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“When I hug Janashi, I feel Vihaan’s heartbeat, when Jacob looks at me, I can Vihaan’s eyes looking at me. Each time Syed hugs me, I feel like it is Vihaan.”
Rohit was busy looking at his papers he was about to present at a seminar that day. Someone came close to him and was waiting for him to lift his head. Rohit looked up after a moment and exclaimed, “Hitesh! What a surprise! What are you doing here?”
Hitesh and Rohit had been classmates and best buddies. Though Hitesh lived in the US, they both kept in touch with each other. Hitesh was equally excited to meet Rohit. “I came yesterday to attend this seminar and I knew you were attending this seminar, so I thought I’d surprise you.”
Both shook hands and shared a warm hug. They spent almost four hours together and, Rohit invited Hitesh for lunch the next day.
Hitesh reached Rohit’s home around 11:30am. He was bored at his room and wanted to spend time with his friend. As he rang the doorbell, and waited for someone to open the door, he heard kids laughter and Rohit pleading with them to stop.
Confused, he thought to him, ‘what is going on?’ before ringing the bell again. This time, Rohit opened the door.
Rohit was wearing a t-shirt and pajamas, his hair was in ponytails and someone had put powder and lipstick all over his face. Looking at him, Hitesh couldn’t control his laughter and burst into an uncontrollable laugh. “Arrey! Who did this to you! Look at you! You look like someone straight out of an asylum!” he continued.
Cleaning his face, Rohit said, “It’s the kids. They were playing and I dozed off in the middle of it. So they made me a joker.”
Hitesh was taken back. He looked at Rohit in astonishment and said “Rohit, What are you saying? Last year I had heard about Vihaan. Now you are saying our kids. Where is Yashika?”
Yashika was busy in the kitchen, Hitesh could hear waves of laughter from the kitchen area as well and it was cute giggles of kids. Rohit took him inside and introduced him to his wife Yashika and kids. “Hitesh this is my wife, Yashika”
Yashika and Hitesh exchanged hellos and smile. Rohit continued “This is my daughter Janashi, my elder son Syed and younger son Joy.”
Hitesh was amazed, “Rohit I am totally confused. Can you clear my doubts, please? My head is spinning. I know you had a son Vihaan, he was your only son and… and…you…”
Hitesh could not complete his words. Rohit smiled and gave Hitesh a glass of water.
And he started speaking, “Yes Hitesh, Vihaan was my beloved son and our only child till last year. He was a smart and brilliant boy and was jovial and playful. Everyday, he would ask me to spend time with him- go cycling, play football, go out. But I was so busy with my work that I hardly spent any time with him.
“He wanted to be an environmentalist when he grew up and would often visit parks, making notes of trees, birds and butterflies that he saw. One day when he was on his way back from the park, he was hit by a biker performing some stunt on the street. Vihaan fell off his cycle and came under the wheels of a passing truck. A passerby took him to the hospital and informed us of the accident,” Rohit continued.
“We rushed to the hospital and found our son wrapped in bandages from head to toe, lying in an ICU. He was unconscious, and on life support. Yashika broke down and cursed her fate and the Almighty for doing this to Vihaan. I ran from pillar to post to save my only son. He was punished for someone else’s mistake.
“Police nabbed the culprits, all were teenagers between 16 and 18. Their parents were not even aware that their kids were performing stunts during college hours. We felt as though our world was shattered and we didn’t know what to do. Trust me Hitesh no one should go through the pain that Yashika and I suffered. Vihaan was on life support for 3 months, I was next to him all the time, but my son was not in the position to enjoy my company.
“Dr. Ashok Chandra tried his best to save my son, but not even point one percent of improvement was seen in Vihaan’s condition. One day Yashika and I were called to meet Dr. Sharbjit Singh, the senior-most doctor. He explained Vihaan’s condition and said it would be better to pull off the life support as there was no improvement.
“Yashika and I broke down, we both were inconsolable. Dr. Singh tried to pacify us. He told us that Vihaan could be immortalised if we had the heart to donate his organs and save some other children’s lives.
“He told us that Vihaan could be a part of the world even after his death. That there were several young children waiting for donors. And that in our country, people hesitate to donate organs they are under a myth that if they donate organs after death, they will be born with deformities in the next incarnation.
“Dr. Singh said he wanted to show us something. So we followed him and saw three children with their parents waiting for us. Janashi had a hole in her heart and she needed a heart transplant. Jacob was a victim of some idiots mistake. Someone lit crackers and it hit Jacob’s eyes. Syed was suffering from Bone marrow cancer. He could be cured if some donor went forward for a bone marrow transplant. All three kids belong to the same blood group as Vihaan and his organs match with these kids,” Rohit took a deep breath before he continued.
“I was in dilemma, and Yashika was not at all convinced. She was shedding tears and was inconsolable. Dr. Ashok Chandra and Dr. Singh somehow managed to convince us. We bid a teary goodbye to Vihaan, for the last time I kissed his forehead before sending him away. Vihaan’s life support was pulled off and his organs were donated. Yashika and I were left with Vihaan’s memories,” Rohit wiped the tears rolling in his cheeks.
“I slowly came out of the pain, I started going back to the office. Yashika was sinking to depression, Vihaan was her soul. Her pain was immeasurable and she was inconsolable. She was Vihaan’s friend, philosopher and teacher. They both used to play, hang out and fight with each other. Vihaan’s demise had taken away Yashika from me.
“Then one day Jacob’s parents, Rita and John had come to see Yashika. Rita was very concerned about Yashika and wanted to do something to bring Yashika back to life. She spoke to the other parents. They came to the decision that every weekend all three kids would spend time with us. They address Yashika and I as mom and dad.
“We have the liberty to take them out, play with them and spend time. I am very thankful to Rita for this. After kids started coming on weekends, Yashika slowly started her life again. She became a mom again and started taking good care of kids. And she quit her high paying job and took up a job as a pre-nursery teacher so that she can be occupied with kids. She eagerly waits for weekends to be with kids.
“Whenever I hug Janashi, I could feel Vihaan’s heartbeat, when Jacob looks at me, I can Vihaan’s lovely eyes looking at me. Each time Syed hugs me, I feel as if Vihaan hugged me. God was cruel to us by snatching our only son but he was generous again to bless us with 3 kids. Now they are my kids, no sorry they are our kids,” Rohit finally stopped.
Hitesh was very moved by this, he could not say a word. He looked at Yashika, as she set the table for lunch and kids were lending a helping hand to her. Once they finished all three kids gave her a warm hug. Hitesh’s eyes filled with tears at the sight.
P.S: Dedicated to those lovely souls, who donated their organs and leading an immortal life even after death.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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