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Coming To Terms
If only resolving things were easy! thought Aryan Ahuja. In his lifetime of dealing with law suits, he had come across several cases where people almost won the case and then lost it hands down just because a witness had turned hostile.
Here was a case he had tried solving for years. Here was a family he had attempted hard to unite. And yet, he had failed. Even though there were more opportunities for him to reach out and resolve matters, he had been unable to get a little family to unite in harmony.
Have I really lost it? Who was I trying to fool? This was no case. This was life itself. Here was a little girl sleeping on the bed. All that she had wanted was that her Papa and Mamma never ever fight. But, did they ever think of her whenever they allowed their negative emotions let loose? Today, none of them had won the case – not Shekhar, not Tara, not Roohi….And of course, not Ahuja himself.
“Mamma. Mamma” muttered Roohi in her sleep.
Ahuja, sitting next to her on a wooden chair touched her head and whispered, “Sleep my child. Sleep. Your Mamma will be fine.”
Disturbed by the unfamiliar touch Roohi woke up. “Where is Papa?” she demanded. “I want to see Mamma.”
“I will take you there Roohi.”
“I want to go NOW!”
“Your Papa will call and then we can go.”
“No! No! I want to go” Roohi threw aside the sheet covering her and made an attempt to run.
Ahuja caught her in his arms and clutching both her arms tightly said, “Listen to me Roohi. You can go only after your father calls. How will your mother recover if you behave like this?”
The reprimanding did the job and Roohi slumped into the chair.
“Ok Uncle” she said softly.
Trring. Trrring. Trrrring.
“Haan Ahujaji. Please bring Roohi to the hospital.”
“Theek hai Shekhar. I shall bring her. How is Tara by the way? Has her health improved? What did the doctors say?”
“Not very positive news. I shall tell you when you come there.”
Tara’s sparkling white bed was surrounded by doctors and nurses in equally white coats and dresses. The entire room looked like a sea of white colours except for the patient dressed in a blue gown. Tara’s eyes were closed. Unlike her usual charming, aggressive self, the person that lay before the medical fraternity was a weak, vulnerable body breathing slowly with the help of a ventilator. Shekhar was seated outside the ICU fully aware that the doctors were doing their best. But, would he and Tara get a second chance together, he wondered.
“Papa!” Roohi came running towards her father.
Shekhar hugged his little daughter wondering how he could ever compensate for all the discomfort and pain that Roohi was going through.
Ahuja watched from afar. He knew how much Shekhar and Roohi meant to each other. He also knew that Shekhar and Roohi were here for Tara only because they loved her, imperfections and all. He left them alone and walked towards the hospital canteen to get Shekhar something to eat. From the looks of him, he did not look as if he had eaten at all.
When Ahuja came back with the snacks he shocked to see Shekhar shouting frantically at the doctors and nurses.
He rushed towards the crowd.
“I am Shekhar’s friend. What is the problem Doctor” he said addressing to the Doctor.
“Then, please control your friend. There is only this much that a doctor can do. After that it depends on how fast the patient recovers and of course, one’s belief and prayers.”
“But, what is the matter Doctor” asked an equally agitated Ahuja. Here was Shekhar terribly upset and out of control, Roohi was sitting on the bench crying and the doctors were speaking in riddles!
“Well, it looks like it will take a while for the patient to recover. The body is recovering from the accident but the brain seems to be in a state of eh…eh non acceptance.
“Oh! By that do you mean ‘coma?’
“Not exactly…but it could turn into that if the patient does not gain consciousness. She is under some kind of shock and is not coming out it.”
“How long will it take for the patient to regain consciousness?”
“That is the tricky part. We cannot predict that.”
“So, for how long should she be here in the hospital?”
“Once, she is able to breathe on her own; she will be able recover consciousness. After that the patient can be discharged.”
Days passed into weeks. It now became a regular feature for Roohi to get down from the school bus and go straight to Ahuja’s house. Shekhar would come home to wash, change and have something to eat, usually at Ahuja’s place. During those times, he would confide in Ahuja about the mistakes he had committed, about taking life too lightly or too seriously at times. Those were the times when Ahuja and he would bond like long lost friends. How much it helped Shekhar, this Ahuja could not make out but this much he understood that it made Shekhar more calmer and more hopeful. And after that, he would rush back to the hospital. Ahuja would bring Roohi to see her unconscious mother during visiting hours and then, take her back home.
One fine day, when Shekhar was sitting next to Tara, he saw her fingers move – a small movement but it certainly did take place. The nurse and then the doctor were duly informed. It was indeed a kind of improvement.
Tara is going to come back. My Tara.
Mamma is coming home.
The family will be one at last.
Positive cheerful thoughts running in the minds of Shekhar, Roohi and Ahuja. But, would it really happen? Was life so generous as to forgive past errors and grant an empty blackboard to start afresh?
Tara opened her eyes. Shekhar was seated on one side of the bed. Roohi on the other side. Her family was there for her. What else mattered!
I will start afresh. I will forget the past. Of what use is success if it meant breaking up the very home that she had helped built up from scratch? Of what use is a perfect man if it meant being unfaithful with her imperfect husband? Of what use was material satisfaction if it meant not being able to spend time with her baby Roohi? She was not perfect either! Thinking all this, Tara smiled and went back to sleep…..hoping to wake up in a world that was peaceful and loving….
( Read the next part of the story HERE)