I’m home alone. Fatima, my 15 month old daughter, is asleep.
I decide to take a bath. It isn’t often I get to have this sort of time to myself. Since the baby was born most of my waking hours are spent rushing around taking care of her.
I tiptoe into the bathroom. I sigh. The privacy is almost too good to be true. My baby agrees, because a few minutes later I hear crying.
I call from the bathroom, “Wait, I’m coming.”
She finds the bathroom door. I hear her tiny fists knock. Every sound I hear is filled with the disbelief of a child who thinks mommy’s only purpose is to serve her. “Mommy’s in the bathroom? By herself? We must put an end to this!” is what she’s thinking.
Knock, knock, knock.
As she starts knocking on the bathroom door, I roll my eyes. I keep talking to her as I prepare to come out.
What happens then? I’m not entirely sure. Somehow, as she fidgets with the door handle, she locks me inside.
I try the handle. It’s stuck.
“Hey,” I call out. But I realise I’m the only adult in the house.
I try talking to her to open the kundi but obviously she doesn’t know how.
She keeps crying. My heart’s in my mouth.
“Calm down,” I tell myself. But somehow that barrier of a few inches between me and my child seems like miles and miles.
I try battering the door down. Her cries have become shrill wails, and every maternal instinct I have is going bonkers. I can’t open the door.
Then she starts screaming. I go nuts on the door. I bang it and hit it
“Fatima?” I call out. Why has she gone quiet?
I manage to break something in the door, but only from the inside. The latch on the outside is still firmly locked. I can’t get through.
I have never felt so weak and helpless in my life. I sit there… wet, bruised, and in tears. Praying for a miracle. Wishing my husband would return home.
I blame myself for not having my phone with me, but even if I did, the signals had been blocked that day.
I’m a horrible mom, I think to myself. I have a flashback to this morning when I’d scolded her for spilling all the masala jars in the kitchen.
What was I thinking when I locked the door? Time and again almost everyone had warned me to never lock doors when alone with a toddler.
I ask the Lord to please forgive me. God forbid if something happens to her, I would never be able to forgive myself.
Through sheer helplessness, I pick up a pair of scissors. I start poking little holes in the last sheet. I’m scared she might be standing right next to the door. She might get hurt.
Finally I surprise myself. I break the door just enough to get my hand outside and open the lock.
I stumble into the room. I can hardly believe what’s happened. The door is in pieces.
I find my baby sitting scared in a corner, holding her blanket tight in her arms. She runs into my arms – over the moon with happiness to see me.
I realise I’m crying. I can’t stop the tears…they roll down my face.
I realise something. God forbid if I ever have to save my daughter, I can put up a good fight! Beware, world. Nothing can stand between me and my daughter.
I amuse myself with a thought – that hour in the bathroom, drenched in sweat and blood, was no less than Qayamat for me. When one will be alone and helpless, no relatives to help, neither would one be able to help one’s loved ones, hoping only for the miracle of Allah’s mercy. “Kia khoob hoga qayamat ka din koi or.”
Needless to say…I’m not locking any more doors between me and my baby ever again.
This story is submitted by Rahma Mutahir