She remembered how her husband had mocked her because her precious plant that she had tended so lovingly, had died just after it bore fruits. "It needs the sun's rays and water. You have to select the place where it is to be planted carefully", he had told her before uprooting it that evening. "He threw it away as though it was a weed", she thought angrily. She had to hide her tears as she didn't want to be a laughing stock. No one understood her feelings. She couldn't explain the joy she had experienced when she saw a small plant bearing fruits, in her uncle's garden. When she had asked him for its seed, her uncle, maybe out of politeness, had not mentioned about the essential things required to grow a plant.
The baby kicked once again. "But the seed could still be there inside the fruits of the dead plant and it may grow", she thought suddenly excited. And if she were to plant it, this was the right time. All of a sudden, she was full of energy. "I will sow the seed and the plant will grow and bear fruits", she said to herself.
It seemed like an eternity when she finally walked out of her house, careful to not wake others. The plant was lying at the place where her husband had thrown it that evening. She plucked the fruit and placed it a little farther from where the plant had been earlier and covered it with soil. She was about to go inside when the moon shone on the roots of the plant.
"Roots. That's how women should be", her grandmother had told her when she was a child. "Unseen, unnoticed but still support the family, said her grandmother. "And never appreciated", her mother had retorted softly.
She stared at the roots. "Beauty lies in the purpose for which it was created", she thought. She gently touched them. It was very true. She had grown the plant only for its flowers and fruits, and not for the roots. And yet what was a plant without the roots? But again, what is the value of the root if the plant doesn't give fruits, flowers or leaves, which can be of use to mankind? She knew that some roots could be eaten, but she still felt depressed. "If it is of no use, it will be considered a weed and uprooted," she thought. She shook her head. She must go in. Yet in the moonlight the roots looked enchantingly beautiful. "What about the forest? No one has planted the trees and plants there carefully! Yet they grow", she mumbled under her breath. "Yes, I will ask my husband this question", she thought. But deep inside, she knew he was right. The plant had died because it didn't get sufficient sunlight, water, soil and perhaps those fertilizers. "Maybe many plants die in the forest too this way. And as it is vast, no one notices or cares for it." She nodded. Not just in life, but even in death, the place of your birth is important.
She got up. She looked at the moon. "I shall see you with my baby, when you shine as a full moon", she said softly, and went inside.
A week later the full moon shone on her house. It shone on the small newborn baby that was crying for its mother. The mother who was not there. One among every thirteen women in developing countries die during pregnancy or childbirth due to complications. And she was one of those unlucky ones. If she had been in a developed country, she would have been one in four thousand and one hundred!
We don't even know her name because it's a jungle out there. So, she will remain just a number in the UNICEF statistics Every Day, Every Minute a woman dies while giving birth.
Does it take a minute to read this? And has yet another woman died somewhere - unknown, unseen and unheard?
The seed she had planted may develop roots, but what are its chances of survival?
This is my first writing. I had just read the UNICEF statistic, was outraged, and was sulking when my spouse said, if I wrote about this cause to a local newspaper, I wouldn't win a pen it offered.
The next day I came across, the Sify Short Story Competition. The Theme : Roots. In anger within few minutes actually, wrote the story and sent it.
It won. And got the editor's attention and I started writing a series of Short Stories with Legal Angle. (Paid)
I hadn't written because I wanted to win. I genuinely believed, the world would change, if people knew this happened. I have come a long way in 7 years. I don't believe things would change so easily but I refuse to believe nothing can improve.
Republishing it, since its probably in the internet dust of the copyright owner.