Click here to Download An Unexpected Gift PDF Book by Ajay K. Pandey Language English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 171.
It was a special day. The last birthday of my love. My bald and beautiful wife lay in bed. Our little baby snuggled against her. I had looked in on her thrice that morning. She seemed peaceful, and free of pain. I managed the chaos in the refrigerator while Mohan mopped the house. As usual, I had to guide him to the corners that needed extra attention. My supervision pushed him to work in an orderly manner.
An Unexpected Gift PDF Book by Ajay K. Pandey
|Name of Book||An Unexpected Gift|
|PDF Size||1 MB|
|No of Pages||171|
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His work was always slipshod; sweet talk was his real talent. He took forty-five minutes to finish cleaning the house that day. If I had not been standing there, keeping an eye on him, he would have wrapped things up in ten minutes. By nine o’clock, things began to look settled. There was no hurry in any case; it was a holiday. I made a cup of tea and sipped it silently, gazing at the person I treasured most in my life.
Counting the months we still had together. I wanted to wake her up, but she looked so content in her sleep that I decided against it. Instead, I checked my phone which had been vibrating silently with endless notifications. Facebook and Instagram were flooded with emotional outpourings from friends and family. Everyone wanted to make sure they did not miss out on wishing her on her last birthday.
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Several people had written long, sentimental pieces, reminiscing about the times they had met. Many had shared their pictures with Kanika; some even asked for a birthday treat. In this age of urbanisation and virtual connections, it is possible to have hundreds of friends on social media but not a single heartfelt relationship in reality. I am not complaining about the warm wishes Kanika was receiving. After all, we have accepted this new culture, and are part of it.
Besides, of late, Kanika had anyway been refusing to take calls and declining all social invitations. By the time I finished my morning tea and read the newspaper, it was already eleven o’clock. I went over to Kanika and kissed her on the forehead. She opened her eyes but continued to lie motionless on the bed. She looked tired, lethargic and weak—everything a cancerous brain tumour could make her look.
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She read the question in my eyes and said, ‘I am fine.’ I smiled, ‘Happy birthday, dear.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘Your Facebook and Instagram are flooded with birthday wishes.’ Kanika was not the most humble, kind-hearted or down-to-earth person, but now she seemed not to have any enemies. We always talk good about someone when they are born or die; during the journey, we only hate. Kanika and I had met at a college function.
I was the lead actor in a play and she was the anchor for the event. I remember the day vividly. When I had mimicked Shah Rukh Khan on stage, she was cheering me on joyfully from the wings. I let go of my theatre aspirations not long before I got married, realising it was an impractical dream for a family man. Sacrificing the dream had cost me many a sleepless night, but in the end, the need to earn a decent living prevailed, and I joined a software company.
Kanika and I were married after five years of courtship, when I had spent three years in my current job. We were happy together, but soon she began to complain of a constant pain in her forehead. At first, we thought it was migraines, but it worsened, and the ache spread to other parts of her head. She was already in the fourth month of her pregnancy when we found out that the cancer in her brain had reached the third stage. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book
We tried brain surgery twice, without success. After the second operation, the doctors gave her only a few months to live. I had watched the sudden change in our lives with dismay. By the time Kanika’s condition was diagnosed, it was already too late. It had all happened so fast! Kanika and I were the most famous couple in college. We loved each other immensely, and were together all the time.
Anyone could find us in the canteen or in the auditorium at any time of the day, talking, studying, laughing and fighting. While I was in college, my father got transferred to Lucknow. This gave me the much-needed freedom to spend time with her. Kanika and I had discussed my dream of becoming an actor at length. When we successfully completed our BCA, she suggested that I join the drama course that was being offered at Sapna Theatre.
She knew well that my father would never support me in pursuing this crazy dream. However, through thick and thin, Kanika stood by me. She even funded the theatre course. There is no shame in mentioning that, back then, I enjoyed having a rich girlfriend who loved me so much. The best thing about Sapna Theatre was that they had evening classes. I could attend them while pursuing my MCA course. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book
Once I finished the drama course, I believed, I would have a concrete foothold in the world of my dreams. That’s what the word ‘sapna’ means—dreams. In the case of Sapna Theatre, the name had a darker meaning. It was a place which had also broken many dreams. I met people there who had been pursuing acting and performing plays for decades, but they were still struggling to find their feet in the world of theatre.
Sapna was my first encounter with reality. But Kanika always believed it would do me good. I never knew why. I guess, she was too blind in her love for me. After two years of acting and directing plays, I made a friend, Pavan Raghav. He was my senior at Sapna. He had joined the theatre to become a hero, but he looked more like a villain. He had even played the role of the villain in films like Purana Mandir and Bandh Darwaza, directed by the Ramsay Brothers.
He shared the dirty details of the film and television industry in India, warning me that people often played nasty tricks to survive in that world. They grabbed opportunities by denying them to others and often took credit for their work. His scary accounts bewildered me. I had thought he was a man devoid of emotions. When he found out that I was a transgender woman, he banished me from his house … from work. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book Download
I was utterly dejected, but he called me back. My respect for him had increased manifold when he told me that he had felt cheated by my hiding the truth from him. He had not rejected me because I was not born a female. Initially, when he told me that he was going to put cameras in the house, I wanted to stop him because it seemed like an unnecessary expenditure. But then I understood that his greatest concern was Ayush.
Things resumed as before. I was with my Ayush again. In a short while, I had grown very attached to that little bundle of joy. All was well at work. Except for Mohan. I had known Mohan long before I went to work at that house. He lived somewhere close to my house. He had always wished me ill. It gave me an unpleasant feeling, the way he used to stare at me. He had seen me a couple of times with Subhajit.
I knew he wanted to strike up a conversation, but I wasn’t willing to invite more trouble into my life. I always avoided him. In the last few months, I could see fury in his eyes, and gauge his unwillingness to work with me under the same roof. He got really upset when Ayush made a mess while playing with me. He couldn’t ask me to clean up as Abhay sir was around, but kept mumbling under his breath the entire time. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book Download
He hated making extra food for me, and whenever he could, he would keep aside the previous day’s curries or dal for me. I had been caring for Ayush for over seven months, when I realised that Abhay sir, too, needed someone. He always came home from office tired and dull-faced, to a million sad memories. It seemed that he was physically present, but dead inside. In the house, there were many pictures of him in various attires.
They reflected how alive he used to be as a person and how happily he had lived every moment. I would try my best to make small gestures to care for him, like offering to make him some coffee, but he would maintain a certain distance between us. His days and nights were spent working on the laptop or sitting on the balcony. I wanted to ask him to stop smoking cigarettes, but felt I did not have the authority to do so.
I wished I could be a friend to him, shout at him, or suggest that he pull himself together, but he was my employer and I was his employee. One day, Abhay came home from work, sadder and more stressed than usual. He went for an evening walk, which was quite unusual. He returned late, with red eyes and clothes reeking of cigarette fumes. I understood that he was terribly upset and there was something on his mind. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book Free
I was in tears when he asked me, that same night, to allow Ayush to call me mother. It was such a moving moment, such a precious feeling. Yes, a transgender woman could also be a mother. I had never thought I would be lucky enough to have such an experience in my life. My ears had yearned to hear this for so long. Yes, I had always wanted to be called ‘mother’.
A friend, a motivator and my soulmate. I could use these words to define my relationship with Subhajit. We had met in college. He has been the only ray of hope in my life since then. In the beginning, I didn’t know him too well as a person, but he was always with me. When the entire world was jeering at me, and even my loved ones were abusing me, he was the silver lining in the dark cloud that surrounded me.
When my Mami-ji was frustrated with me and cut me off, due to the discord my presence had created in her household, Subhajit not only gave me emotional support but also helped me financially, even though he was not very well off himself. After completing his graduation in Lucknow, he shifted to Noida to pursue his master’s in computer science. I could move to Noida, and get far away from those probing, ridiculing eyes, only because he had come forward to help me. An Unexpected Gift PDF Book Free
One of his friends helped me find a job, but then my identity was discovered, and the same old story began to repeat itself. It was like a curse. Whenever I was thrown out of a job, Subhajit helped me make ends meet. He took care of me. I had never met such a sensitive and caring person. Initially, I tried to convince him that we were not suited to each other. We were poles apart in social status. I am not even a complete woman, physically.
I felt he would only waste his life with me. But every time I said these things, he shut me up with just one line: ‘I don’t care about others.’ I can confidently say that my relationship with Subhajit is love in its purest form. What would be the future of this relationship? I am not so dreamy as to believe in fairy-tale happy endings. I know well that I won’t be able to satisfy him sexually, but he is not that kind of a man.
After he declared his love for me, he often stayed with me. I had told my landlord that I would be staying alone, but he was living with me most of the time. Needless to say, the neighbours had their eyes and ears glued to my house. We were both delighted with the work atmosphere at Abhay sir’s house. He was not an authoritarian employer. He always treated me with respect and courtesy, even allowing me to cook dishes of my choice, though I was a mere employee in his house.