Monday, April 11, 2011

That Afternoon of April

She took a look at the prescription. The stark white walls and corridors of the hospital smelt of disinfectant. Her heart skipped a beat. She felt dizzy, suffocated. Searching around desperately, she looked for a seat. There it was, a white seat against a white wall on a white floor. Slowly she made her way to it. Sitting down, she read the prescription once again. The doctor had said that there was nothing else he could do. These drugs would only relieve the pain. But the damage that had been done could not be repaired. She felt vulnerable, helpless.

"How are you doing?" A voice spoke from beside her. She looked up. There he was, oh thank God. She had missed him so much, needed him so much. But no words came out of her mouth. She just looked at him with a strange expression. And as the tears came to her eyes, she quickly looked down. She couldn't let him see her crying.

He came and silently sat down beside her. "Have you eaten? You look tired." Again she looked at him strangely. Why was he doing this? He never cared about her.

"No. I have not eaten for two days." She answered quietly.

"You will fall sick." He said gently.

"I don't care."

"Hmm... I brought some coffee and snacks." And saying this, he took out two closed paper cups of coffee and some doughnuts from a packet.

"I don't...I'm not in the mood. Thanks anyway." She looked away.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, absolutely. Thanks for taking so much trouble." She added formally.

"Hmm.... Now look, either you have this or I am going to scream 'Rape!' ".

"Excuse me, what?"

"I will cry that you tried to take advantage of my innocence, that too in a hospital. Imagine that, huh."

His face looked so serious she burst out laughing.

"There that looks better." He smiled. And handed her the doughnuts and coffee.

"I'm taking the coffee, but I really can't have the doughnuts. I feel nauseous."

"No problemo. I even got some non fried chips, if you would like." And grinning at his own joke, he took out a packet of fried chips.

"Non fried chips, indeed huh? Your sense of humor did not improve through all these days..." She smiled again. "Okay, I will take some, but I can't have more.."

They started eating. Nobody spoke a word.

As she opened the coffee and began to take a sip, the hot brew burnt her lips. She winced in pain. The pain of the hotness was nothing compared to the pain she was going through for the past month and a half. But she couldn't keep her calm anymore. She burst out crying. He held her around her arms, and she gave in. 

Tears flowed relentlessly as she cried on his shirt. He didn't say anything, just held her. The pain, the trauma was too much for spoken words. There was nothing to say. After what seemed like a long time, her tears stopped. Getting up from his chest, she saw that his shirt was completely wet. 

"Oh, I'm so sorry.." She mumbled. 

"That's okay.. Accha what do you say, we have the coffee and chips, and this hospital has a nice garden. Wanna take a walk?" He smiled.

"I..don't think so... He's there suffering and counting his last breath, I possibly can't go out and enjoy life, behave as if nothing has happened....". She spoke more to convince herself than anyone else. How could she possibly ever enjoy her life? Shy away from responsibilities? Be a coward and run away from problems? It would be a sin.

He knew she had a tendency towards paranoia. "Look, I'm just asking you to take a walk with me...not marry me", he looked at her deeply, with those brown eyes of his. So like the puppy's. 

Yeah, I wish, she thought, in response to his reply. Outwardly she said, "Okay..".

As they walked through the corridor of the stark white hospital searching for some color, they could see the lush green garden outside. Pink, red, yellow flowers shone in the sparkling sunlight. She felt happy. Alive. 

"I knew you would like it", he said noticing the smile at the corner of her mouth. He held her arms. And she closed her eyes, taking in the warmth and his touch. He looked at her face, so tender, so pale, so beautiful. She was shivering. Something inside him stirred. The storeroom to their left was half closed. He opened it and took her inside. Then the door locked. 

In contrast to the rest of the hospital, the storeroom was not very clean. There were brooms and bins around. A window at the top of the wall let in some sunlight as compared to the artificial lights of the hospital. It was warm, not very clean, more human. In a wisp, the cold replies and calculating gazes of the doctors who had told her that they would not be able to save him, went away from her mind, her world. She quietly took in the feelings, the warmth, the hope. 

And suddenly he kissed. On her cheek. She opened her eyes. He kissed her again. A little to the mouth. His touch was comforting, made her realize she could feel too. That the money minded gaze of the doctors had not dehumanized her too. She kissed him back, near his mouth. He hugged her tightly.  Aahhh...All she wished for was to get absorbed in him, in his strength, his being. He was stronger than her emotionally. He would not let her be grasped by these blind money making robots. He would know of a place where love, kindness, humanity still existed. He would certainly.

But what was she doing? She looked at him. This was all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He was supposed to get married tomorrow. She walked back from him and turned away. No, she couldn't let this happen. And suddenly he came near her, held her from the back. His hands embraced her under her soft heavy breasts. She moaned. It was relieving finally to have a support for her burden, her weight. After ages. 

Her moan attracted him. He kissed her neck. Her soft tender neck. He found it so delicious that he bit her. Lightly. She moaned again. And slowly his hands explored her body. Passion held both of them together. Her left hands touched his face and she kissed him all over. He kissed her on the lips. She pulled him by his collar and kissed him madly....

"Ms. Kapoor, Ms. Kapoor...." The loud voices broke her day dream. She was sitting on the stark white seat in the stark white corridor against the stark white wall. She saw a couple of people, she had seen for the past one month. Doctors and nurses. Who had vouched for saving lives. Who had said that life mattered more to them than money. Who were in it for the love of the profession and not for big houses and cars..

"Ms. Kapoor, are you alright?" The voice rattled her brain. "Yes..Yes.... what's the matter?"

"We are sorry, Ms. Kapoor. We couldn't save him." A carefully practiced soothing tone of compassion alerted her. "But..but, I gave the medicines you asked for....see..", and blindly looking down, she showed them the clutched piece of prescription that she was still holding in her hands.

"We are sorry, Ms. Kapoor. It was already late. We could do nothing."

She looked at her watch. It was barely fifteen minutes since she had handed down the medicine to the nurse.

She looked at them blankly. "But perhaps, it reduced a bit of his trouble..?"

"Ms. Kapoor, he was a lot worse by the last hour. We are going to keep him under watch for some more time and after that you can claim the body." The doctor patted her on the shoulders, a carefully practised pat through years of experience, and walked away. She stood in the stark white corridor looking at the doctor with the freshly starched white coat go away. Body....Body, he had said. "Claim the body.." But he was not just a body, was he?

End of a two-month old ordeal. May be now she could sleep peacefully at night without the crying of three-month old Milky bothering her. Even he was white, as the milk. Whiter than snow. Besides Shekhar, he was the only one that made her feel human. She still remembered the time when they had taken him away from her arms. His smell was still on her. Now he was gone. And Shekhar was to get married tomorrow. She finished some formalities with the hospital, and walked out into the sunlight once again. 

The sun shone bright. It was an afternoon of April. That afternoon that she would remember forever. 


*Soumyo* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the silent observer said...

thanks a lot. :)