same. Mutation is rule of change and advancement. From gargantuan they became humans as they appear today. Being insecure with our development, Huh! They fear dissimilarities. Fear of unknown. How unromantic of them! They are content of seeing similarity day in day out.”
I am seeing his confidence coming back to him and I continued.
“You want to see freedomness, oceanness, boundrylessness, liberationness and many others?” Come with me. I hold him by his hands and almost drag him. We board an auto – rickshaw and reached “The Happening”. This is one society where I am found when not with Mother and Rehan. We are nurturing and nourishing our kinds of people who all call mutation without extracting them economically.
“You know Rehan, 1 out of 66 births in the world today is Autism, 1 out of every 700 births in USA only is Trisomy 21 and that too after senseless abortions, then there is cerebral palsy, Monogenic,
Utpal Kant Mishra
Disclaimer: This write has been written on a prompt given by another Author. First few lines till "Why would I ever give it up?" is the prompt. Further, this write is a work of pure fiction.