It was a reunion at which every kind of emotion — happiness, love and pride, along with anger and anxiety — were on display.
Rashmita Mallick kissed her four-and-a-half-month-old daughter Atmaja for the first time after giving birth to her 134 days ago.
Accepting the baby at the SCB Medical College and Hospital here on Saturday, amid media glare and in the presence of some dignitaries, Rashmita appeared joyous, clasping the baby to her chest.
Rashmita arrived at the hospital in the morning with her mother-in-law to receive the baby because her husband Sukanta was away in Dubai.
“My husband has spoken to me after the High Court verdict came yesterday [Friday] and he has also expressed his willingness to accept the baby,” Rashmita said.
“I am now sure that this baby is mine and I am extremely happy accepting her,” she said in a choked voice, and thanked the hospital staff for taking care of her daughter all these days.
She had refused to accept the baby girl she had delivered on March 30, and had left the hospital making strong allegations that hers was a baby boy and that he was swapped.
But following the intervention of the Orissa High Court and a subsequent DNA test, the matter was settled on Friday. The High Court directed Rashmita to accept the baby girl as the test suggested that she wasn’t the mother of the baby boy she had claimed to be hers.
However, as it couldn’t be established decisively from the DNA test that Rashmita was the biological mother of Atmaja, her mother-in-law Lata Mallick — who had claimed to have seen Rashmita give birth to a baby boy in the labour room — didn’t seem happy. Her anger was palpable when she compared accepting Atmaja into the family with adoption.
Earlier, the hospital authorities completed all the formalities for handing over the babies. “We need to submit all the requisite documents before the High Court as the matter was sub judice,” said administrative officer B. N. Moharana.
An emotional farewell
In the hospital’s gynaecology department, the nurses and doctors were in tears as they bid goodbye to the little girl, who had become the darling of the staff.
“All these days, it was a routine for us to visit Atmaja first as we stepped in for duty here. She was our inspiration, not only in our professional life but in our personal life too,” said a doctor.