It was the month of March, the temperature had just started soaring in northern India, cold was retreating and summer was spreading its roots and Paarth a 5’6 tall handsome lad someone in his twenty’s was holding his patience tight standing in the long long line outside the city Shiva temple flooded with devotees waiting for hours to offer puja to the god of gods the Mahadev on the auspicious eve of Mahashivaratri.
That’s the day which is celebrated as the day when the god of the gods united with his love Shakti, this could be the true significance of this auspicious day but our boy Paarth had nothing to do with it. He was there for a reason, a plea from the almighty to have some benevolence for him and his family and most importantly his father who was on ventilator in the ICU of the city hospital waiting for his life saving heart surgery which had suddenly been barged by something which could be only due to bad luck or fate nothing else. It was neither money nor health complications generally seen in cases these days or any sort of family problems but it was blood, O- the rarest of the rare specimen which was needed for the operation and cities all the blood banks had went dry for this particular specimen of blood even see the fate, among all the family members it was Paarth’s sister who had the blood group of her father but she wasn’t able to donate blood to her own father because she had suffered pneumonia in recent past. Days passed on and the doctors kept on insisting for surgery while Paarth’s father Mohan Prasad Sharma’s state kept on detoriating day by day.
Feeling dejected and defeated this young boy reached the steps of Shiva, to plead for some benevolence on his state. The sun was up by now and he was there in line since six in the morning, three hours it had been as such moving slowly towards the temple gates with immense patience at his disguise holding a basket carrying lot of things; coconut, flowers, incense sticks and a few more things. All this time the boy didn’t looked anywhere he had his eyes stuck at the large metallic gate which opened up in every ten minutes to allow ten people in at a time. His kept on waiting and after a long time he was just a few feet away from the large Iron Gate, he kept on counting the number of men in front of him trying to calculate the time he would take to get in, holding his nerves tight and worries wrestling his insides he moved on slowly. All the people behind and even infront of him had the same anxiety, anxiousness to get in, men and women standing in the same line but they didn’t had that painful worry which this boy was going through, they all talked with each other looked around to spend time but this boy remained absolutely quite and still unwary of the world around inching slowly towards his destination.
“Please aunty please…..I have to go to a hospital……please!!!” it was plea in which he could feel pain, something similar he was going through, someone was there nearby with this sweet, sin dilating voice which instantly caught the attention of Paarth .
He looked at his sides for the source but there seemed no one and then he heard another voice which was furious stringent reply “No I can’t do that, you think we are fools, we have been standing here for more than three hours and you think you can get in without bearing the pain………..No it can’t happen, you need to go back and stand in line”.
Paarth knew now from where the voice was coming and he turned his head to face back. He couldn’t believe his eyes; a sober, sweet, pretty girl dressed in creamy salwar which added glory to her simple but elegant beauty, she may be of his age only was standing there holding a similar basket in her hand with a pair of specs on her eyes starring with great anticipation to the lady right behind him. She was asking for something, Paarth looked her first carefully and then suddenly he started feeling a sense of pull towards her, his worries; his tension were lost for a moment, he just got the sensation that he should help her and he opened up his mouth “What happened Aunty?” he asked the lady behind.
“See naa beta she is asking me to allow her in line,……. Are we fools that we are standing here since morning…!!!” she was a bit humble in reply this time but arrogant.
The men behind backed her “Oh….yes, yes she should go back and join the line we can’t allow her in” all voices raised in chorus.
After all it was righteous to not allow any intruder in the line but Paarth was feeling something else, he was looking into the eyes for the girl who had laid her head down and she seemed to be crying, the pain on her face, this boy was able to feel, his insides urged him to help but the people behind wouldn’t have allowed that. The girl now raised her head and looked with same anticipation towards the man standing right infront of the lady, who was Paarth whose eyes were starring at her only. “Please …………..!!!” she said numbly and this boy kept on starring her with an expressionless face.
Finding no hope she started to turn around and then at this moment temple gates were opened up once again and this time Paarth was among those ten people who were going to be allowed in standing in nine numbers. The men upfront started running in howled by the guards with sticks standing there right on the gates, Paarth instantly turned around and saw the girl who had walked a bit away, he stretched his hands catching her by her arms and pulled her into the line with jerk. She had no chance to react and the howlers pushed them into the gates of the temple amusing all the people standing at the back and most the aunty behind him who was just barred from entering because Paarth had taken a girl in her place inside the temple making it ten. She was dazed for a moment what happened and when she realized what had happened with her she tried to shout but until then the gates were closed once again.
Inside the temple the girl dazed by the sudden unfolding of event almost yelled “Hey…what are you doing!!!!!”, there was no one to hear her all busy in to get close to the deity of Shiva but Paarth was still there close to her “Helping you madam…!!!!!” and suddenly she realized that she was in the temple for which she was pleading just a while before and then she looked up to see the face of the man who made it possible but he was not there, she looked upfront and saw a young boy walking and shouted immediately “Hey wait!!!!!”.
The boy stopped at his place and she came running towards him “Thank you!!!!!” she had no other word in her mouth.
“Not to mention” he replied, turned and started walking once again but the girl had more with her she ran towards him and asked aloud “Atleast tell your name?”, he gave a instantaneous look at her face and said in a low voice “Paarth……….” and moved on while the girl became still watching him parting after which neither Paarth tried to find her nor she showed any intentions to meet him. But her face had created an impact on the young heart of our boy who tried hard to forget her and concentrate on things more important to him now, which was to perform the puja and the return to the hospital where his family must be waiting for him.
On reaching the hospital, he entered the cabin were his mother Janki Sharma was sitting with his sister Nehal both drenched in the worries of the time which had made them pale and frail and beside them sat other family members, his uncle aunt and cousins trying to console his mother and sister. Finding Paarth into the room, Janki Sharma immediately looked into the eyes of her son and asked with agility “Paarth, had you been to the temple?”, the boy felt something unusual in her voice but he had the Prasad bag in his hand
“Yes Mom, here is the Prasad” and he handed her the bag who diligently took it and distributed it among the people sitting there. After she was done, Paarth looked towards his mom with hope “Mom any news……?” there was fear in his voice, a fear of hearing a ‘no’ which shattered his hopes and promises at once and this was happening with him for four days now but still everytime he asked that question a new wave of anticipation surged within him unwary of the past which was kept alive by the hope which hadn’t died yet. Janki Sharma looked towards her son with the expressionless face and replied “No……..” and it happened again; hope shattered once again but Paarth had got use to it and so just nodded his head and turned and took his seat among others. He had just laid his head on the wall behind, his mother called him “Paarth go and see the reception counter, they said that they will see if anything is possible”.
The boy had no time to be late and instantly stood up from his seat and scurried through the door towards the reception counter in the ground floor of the ten storey hospital building. He ran with agility through the corridors and lifts and reached the reception counter within two minutes from the sixth floor.
The receptionist there had by now remembered the face of each of the members of Mohan Prasad Sharma’s family, thanks to their frequent visit, enquiring now and then. He reached the counter and the receptionist there had her reply ready as soon as she saw the boy walking towards her, “You need to wait for five minutes, let them call then only I can tell you anything”.
He had nothing to ask anymore and diligently took his seat on the chairs beside the counter trying to pass time on which he had become an expert in these four days, he picked up a magazine from the table and started going through its pages, watching the pictures and trying to find something interesting but there was nothing which could be interesting for the young boy who had his worries vowing him every moment but still he always tried to remain cool and charm and then something flashed in his memories, the morning incident, encounter of the girl who had urged him to do something which was out of the blue for this young and shabby boy. Her face had ignited a light somewhere within him which was fuelled by a new wave of energy.
Lost in those memories he didn’t even noticed that the five minutes had passed and then the receptionist called him “Listen hey….you” this voice was enough to draw his attention.
“Yes…” he replied and stood and walked towards the reception desk again with a pounding heart, he almost had sensed what was there to come but still he walked with a ray of hope alive somewhere and on reaching, looked towards the sister sitting there “I am sorry…….. They couldn’t get it still yet!!!!” she said in the most earnest manner.
Paarth had been prepared for it but still an intriguing sensation flooded his veins who just wanted to yell at her, sitting there infront him and scold her for not doing her work but he somehow controlled himself and asked “When you can tell then?”.
The lady who seemed always humble replied “I don’t know but hope till evening, I have contacted blood banks and hospitals in other cities even; they may give some reply by evening”.
Feeling once again defeated and dejected, Paarth turned walked and sat on the chair once again. He didn’t want to go to his mother to shatter her hopes once more and thought to wait there itself for sometime.
He picked up one of the magazines and started going through its pages which had covered his face, lost in the pictures of sizzling models and sports stars, the face of the girl once again came infront of his eyes, he jerked off his head trying to get rid of it but still it was too stubborn to get away, he turned on the pages on and on and reached the end. Thinking it finished, he closed it kept it back in the case and tried to find another one, he was just upto it, then itself he heard someone “Please sister please……..its urgent…..!!!!!!” a sin dilating feminine voice which instantly felt something to be familiar, he had heard that before.
He immediately kept the magazine aside and looked towards the reception counter and he was shocked, his whole body stunned at once, mouth opened wide. There was the same girl he met in the morning, the same girl who had acquired a space in his thoughts and memory; the impact of this shock was so implacable that he was just remained petrified for a moment with his body on the chair, eyes gazing her and hands still in midair above the table infront of him. The girl there, wearing a blue jeans and a cream sober kurta with a colorful dupatta and a pair of wide frame specs on her eyes and hair packed up together with the help of a hair clip was asking the receptionist about something serious, this would have lasted long if she hadn’t realized that a pair of curious eyes were staring at her. She instantly turned around and amazement wrestled her nerves “Waaa………..ow what a coincidence..!!!” finding the boy Paarth right infront of her. By now Paarth was back to normal and instantly got off from the chair with his eyes stuck on her and both said in chorus “You here…!!!!”.
There amazement was beyond par the ordinary, absolutely petrified by each others presence staring each other like anything, this moment the despairs, the worries of Paarth was lost somewhere and he could see just one thing infront of him, she and she, but a pinching question started to jostle his insides, he didn’t knew her name, how could he address her and then he tried to open his mouth emitting a flickering voice “Your……name…!!!!”. The gracious girl had her words for the question before he could complete his sentence “Pia……..Pia Rai” and she stretched her hand for shake and he instantly gave his for a very warm handshake which took place with overwhelmed faces glaring each other.
“So how you here?” he now asked.
She was quite courteous in reply “My Grand Maa… is admitted here she is suffering a kidney failure” her face lost its glory while saying this, the worry was back on it which Paarth had witnessed in morning while she was pleading the woman in line.
“Oh…….I am sorry!!!!” he instantly said.
“You needn’t to be, it’s all destiny and fate that should be blamed” and they both sat on the chair. She was lost in her thoughts for a moment and then suddenly she gazed into his eyes asking “And you, why are you here?”
The despair and distress was back on his face “My dad suffered a heart attack four days back and the doctors insisted for an urgent operation but our fate didn’t want that to happen easily so it forged a barrier which had risked his life now, his state is deteriorating day by day” he was almost in tears.
But Pia wanted to know more “What kind of barrier?”,
“Blood, his blood group O-, the rarest of the rare specimen which we haven’t been to arrange inspite of our sheer efforts for fourdays now”.
“What group did you say?” she instantly asked out.
“O-….” he replied with a bit hesitation in his voice. “But why?” he was riddled by a wave of sarcasm while she had was looking towards the boy with an ignited face which had lost its despair once more “Because I have the same blood group, O-, if you want then I can help you………..just for sake of humanity”.
Paarth’s face ignited at once, all his distress, despairs immediately got extinct and he looked towards Pia who was nothing less than a true angel sent by the God himself for him. There was little hesitation within for it “But why would you do that, you are just a stranger to me”,
“Oh…..come on, no one knows whose blood you are using from a blood bank and here you atleast have seen me, come on man, just for the sake of humanity” and he felt apprehended, he knew he couldn’t deny the help which was sent by the God himself to save the pity life of his father Mohan Prasad struggling between life and death for fourdays now and there was just two words in his mouth “Thanks Pia….. ” and suddenly Paarth’s happiness reached such heights that he couldn’t stop himself from embracing her in his arms while she even didn’t resisted and both were in eachothers arms the other instant looking like parted souls meeting after a long… long… time.