As I spoke, I became aware of how futile my search was. It was almost like looking for needle in the haystack. The lady in the bus, Mrs. Gurung, stayed in the vicinity of where my birth parents had stayed thirty years ago but she had moved recently and didn’t know anyone who had stayed there for a period of more than five years. Still, she promised to ask around and call me, if she found anything.
I was tempted to ask her the background of the area she stayed in. I didn’t even know my birth parents’ financial background. I had been hoping that they weren’t very well off, at least that gave them a reason to have given me up. Looking at Mrs. Gurung, I could tell that she wasn’t particularly well off, but that she came from a family that had just about enough.
Why then, had I been given up? Was I unwanted? Unplanned? What! The questions were driving me crazy.
Mrs. Gurung had been particularly against my trying to find my parents. She was of the opinion, that it would be difficult for any parent to give up a child and if some parent had done that willingly, then maybe, I should respect their decision, and not make them remember their difficult decision.
I had been aghast! I needed an explanation. An explanation as to why my own parents hadn’t felt the need to watch me grow up, to make me a part of their life. Or that even though they had given me up, did they never feel the need to know how I was? What kind of person I had grown up to be?
One more question that bothered me was why they had come all the way to the Orphanage in Bangalore to put me in. Why hadn’t they just left me somewhere closer? I guessed the Matron at the Orphanage knew more and if I had had more time with her, maybe I would have been able to weasel all the information out of her. Either she wanted me to find out on my own or she didn’t want the news to come out at all.
My adoptive parents; I couldn’t get myself to call them mum and dad anymore, It felt alien on my tongue, they called me every hour to tell me that they loved me and had always considered me to be a part of their family. Somewhere deep down, I knew it was true. After meeting the other children at the Orphanage yesterday, I felt lucky to have been adopted by such wonderful people who had opened up their hearts and homes for me. But from now on, I would always be their adoptive daughter. I had started feeling like an outsider with my own family, our conversations formal and constrained.
Most part of it was because of me. I had closed all doors of communication. I didn’t want to know that I was a part of their family. I wanted to know why they hadn’t considered it important to tell me beforehand.
The more I thought about it, I realized that it should have been clear to me years ago. I didn’t look like anyone in the family. I didn’t even have any characteristic personality traits of my adoptive parents. My parents had been brilliant academically, so was my sister, I always struggled through my studies. Arts and music was my forte and my family was tone deaf.
“We’re here!” Mrs. Gurung shook me a little. With a start, I woke up and wondered when I had dozed off. As we got off the bus and said our goodbyes, Mrs. Gurung leaned in and gave me a quick hug.
“May you find what you are looking for Ira. Keep in touch okay?”
As she walked away, I was left to face the cold city all by myself.