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A story of lost hope, second chances and finally finding the light at the end of the tunnel, unexpectedly.
I outrightly expressed my displeasure when Bina ticked the wheelchair option for me at the airport. I knew I had grown weak and required some assistance but my ego didn’t want to succumb to the physical weakness.
The doctor had recommended my case to surgeon based in London. He insisted that we should continue my treatment under his supervision. I hadn’t agreed initially but my debilitating health left me with no other option.
My days got longer and more painful with each session of chemotherapy. So strange is this disease. It slithers inside of you as an uninvited guest. It stays and eats your body up and slowly takes over it as a whole.
I am and have been a teetotaller and non-smoker throughout my life. When I got detected with cancer, my initial reaction (and that of my family) was of denial. Even after approaching numerous other oncologists, we weren’t convinced. Then the symptoms started to show and we had to swallow the bitter truth.
I was proud of my thick wavy hair and taut physique. I remember how Bina would get aroused each time I came out after a shower. She is my love and my life. I feel ashamed when I see her nursing me and taking care of me incessantly.
“Why don’t you agree to a wheelchair? It’ll make our life easier. The international airport is huge. It will too difficult to walk for long.” Bina said while packing the red suitcase with our clothes. We had used the same suitcase for our honeymoon two decades ago. I was the official porter for her not just for that trip but for all the ones after.
We both have been so involved and content with each other that the idea of extending our family never crossed our minds. We had decided to focus on our respective careers, going on exotic trips and saving for our retirement by investing wisely.
Never did I anticipate that my hard-earned money would be squandered on inhibiting the progress of this deadly disease.
“I’ll be fine with my walking stick. And then I have your strong hands to hold on to.” Though I replied with a smile, my heart shed a thousand tears of remorse and pain. The guilt of failing to be a normal husband killed me almost every day.
We got into the cab and started our journey towards the airport. The sun had still not risen. It was pitch dark outside. The smog had made the air warmer and heavier. But did it bother me? Not at all. It’s only after I grew weak that I understood that our desire for materialistic things go hand in hand with our health. The fading health takes away everything and snatches away all your dreams and aspirations.
“Look at the poster of Kareena’s new movie, she looks hot, doesn’t she?” Bina interrupted my thoughts. “Hmm!” I smiled. She understood my state of mind. Bina took my frail hand in hers, gave it a slight squeeze, and planted a kiss on it.
These days my smile doesn’t reach my eyes.
As we went through the process of submitting the baggage and getting ahead with the security checks and immigration, I grew weaker. They did expedite our process as we had the relevant documents to prove the reason for our trip.
“Just a few more minutes. Our flight is on time. You’ll be fine once we board it.” Bina assured me.
In moments we had boarded the flight. The air-hostess made sure that I was comfortable in every sense of the word.
Bina got up to freshen herself up and I was left to myself. The aircraft was packed. To my right, I saw a happy couple, cozily lost in each other. Then there was this young guy whose head was buried in a book. Probably a student, I guessed. A girl gang was all excited to go on their solo trip to London. Their laughter and chatter filled the air.
Everyone looked so happy. Each face had just some positive story to share. Suddenly, I grew envious of them. Why was everyone enjoying their life except for me? Slowly I found it difficult to breathe and my eyes turned hazy. In no time I blacked out.
I woke up to the beep-beep sound of the cardiogram. I was in a hospital bed. Bina was sitting beside me. She smiled when she realised I was awake and ran to inform the doctor.
The doctor came and checked my vitals. I was doing fine. “You were exhausted and fainted. They brought you here on time.” He explained and left.
“This is our second Life Taran. God has been kind. The flight crashed, no one survived.” She broke the news. I took some time to digest what she was saying. “The flight crashed. It’s all over the news.”
I remained mum. What is the point of having a life where you are close to dying every minute? But I was happy for Bina. She had the right to survive and stay happy.
A junior doctor barged into my room, excitedly saying, “We have good news for you guys. One of our patients has been declared brain dead. His relatives have agreed to donate his organs. If they matches yours…” he paused, “You know what I mean.” He gave a thumbs up and left the room. For the first time, after a long wait, I could see some light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m on the path of recovery, responding well to medicines and therapy. Bina and I have booked tickets for a getaway after ages. She looks happy and I’m at peace. I thanked God with all my heart.
But you know what? This time I didn’t ask, ‘Why me God?’
Image Source: Unsplash
Finance professional,an avid blogger. I write to keep the child in me happy and contented. Contributing author of the poetry anthology Nyctophilia.Children's book Airavata and The Femme of Animal Kingdom. read more...
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She would serve everyone fresh food and serve herself the stale rice and curries from the previous meal. Some days after finishing the leftovers she was so full she would not even be able to even taste the fresh food.
When I married the first time, my MIL told me that during the Navratri the lady of the house should not eat stale food. ‘Gharatlya bai ni shila khau naye’ — in refined upper caste Marathi.
I was just 26, eager to please, not versed in patriarchy or feminism, and it seemed like a positive thing — respect for the goddess in woman.
But soon I realised she spent the remaining 356 days of her year finishing leftovers. And that I was expected to do the same.
Story - Beauty: Shreya wondered, ‘Are they talking about me?’ ‘But what is the use of inner beauty if the exterior is unattractive?’ Ravi asked. Her heart skipped a beat, and now she listened with the utmost alacrity.
‘Beauty is skin deep, Ravi. In the long run, it’s the inner beauty that matters. I know Shreya is smart and I find her attractive.’ It was Chetan’s voice.
Shreya had paused for a moment on the open door of Ravi’s flat when she overheard him. It was the morning of 27th March, and she had come to give Ravi his surprise birthday present. She didn’t want to eavesdrop, but the conversation had caught her curiosity.
She wondered, ‘Are they talking about me?’