Prerna, sweating profusely, hurried along the cobbled pavement. ‘Click click’ went her stylish Jimmy Choo shoes.

“I’m late. Mr Murthy will have my head,” thought she.

Thirty-year-old Prerna Sahu had always been a go-getter. A bright child in school, she chose the Commerce stream and smoothly progressed to the finance industry. She was the apple of her parents’ eyes. She married her high school sweetheart, Ajit.  He was also in the finance industry, though affiliated with a different leading Government bank. Work life was hectic, but Prerna was about to be promoted to the position of Manager. She didn’t mind the workload.

Prerna reached the bank just in time for the meeting. The conference room was full, and the smell of coffee made her feel nauseous. “Good Morning, Ms. Sahu. So glad of you to join us. Ms. Sahu, we have already discussed earlier, the job profile, and requirements of the new post,” Mr Murthy declared. “Assessing your particular situation, the Board members have decided to grant the Managerial position to Mr. Alok Mehta.”

Prerna was dumbfounded. She managed to hold back tears and questioned, “Does the Board have a problem with me being pregnant? It is 2019. Surely women have come a long way since the 70’s. I was forced to declare I was pregnant and now here I am, losing my position due to a natural process of life.”

Prerna stormed out of the meeting. Tears streaming down her flushed cheeks, she immediately dialled Ajit.  “Aju, I begged you the time wasn’t right for a baby. I want an abortion. I have lost the Managerial position.” Ajit asked her to calm down.

Prerna entered her flat, exhausted. She had misplaced the calling card of the doctor at the abortion clinic. She searched deep in the drawers and brought out a picture. Startled, she began reminiscing. It was the picture of a little girl, donned in a sundress and hat playing in the garden.  Prerna gasped. This was a picture of  Asma, her younger sister who passed away at age 9, due to Leukemia. Prerna and her family were devastated. After the initial mourning period, they forced themselves to move on. ‘I have found the picture for a reason,’ thought Prerna. ‘What if it’s an Omen. My soul mate could be back with me, in the form of  this child.’ She suddenly knew what she had to do.


Seven months later, Prerna and Ajit were blessed with a healthy baby girl. They named her Asma.

Prerna smiled, peacefully. She had created a furore at her bank and threatened to go to court, citing discrimination.  The Board relented and gave Prerna her Manager’s post, additionally providing her 6 months maternity leave. Mr. Alok agreed to fill in.

Prerna eagerly accepted the post. Her own mother volunteered to look after the baby when Prerna resumed work.

Prerna and Ajit kissed their newborn. Asma was back with her.


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Natasha Sequeira
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