“Get well soon, Okay?” Raj looked deep into her eyes.
“Hmmm…” she nodded.
His eyes did not stop admiring the messed up beauty that Nisha was at that moment until he reached the exit door. Her half done hair bun, her oily face, her lazy posture, nothing was close to being perfect; yet he found her to be the most perfect creation of God. Perhaps, that is what you call love; you look for perfections even in the most imperfect things of your partner.
By the time Raj left the hospital his heart was already heavy. The November sun had set in the horizon by that time. Nisha’s tears were still flashing in front of his eyes, and somehow they made their way into his eyes too. Yes, before he could think of anything his eyes were wet already. Although it was dark already, he lowered his tinted helmet glass so as no one could see his tears. He straightaway drove to the banks of Hugli. He leaned over the concrete boundary facing the calm river. Hours passed by in a flash. His eyes were still moist, actually swollen by now. He checked the time. It was fifteen minutes past nine already. He checked the notifications on his phone, there was no missed call, not even a ‘thank you' message. He went back home convincing and at the same time cursing himself for expecting a call or a message from someone who could hardly talk.
“She must be in pain, that's why she didn't call me.” He said to himself and headed for home.
Next day too he was by her bed as soon as the clock struck 4:15 PM. Her Mom was there too. Both of them exchanged a formal smile.
“How is she now?” Raj asked her Mom.
“Better than yesterday.” She replied.
“And what did the doctors diagnose?” Raj asked again.
“Food poisoning.”She said.
Nisha was always careless with her food habits, but little did Raj know that it would lead her to the hospital some day. Raj took a glance at Nisha with a “I told you to be careful while eating” look. There was a wicked smile on his face. His eyes were doing everything to pull her legs right there. Frustrated, she turned her back towards him and like always she was the one to call the last shots.
Moments later some of her friends arrived. The customary questions like “How are you?” and “What happened to you?” were followed by a long chat session between them. It was not too late before reality dawned upon Raj. He was no longer the one with whom Nisha would talk for hours. He was no longer the no. 1 priority in her life. She had long back declared him as the biggest mistake of her life. He had seen his gruesome transformation from being everything to be nothing in her life. He stood there unmoved, watching her act like he did not even exist there. Her conscious ways to avoid any eye contact were taking a toll on his already broken heart.
He wanted to scream out loud and clear, “Look at me, talk to me too, I am also here and I was here yesterday when none of your friends were here. If you can’t talk then at least don’t ignore my presence like this.” But all he could manage was to stand mute.
Third day was no different for him. He was consciously made to feel out of place and was, therefore, left out.
On the fourth day he decided that it was better to not visit the hospital at all. But there was another corner in his heart that was convincing him to go there as he was at least getting to see Nisha.
“No, I won’t go. I can’t go there and feel left out every single day. It hurts.” He said to himself and started his bike.
Love drives you crazy, but that day it seemed love was driving his bike. Unknowingly, 10 minutes later, he found himself in the hospital premises. He could not make out what had just happened. Once he was there, he did not stop himself from going upstairs.
Her mother was once again there before him. Nisha seemed to be in a much better condition than what she was four days back.
“The doctor has decided to discharge her today itself.” Her mother announced as soon as Raj came closer to her bed.
“Wow! Isn't that a great news? Why is your face looking like stale bread bun?” Raj asked as Nisha was strangely not looking happy.
“She is scared of the pain that would be inflected upon her when the nurses would pull out the needle from her hand.” Her mother said with a gentle smile.
Raj too could not control his laughter once he heard that.
“Stop laughing, it’s not happening to you, that’s why you are laughing.” Nisha said with anger and helplessness in her eyes.
She knew well that there was no way for her to avoid that ‘little’ pain, and more she realised it, more she started to cry like a two year old baby. Raj was enjoying this sight until the nurses arrived there with the anti-septics and other stuffs in a tray.
Raj looked into Nisha’s eyes and no matter how much he tried, a smile surfaced on his face. He covered her eyes from behind.
“Now you won’t feel anything.” She gripped his hand as firmly as she could. That was a pristine moment for Raj. He had not felt her touch for so long. But before he could seep in the moment the nurses did their work. A drop of her tears landed on his palms in the whole act. That was it. The moment to say ‘good-bye’ was near.
Raj was finding it difficult to speak. His voice was choking. He stood there stifled. Moments later, her father arrived after completing all the paper work to get her discharged.
Nisha handed over Raj’s phone back without looking at him.
He escorted them out of the hospital after booking a cab. The steps towards the hospital’s exit gate were the heaviest that Raj took. It was a short distance that took him the longest to cover.
Some things are planned by the almighty himself. His visit to the hospital that day was also one such instance. None of her friends came to visit her that day to make him feel left out. He realised how beautiful God’s plans could be. Had he not gone to the hospital that day he would not have felt her hands on his. After the bitterness that had prevailed between them for months, it was the sweetest thing that he could have asked for.
“If it has to end, there can’t be a better ending to my story, to our story, to Raj and Nisha’s story.” He whispered to himself.
The cab arrived. She was the first to get in, thereby ensuring that he does not get to shake hands with her or caress her hairs for one last time. Her Mom and Dad followed. He was somehow able to sneaked his head into the cab through the window.
“Take care of yourself.” He said and waved her good-bye.
His eyes were wet by now. He kept looking at the cab until it got out of his sight. Just as he turned around, an auto passed by with an old Bollywood song playing -
“Shayad fir is janam me…
Mulakat ho na ho….”
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