An exclusive excerpt from The Reluctant Mother- A Story No One Wants To Tell by Zehra Naqvi (Hay House Publishers India, 2021)
January 15, 2015
Another new year.
Two Januaries have passed since I moved to Aligarh, both of them cold, grey, and dull, in more ways than one. But this time, there is the hint of sunlight breaking through, a hint of warmth welcoming you out into the open. This time I have something to look forward to, something that had been all but forgotten amid the more pressing matter of sailing through the tempestuous waters of fate: the Jaipur Literature Festival, the extravaganza of literary delights which I had been forced to abandon three years ago on account of my problematic pregnancy. That time, three years ago, when I had been on a roll before the power cord of my carnival ride was yanked off abruptly, sending me flying across the field and crashing into the ground.
Three years later, it is that time of the year again, when bibliophiles flock to the Pink City for their annual feast.
I can’t really say what reminded me of it—a newspaper advertisement? An e-mail notification? But the fact that I am able to focus on aspects other than my gnawing, pressing need for love, means only one thing—I feel whole again. Despite things not entirely being back on track, despite us still being in Aligarh and still looking for ways to get back on our feet and back to the Capital—despite all of it, there is that feeling of wellness, where you skim your fingers over your soul and it feels cool, polished, smooth—healed; unlike the cracks and shards that jabbed the skin each time and made you bleed.