The last three hours. It really felt like the last three years of my life since we departed from the knots of each other. The corridor to the OT was long and dark enough for me to be abandoned and left me suffocating in one corner of the endless tunnel. The whiff of the floor sterilizer, which was continuously being stroked by the long cleaner after every tenth minute by the allotted keeper, had filled my nostrils. The room and the dimming lights were slowly getting darker and darker. Or was it my vision that had been causing me to blur every moment of life? The weather outside was gloomy enough for me to feel dizzy amidst the fearful moment. Yes, I had already experienced this earlier in my life. I had already found myself sitting at the chair in the corner before today, three years ago.
My face was suitably buried under the warm palms that had the fearful odour of blood on it. The white office shirt of mine was already stained with heavy amount of blood. I was confused what to do next. I prayed. I prayed to god for her living and my death. I again prayed to all of the living gods on earth to make her what she was rather what she is suffering now. Being a non-believer of god, the day, I found god existing inside every sole surrounding me. I was confused for what to do next. There are times when you always need a shoulder to lean on, when you yourself is in trouble; when you yourself need help from others. I prayed for her life… that was deliberately struggling yards away from me- into the operation theatre.
Chapter one- The hectic stick
I was busy at my desk, at the seventeenth floor of Red Chillies Animation office at Mumbai, preparing the two book cover graphics that was proposed to me few days back. I had been working as a graphic and animation designer since 2007 with the ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ company. My affection towards animations since childhood had made me choose this path of life, for what I was hugely payed. Something since the morning had been insisting me from attending the office today, for the day was the worst and the most hectic day for me to recall since the twentieth century job approval. First, the heavy road traffic jam blocked me for about half an hour, then a small argument with a rough auto rickshaw driver for whom my beautiful Pulsar got a dent near its front wheel and then the calls from the boss, who had been deliberately disturbing me to complete the given projects fast so that he can allot more of work. How can work so, so much with the same salary? I sat adjacent to the open windows in my computer, wandering where to start from. I had to miss my lunch to complete the Photoshop work of the final draft of the cover of SAIKAT DEY’s book.
As I completed my first assignment within the next three hours, creating a perfect cover of a man with a gun inside a tunnel and that ‘India on the Watches’ title along with the author’s name stuck on it, I prepared to give myself a nodding break. Involuntarily my eyes floated on the ‘Pensive’ empty folder on the third local disk. The mouse pointer dragged itself to the ‘Tools’ selection from where the next moment, with my automatic permission, the hidden files related to the folder was opened. It had hundreds of her picture on it along with few lovely screenshots of old conversations and funny it is- the entire Harry Potter e-book file was too present.
A sudden jolt passed through my torso when the loading image thumbnails were shown on a tiny format. My heart grew heavier for the pictures being opened after about a year. The sadness that was locked till now in some part of the body had started to leak and that was clearly felt. Certainly, gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. When we were together in the photos, love was like a flower that we allowed to grow. Everyone on earth has their own way to grief and this was my way. The addiction to my drug was her love that was over. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you more strong. It was a bad idea coming to work today, I thought while starting the slideshow of all the available pictures. Outside, it was drizzling and few drops had already showed its existence on the office’s glass walls made from the outside part.
While the slideshow was midway, the tune to the Samsung, the lovely guitar ones, chirped lowly first and then at its full tune. I looked upon the screen to find an unknown number popping out. It had the same starting digits of my boss but the ending numbers were significantly different. I chose not to attend. The energy that was present on my body had totally sucked and now, it was high time that I do not take any more trouble of work by receiving the number.
The first slideshow out of the conversations were over when I browsed to the next folder of her images. The folder asked for a password. While entering the password to it, I heard her inside me, from somewhere.
I felt her presence by my side as I hovered over the thumbnails. A sudden gust hit me covering my upper layer with a delightful Goosebumps. I wanted to see her right away at the moment. Abruptly turning back to the glass walls, I found nothing but saw dribbles of rain tickled to the glasses. The clouds were consistently getting darker and darker. A gust of downpour was waiting on the other side of the clouds that was to burst at any moment. She liked a whether like this, more of gloomy and cloudy than to rain.
Without waiting for another single second, I started the slideshow to the hundreds of lovely pictures- each that had a signifying yet stupid story to tell…
The Days at college
The first day to the Techno India College was something of its own kind. I came all the way from Mumbai to Kolkata for studying in my dream college with engineering. Little did I know that time that I would come back to animations later, following my childhood dream. Being a complete introvert, I never allowed myself to befriend anyone from the semester campus. Sitting alone at the third row along with few nerds was my daily job, though I had never struggled to get such flying marks like them. My introvert feeling was such of a kind that I had to be alone among the cool dudes. Satish, a calm headed nerd was my only friend in the campus who helped me with every study material that I needed. The circular benches with about hundreds of students literally confused my senses to remember all of their faces and names perfectly. So at a way, I found it good for myself that I had not been one of those who have to remember the entire campus buddies’ names.
It was until the fifth month, that I finally felt to open up when, during the recess, the entire class was at their own place, discussing about the tour to Chandigarh that was to commend the next week.
Not getting any empty seat, a girl of just twenties struggled as she hovered over from one position to the other and passed by me and found the opening seat beside me to be empty. She didn’t say anything but looked upon my face dreamily. I gestured her to have the seat as I had no problem with it. She had something different within her. She was different in her own way. A fair girl with shiny dark brown eyes and straight silky unprotectable hair that had been continuously slipping off her front edges, she was the one my eyes had indifferently chosen to fix the gaze at. Her head, more like an isosceles trapezium with a subtle squarely jaw, had a beam of charm providing to me from the front, where she was seated facing Abhishek, the speaker who called the members of the tour. A light sandalwood fragrance abode my nose.
“Harry Potters…” I abruptly spoke up on the round where everyone was to suggest the name of the group by which they would be known as the first year students. It was similar to the Jerry Owens that was named by the second year students though I had a very little idea about who Jerry Owens was or is.
The next moment, the entire batch looked up at me. The students at the front rows looked above, shrugging their heads and the students above my desk pierced through my gaze.
“Professor Snape’s” someone, a girl from the other corner shot back. “It’s better with an apostrophe s.”
I was delighted knowing they were now starting the topic to what I had created. The debate went on when at a glance, the girl sitting next to me fixed her voice:
“I think Potters is the best… Harry Potter.” Her eyes fled back on me with a broad grin on her face. I too passed a nodding subtle grin over to her as the counter chat proceeded.…
The rest of our story was stranger than fiction. It was more of a fairy tale with small fights and irritations and at the end of the day, we were again found together. We named each place and each person with different fictional names. The funniest part was, it was so easy to talk about them even in their presence, without giving them a tinge of hint to them. Our college campus and the Rose Resturant nearby was like our own imagined world of fantasy and romance.
Chapter 2 – the day from the past
It had again started to drizzle outside as the slideshow to her folder ended few minutes ago. Getting up from my cozy seat, I forwarded towards the glass walls that were continuously being struck by hard rain splatters. The last picture to the conclusion of the slideshow was still awake on my mind… far awake. Every time I blinked my eyes, sudden flashes of the image appeared. It was the best natural click of hers that I had taken and still has the reasonable story behind it…
I was working busily under pressured circumstances for the physics project that was allotted for every individual student. It was for the solar compressor that was given to be made out of the notes and lectures that were propelled few days back. We were said to create such a device from which fuels can be produced through solar compression and thankfully the time limit was set for a month. I had a basic idea that it can be done through the process commonly known as ‘two-steps solar thermo-chemical cycle’ which involves using concentrated sunlight to heat a metal oxide and split it into metal and oxygen. The resulted metal is then combined with carbon dioxide and water, partially producing carbon monoxide and hydrogen which can be used to make diesel fuel and other synthetic fuel systematically.
That Sunday, accidentally, while splitting the carbon dioxide and the oxygen out of the 3,600 F chemical reactors, I ended up cutting the edge of my right index finger on a painful tack. It was really agonizing to cut the edge with a sharp blade while fixing the balance of the rough surface of the poorly built reactor-tube. The instantaneous gushing of blood from the cited index had alerted me to take up an immediate toxic injection or it might be infectious later. But, out of the blue moon, suddenly my cords struck her name twice on my head. It is a brilliant idea to express my love for her in a way it is, I thought to myself, dragging a single paper out of the bunch and setting it adjacent to my lap. It happened that I just finished off writing her entire name, Priya, with the gushing blood-dripping index finger. Cleaning up the cut and later dressing the wound properly with the band-aid that was kept for emergency, I struggled to hold the pen properly between the index and the thumb.
‘You are worth more than anything on earth…’ I wrote pensively while still struggling with the tinges of pain provided by the nerves leaded to the finger. Absentmindedly, I stashed the paper on my physics practical file’s last page.
The next day, during lunch break, we were sitting beside each other at the class, where only a few couples fiddled. She had already glanced upon my band-aided finger and was prettily worried about it. I was challengingly not able to scribble notes for the lime pains. While I was busy myself teaching to write with the left hand, she was on her way to nibble the notes on my practical file instead of photocopying it directly. Fortunate fate was under my house that it happened for her to open up the last page directly, from where the loosened page propelled out furiously. The red-effect painted on it had already attracted her eyes towards it.
“What is this, Karan?” She asked with her tone in an unmistakable serious genre. She was holding the loosened paper between the ends of the two hands. For the first minute, I remained silent with an apologetic expression stuck to my face. Then abruptly I asked her, Oh you found it. Though nothing mattered for she was already half-baked and reddish watermelon-effect already chased down her face while I had nothing more to say. Little did she know the main reason for my finger slit.
The next furious moment, she carefully folded the paper and then backed it under the middle pages of the file then, without voiding an eye contact, she got up slowly. Really, I was really not planned for what I did next. Standing up to my feet, I caught hold of her hand which was just on verge to go away from my side. She struggled and knocked several times to free the caught hand, while I glared fearlessly across her eye-balls.
“Leave me….. Go to hell…. You’re such a-”
“F**k, right? Well, yes I am…. I love you and that’s it. I want to have you and that’s the end to it.” The capability of softly speaking was still left under my throat that I literally whispered, lovingly while she still struggled to free her hand, not looking at me.
“I need to get right now. Leave me, Karan…” She stated, after successfully freeing her hand and pacing down her bench at the first row while I still remained standing at the second-last row of the benches.
All she did next was to sit back at her seat annoyingly, thrusting her notes at the desk and keeping the bag above the desk. She looked beautiful from her back; and especially during that particular time, being annoyed with my nuances. Her red-turned cheeks were in just a state to burst and her hairs were roughly tied, few coming out from edges. I just wanted to rush to her, tied back her hairs from the edge and bury her on my chest but nothing of such happened. I picked out the gigantic mobile out from my pocket and zoomed the resolution to the farthest to get a clear shot of her, properly from the back with her face subtlety visible, and then clicked it at a go… and there I was with the picture saved between my documental files, hidden though.
Chapter 3- Back to the present
The rain drops had stopped by the time I ended up deciding finally to leave. Only a few of my acquaintances were present along with me, who had to travel by bike. Simply I desired not to have a car until I marry and set an own lifestyle of mine. Bike was the one I preferred as honestly, to say, it was much cheaper than car or other working machinery vehicles. The motorbikes parked at the lot were already drenched with water. Ultimately, I had to please the security guard to give me a newspaper to spread it over the seat and have a ride back to my residence as fast as it was possible.
The daily bike ride- generally half of an hour, that day flashed something indifferent to my mind. I recalled the days sitting on this same particular bike with Priya, travelling miles from the long routes knowing all of the shortest methods to spend more time with each other. At a glance, I recalled the short pulled brakes for what the girl used to stick to my back for a few seconds. Recapitulating memories from the past always had something indifferent spices added to it.
In relation, officially
“I’m really…. Really, really sorry, Priya… for what I did…” I was at my knees in front of the entire class during the recess. I didn’t really care about what the people around me would comment or poke with but I really did the thing that my heart signalled to. She looked down upon my face with her cheeks more red than usual. An urging smile was consistently being controlled by the edges of her lips that I pretended not to notice. “I Love you, and I really do…” I concluded, still sitting on my knees with an agony that was steadily screeching on my joint for what I consistently moved uncomfortably.
The next moment, after I OFFICIALLY proposed her, the entire class broke out in making odd yet romantic sounds, commenting and few suggesting out loud to Priya to definitely accept me.
“For you, I got to know all of these people whom now I call friends… For you, I got them in a week and I want you for my entire life…” I added unconsciously.
“Would you please get up, Kabir?” She gently, spoke after a smiling break of a minute. Her cheeks and nose were completely watermelon red by the time I urged to stand up, rubbing off the dust from the jeans. Instead, I came closer to her but she, to my surprise, didn’t resist.
“I have to think about you, Kabir. I need time. In personal.” She declared at last, controlling, rubbing off the small remains of smile off from her face, fixing it normally and going back to her desk in the first row with a tinge of blushes under her breathings. Yes, I definitely sensed it.
“Would you ever marry anyone else if I die?” She asked me the same night, abruptly and foolishly while moving slowly towards the hostel while I accompanied her. Her stupid and childlike question had already given me a hint to what she was extending her hands towards but still, I acted as if nothing really important got into my head.
I gave her a distinguished look, an uncommon one, after which she passed a gleeful smile with her innocence poured to it.
“Never thought of loosing you and why should I even think of that…”
She smiled with her face fixed with the gaze at the tiles that were moving by along with us.
“I didn’t get my answer, Priya”
She jerked my hand and pushed me over to the other end. For the next two minutes, the block passed silently after we reached the gate to the girl’s dorm when I finally had to leave her though my heart resisted to keep her along with me for ever.
“You already know my answer to your proposal, Kabir. Good Night” she smiled playfully and passing a short gesture of ‘Good Night’ went in…
On the way
Passing through the Santa Cruz, I recognized at once what the re-arrival of dark clouds really meant. Rain, again. Caring for nothing, the speed-o-meter increased its rate of speed as I flurried down the Santa Cruz four lane bridges. A Modern High School bus took its stand beside me on the signal jam, by the time it again started drizzling in a slower manner. Looking up absentmindedly into the school bus, I found a little girl, of about ten years of age, continually staring at me. At following my gaze, she passed a short smile and then moved her gaze. I found Priya, after three years, in her. Her eyes, her complexion, her face was at some point similar to Priya’s. She had an unknown attraction power that pulled me towards her. I again stared at her and found her too looking at me. She again smiled and I winked at her over my covered helmet. In a funny manner, she tried several times to wink with one eye open but retrieved her tries after not being successful. She then intelligently zipped up one eye with her left hand and closed the remaining eye in a gesture of a struggling wink. The start back of the engine made me realize of the open signal as the bus flurried down the streets overtaking me.
After three years of break-up, I found Priya within an unknown small girl…
Did she leave me, or I did?
“It’s over, Priya… We had been fighting with each other since the last two years and now it is heights.” I annoyingly thrust her feelings while crossing argument over each other. We had completed our two years dating anniversary last Sunday. We promised to be with each other for ever and now I finally said what my brain, at the moment, thought about.
We had been fighting with each other since the very first day of our relation and were now frustrated over all of these. The entire class didn’t take my words seriously as because we were always seen fighting at the first seen and then, again veiled with each other at the other moment the same day. But… I didn’t mean to say it intentionally. It was that I just wanted to stop the argument and dominate and win over her. I kept my bag packed the next moment, whispered to Akash’s ear to take my bag to the canteen as the class gets over and hurried down the stairs to the professor. Going to that washroom, I asked the permission about and went directly to the canteen. I got a seat at the last corner and waited for the bell to ring.
The bell rung as usual after around seven and a half minutes after my arrival. Surprisingly, no one made the entrance from my class. Ten minutes passed yet Akash was still not appearing. Where the hell are they, I thought. The next moment, a hurried Akash, fully drenched in sweat made his entrance in the canteen. Scattering his looks hurriedly, he found me at the last corner bench. He rushed to me, with my bag tightly corded in his right hand.
“What the hell did you do to her, boss! She is unconscious and was discovered from the washroom….”
“Why, what happened?” with the heart beating twice of its speed, I asked him.
“The moment you left, she too went out and didn’t return. We thought she was on your way but was later found in one of the washroom locker. Her vein of the left hand has been severely struck by blade.” He whispered, controlling his breathings.
It was like a skull crusher for me to bear such a thing. I explained him what happened and that I didn’t really mean it. He was drenched and informed me that she has been taken to the sick-room and that an ambulance has been called up. I backed up from my corner table, retrieved my bag from him and forwarded to the sick room when he stopped me gripping my left hand tightly as he closed me near him.
“Don’t you dare to go, Kabir. Her parents would come soon. They will sue you for this…”
“I don’t care for what will happen…” I fearlessly stated, piercing my gaze straight forward avoiding his eye contact. My eyes had already turned moist by then. My brain only commanded me to see her, at least for once for it didn’t care about the latter consequences.
Within the next few moments, I was at the doctor’s camp, on the small sick room with two foldable beds and a saline holder in one corner and other aiding materials set on the other room divided by a green cotton cloth. She was on one of the beds, her hand completely bandaged with a saline pipe that thrust her skin at the right elbow. I pushed down the crowd enclosing her and let myself be at the very front row, where the doctor was persistently recording her pulse rate. I said nothing but looked at her faintly. My chain of thoughts- from the day met her to to-day, was broken as someone shouted down the corridor exclaiming about the ambulance’s arrival. She was transferred into the white hospitalised portable bed and was directly slashed inside the ambulance. The next moment, it flurried down the street with the alarming emergency tone trickling and blinking at the sirens.
Everything passed out so fast that I didn’t get time to acknowledge it.
The girl for whom I shed few drops of blood years back had shed our entire relationship with her blood.
Going straight following the same path, a shortcut leading to my residence just at ten more minutes, I found the same yellow meagrely rusted bus at a stop as a teenager hobbled down. An unknown attraction caught my glimpse as I desirably chased the stopping bus, to make sure if she was still there or not. Moving close to the third window from the back, yes, I found her still being into her position, keeping her head subtly popping out of the windows. When her eyes felt on me, she again jumped back in action, as if I was completely known to her. On seeing her at such a level, I couldn’t resist myself from waving her good-bye before gesturing a thumps up.
On moving further, the bus from the back overtook me again and this time, I really thought not to chase it anymore. It was already drizzling again and it seemed that the clouds were in a long wait for a heavy downpour. I flashed my speed to reach home before any thunder stroke the roads of mine but was unlucky again at my attempt. Suddenly, from nowhere, a flask of rain poured down the streets, making me half-drenched, with my collar-shirt turning pale. A small closed shop with a huge tin terrace cut from the edges was just a few yards away from me. It was wide enough to fit in more of three men in it. Without waiting anymore, hurriedly, I put the stand to the bike and scurried to the shed avoiding any more of rain. Beside me, stood a handsome man with a sunglass added on his bridge. It seemed as if he was standing there for a long period- probably waiting for someone.
The next minute, the same meagrely rusted Modern High School bus took a halt at the lane opposite to the shed. Enjoying the rain, quickly that girl hobbled down, splashing a pinch of water that had just foiled. I then understood the man next to me being his father as he opened the umbrella and forwarded to the three lane road. As he crossed the second road, the girl from the other side escaped the bounds and ran across the moving road to get to her father fast in the rain. It was when a moving car, perhaps at a speed from which it was hard to strike the brakes, hit her sideways as the father screamed at his top level of voice. The car didn’t wait for a second as it escaped more furiously. My heart pounded faster than usual as I hurried down the empty two streets to the father, who ran across to get to his daughter, who lay in the drenched road, abstracting blood all over her that was continuously gushing out from her torso.
Waiting for no more minutes, I called up a taxi that was passing by and helped the father in lifting the girl to the cab. Her father’s eyes were drenched with water the same way my shirt was. I instructed the driver to hurry to Fortis as soon as possible and advised the father to keep holding the torso with the torn part of my sleeve that I provided. She was breathing heavily, sufficing and holding on to her pain. The people that enveloped the road while we entered the cab had nothing to do other than fetch a cab faster than me which they didn’t.
I stayed in the corridors of the Fortis as she was taken inside. The last three hours. It really felt like the last three years of my life since we departed from the knots of each other. The corridor to the OT was long and dark enough for me to be abandoned and left me suffocating in one corner of the endless tunnel. The whiff of the floor sterilizer, which was continuously being stroked by the long cleaner after every tenth minute by the allotted keeper, had filled my nostrils. The room and the dimming lights were slowly getting darker and darker. Or was it my vision that had been causing me to blur every moment of life? The weather outside was gloomy enough for me to feel dizzy amidst the fearful moment. Yes, I had already experienced this earlier in my life. I had already found myself sitting at the chair in the corner before today, three years ago.
My face was suitably buried under the warm palms that had the fearful odour of blood on it. The white office shirt of mine was already stained with heavy amount of blood. I was confused what to do next. I prayed. I prayed to god for her living and my death. I again prayed to all of the living gods on earth to make her what she was rather what she is suffering now. Being a non-believer of god, the day, I found god existing inside every sole surrounding me. I was confused for what to do next. There are times when you always need a shoulder to lean on, when you yourself is in trouble; when you yourself need help from others. I prayed for her life… that was deliberately struggling yards away from me- into the operation theatre….
“We need O positive blood for the patient” the nurse in-charge of Priya announced. Akash was sitting beside me, drenched in sweat of what had happened. Particularly he was more tensed than me…
“Shall I go?” I abruptly asked him in a low voice keeping in mind that my blood group was the same of Priya’s.
“Have you gone mad? Her parents will really sue you…” He hashed back.
The coordinator of the college stood up and moved forward along with the nurse to another room adjacent to the reception. She didn’t utter a single word. The entire Fortis corridor was silent. Everybody chanted all of the possible names…
“You must go now… they will arrive any time…” He tried to push me out of my seat though I fixed my asses with the seat and I pledged not to leave my seat at all.
After several explanations by other friends of mine, they were finally successful in fetching me a cab and sending back to the campus hostel. Little did I knew that it would be the last time I would be talking with her.
After several months of her retreat, she pretended not to know me… she forgot me completely and later moved in to some other college with a transfer certificate. When I tried to call her, she rejected it. Few days later, I was called up in the Bidhanagar Police Station. She launched an F.I.R on my name with the reason that I disturbed her by calling. My mobile, SIM Card and other communicating materials were confesticated and were strictly ordered not to call her anymore or I would be jailed…. Later, I never met her again…
My chain of thoughts broke down acknowledging the howling of the father, near the Operation Theatre gate as in a small portable bed, a tiny body came out of the hall with a white sheet spread over it. Several member of the families who arrived few hours later enclosed the body and joined the mourn as I was left seated at the same corridor from where once I escaped for the well being of my Priya. Later I heard the girl’s mummy was on a flight and was coming back to Mumbai from Kolkata on hearing the news of the accident. Apparently, she was at her mother’s residence.
An hour later, when the father was called to fill up a form, I joined him to the reception to keep my consolation hand over him. Something attracted my eyes, my heart and mys sole when I saw him filling up the form before the departure of the corpse…
Father: Rakesh singhania
Patient: Roshni singhania
Mother: Priya Singhania….
Yes, I was correct…. I found Priya in that girl for she was my princess’ daughter. I don’t know how she came her all the way from Kolkata… Neither did I know what it was…. All I know now is the Almightly planned and helped me to get a look at Priya after so many years of our separation….. Though the situation was not good…