He was lying on a bed in a hospital. On the right side of the bed a monitor was seen showing the ups and downs in the breath of the patient. An oxygen mask covered most of his face. A blood bag was hung on his left side to a stand providing the new blood to his old, wrinkled body. The needles were injected in his left hand. His eyes were closed. The whole body was motionless except a slight up-side down movement of his belly and the oxygen tube.
‘Can we lend our breaths to someone?’ she thought and prayed she could do it. She was sitting beside his bed waiting for him to open his eyes and recognize her at once.
‘Getting his lost love might imbue in him the desire to live’, she prayed.
‘We will meet once again in life, I bet’ he had said in his characteristic perky voice some 50 years ago while she was bidding him good bye forever. She too had wished the same but she hadn’t expected their meeting on this turn of life.
The day he was admitted to the hospital directly from Savera Old-Age Home, her son had left her there. She felt like coming into a vast desert of loneliness. She felt lost. Her son turned his car and said, “I will come once in a month to pay the bills, till then take care, love you mom!” she didn’t get what he said. When she woke up from her reverie she only saw the clouds of dust the car had left behind and the last few words of his son echoed in her ear-‘love you mom!’
A maid took her to room no-7. Sitting on the bed in her room she saw through the window the blurred images of an ambulance parked in the yard and some apron wearing people taking a man into it onto a stretcher. She asked the maid about the man.
‘He got a paralytic stroke’, she said in an unconcerned voice.
‘Who is he?’ her next question.
The maid became irritated by the questions but she didn’t want to be rude to the old-woman on her very first day.
‘His name is ‘Ramakant Vaidya’, he is from Mumbai, he was a teacher, happy?’ said the maid at once trying to get rid of the newly arrived ‘good for nothing’ septuagenarian.
‘Oh my god!!!’ Lata mumbled and sat on the floor. She couldn’t breathe properly. The feeling of profound joy and the deep sorrow surrounded her in the same moment.
Whatever, an oasis had emerged in her desert-like life right then.
image courtesy: google