“Take care of yourself.”
Raj could hardly control his tears as he said these words to Nisha. All that he wanted was to freeze the time. The turn of events in the last few months had brought them to a point where Nisha wanted to get rid of him in whatever way possible.
Four days back when Raj got the news of Nisha being admitted into a hospital, he could not hold himself back. His heart began to tremble. He tried to call Nisha. But, bad-luck did not leave him even in those dire circumstances. It was only a couple of days back that Reliance Communications had suddenly decided that all its users should be at the receiver’s end for its own wrong doings. She happened to be one of those loyal Reliance customers. Anyways, after trying out all the options at his disposal and failing at all of them, he decided to pay a visit to the hospital itself. It’s not that he had too many other options left to try out.
The visiting hours of the hospital was from 4 to 6 in the evening. He postponed all his work and drove to the hospital. By the time he reached there it was already 4:15 PM. He was cursing himself for not being on time. Nevertheless, he quickly looked around only to find Nisha lying on bed no. 4. One look at her face and he was soon convinced that she was in deep pain. He went closer and placed his palm on her cheeks. His touch alerted her. Probably, she could still feel the love in that touch, at least he believed so.
“How are you?” he asked, caressing her hairs.
“I am not okay!” she said in a crumbling voice. “Please call Papa…” she said in the same breath as tears made way through her eyes.
“Yeah! Okay! I am calling him, but just don’t cry. Hold on, everything will be fine.” He took out his phone and dialed her father’s number. His eyes never stopped gazing her helpless face even for a second. As luck would have it, her father was also a Reliance customer.
“Nisha, your father is not reachable through the phone at the moment, should I call your Mom!”
“Yes, do anything, but please make me talk to them.” she said in desperation.
Once again he took out his phone to dial another number while helplessly looking at Nisha. He wanted to scream out loud how much he loved her and how much he wanted to take all her pain onto himself if he had the option of doing so. He was lost in his thoughts when the phone ringing on the other side brought him back to senses. Without wasting time he placed the phone over her ears in a flash.
“Mom, why are you not here?…. I don’t know anything, just send Papa here immediately… No, I have not seen him for last 2–3 hours…. I don’t even have a phone to contact anyone… Send him now.” Saying this she nudged to disconnect the phone. All this while he was looking at her and listening to whatever she was saying with sincerity. She did not open her eyes for the whole conversation, or probably she was not able to open her eyes.
Once the phone got disconnected she chose to close her eyes trying to sleep. She was shivering and wailing in pain. The more Raj was trying to hold back himself from crying, the more it was getting difficult for him. He looked around for a chair to sit on but could not find any. At that moment his own comfort was the last thing that could have crossed his mind. He just kneeled down on the floor beside her bed. She held his right hand and kept her head over it.
Raj wanted that moment to last forever. Although Nisha was in pain, he was in pain because of her pain, but this pain had brought them closer for the first time in months. That moment was beautiful for him. That moment was as holy and as sacred for him as the Bible, the Quran, the Gita would be for a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu. He kept looking at her, wondering what wrong did he do to not deserve a place in her life. They used to be the happiest when in company of each other. What would have moved Nisha to a point where she thought of getting rid of the relationship instead of giving it another try, that too when he had tried everything to keep things sorted? The more he had tried to sort things out between the two of them in the past few months, the more they drifted apart.
He was puzzled in all these thoughts, arguing and counter arguing within himself, while still trying to seep in the serenity of the moment. All the mis-understandings kept aside, his love for Nisha was still unquestionable. Anyone who knew him, knew this fact for sure. With that love in his eyes he kept staring her with a blank expression; blank because he did not know how to react to the situation. He was obviously depressed as Nisha had to go through so much pain, but some corner of his heart was also happy that he was getting to spend some priceless moments with her.
All good things come to an end, so did that moment. Her father arrived. Her father knew Raj as her friend, so he did not question his presence there. His voice was enough to wake her up.
She quickly turned around and grasped his shirt.
“Papa, please don’t leave me. the nurses here are too arrogant. They don’t listen to my calls unless I call them 10–15 times.” she was crying like a baby and complaining her father of everything that was wrong in the hospital.
Both, her father and Raj shared a quiet smile at the innocence in her voice.
“All right, all right I will talk to them before I leave. Now stop crying.” her father said.
“No, I wont let you go this time. You will be staying here, right by my side.” She tightened her grip on him and started crying again.
For the remaining time both of them tried hard to stop her from crying. She was looking like a doll at that moment, trying hard to convince her father to stay back in the hospital that probably she too knew was not possible.
Just as the clock struck 6 the bell rang. It was time for them to leave. But she was nowhere close to being convinced. The sound of the bell only worsened the situation.
Raj realised he had a spare phone with him which he used only for Internet. He could surely manage a few days without it, speacially if it was for Nisha.
“Heyy, heyy!! Listen here.” he said turning her head towards him - “Take this, this phone will be with you all the time. It has got unlimited calling and internet facilities, so just call your Papa or me whenever you feel like calling.” He knew that she would never call him, but still there was some hope alive in him. He took out the phone from his pocket and placed it beside her pillow.
“We will leave now.” her father said.
“Get well soon, Okay?” Raj looked deep into her eyes.
“Hmmm…” she nodded.
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