Hiroshima: A story by Lalita Vaitheeswaran

Dr. Davis Alfred could not sleep that night. He had scanned two patients with similar defects in their babies in-utero. The head of the baby was smaller than normal and both the limbs had a deformity. He was waiting for dawn so that he could talk to his colleague Dr. Sairo Yakamto who was a renowned oncologist in the whole of Hiroshima, the island city of Honshu.

“How can this be true?” Dr. Sairo was almost muttering to himself.

Dr. Davis showed him the scans while both had a cup of black coffee and sandwiches as they discussed the medical reports.

“Mutations!” exclaimed Dr.Sairo as he came to a conclusion. It had been almost been 75 years after the horrendous incident!

“Two generations survived and this is the third!” he said as he sat with his palm on his head as in deep thinking.

No! not again! Shouted Dr. Davis teary-eyed, in dismay as he reminisced.


Angela, his wife was expecting her second child. She was into her eighth week when all hell had broken loose. Every scan that Dr. Davis did had only reconfirmed his findings of a mentally disabled child being born as they watched helplessly the turn of events.

Abortion de jure is illegal in Japan and so there was no chance of taking out the fetus! Both of them were terribly shaken.

Every moment, every day, and every month was turning into a traumatic emotionally tumultuous roller coaster ride. Little Agatha would amble into the room talking gibberish and asking why her parents were crying even when her little brother was to arrive.

She was just five and was not able to decipher the meaning of the holocaust that had struck.
Little Jamy was born after a difficult cesarean section. He had a small head and all the sense organs seemed to be tucked in an odd fashion on his face. He looked abnormally frightening.

As days turned into years, Jamie was predictably slow on his milestones. He was diagnosed with a mixture of cerebral palsy and autism and was not able to grasp anything said or done. The doctors had pronounced after-effects of radiation as the sole factor and there was nothing more to be done than helplessly watching Jamy moving towards deterioration each day.


The department of genetics was buzzing with activity today. Ten years of hard work had brought in results. Genome sequencing could show the new translocations on genes which now could be carefully and cleverly deleted by newer techniques.

Dr. Anthony, as he held the mic, was giving all credits to Dr. David who was emotional and was heard saying emphatically “Never again”.

He stood smiling with a red Oleander that symbolized a new zealous and fertile Hiroshima that never loses hope.