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Sorry, I Touched Her…

In marriages, naming ceremonies, baby showers..almost every important occasion she was meted with the same treatment. Each time she felt a deep pang of anguish like she was stabbed with a dagger.

In marriages, naming ceremonies, baby showers..almost every important occasion she was meted with the same treatment. Each time she felt a deep pang of anguish like she was stabbed with a dagger.

Neha got down from the cab and adjusted the pleats of her saree. The blazing sun right overhead made her squint. Her eyes darted all across the street till it rested on a well decorated hall. The entrance was adorned with flowers of multiple hues. Correcting her frizzy hair which moved all over her forehead in place, she entered the hall. Her long plait moved back and forth in rhythm with the movement of her hips.

The place was bustling with women of all ages and sizes. She stood for a minute trying to locate her dear friend Aadya. Aadya was sitting on a well-cushioned seat on a stage surrounded by women on all sides. There was a flurry of activity going on.

Aadya looked resplendent in a green kanjeevaram saree. Her face glowed with an inner radiance. Her long hair was plaited to the end and was covered with white jasmine. It was Aadya’s baby shower. The table laid in front of her was laden with sweetmeats and savouries.

“Excuse me, excuse me” mumbled Neha as she made her way towards Aadya who was the centre of attraction for the day.

“Hey Aadya!” She waved once she came close to her earshot.

Aadya’s face beamed like a full moon on seeing her close friend. She waved back and gestured her to come up on stage.

Just then Revathi, Aadya’ s mom patted Aadya on her shoulders and moved her head from right to left unpleasently.

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“Why have you called her for this auspicious occasion? Don’t let her touch you or the pooja items. It’s considered apshakun. When will you grow up?” Revathi widened her eyes and admonished her daughter.

Aadya’s face fell like a deflated balloon. She knew how adamant her mother was over such issues.

Revathi gave the tray of flowers she was carrying to the lady standing close to her. “I’ll be back,” she mumbled as she got down the stage and made her way towards Neha.

Neha immediately understood what was happening. This was not the first time she had faced this situation. In marriages, naming ceremonies, baby showers..almost every important occasion she was meted with the same treatment. Each time she felt a deep pang of anguish like she was stabbed with a dagger. “What have I done so wrong?” was the rhetorical question that went round and round in her mind.

She turned to go when Revati caught up with her. “Hello, Neha. How nice to see you! Why don’t you sit down? It’s very crowded on stage. In another half an hour food will be served. You can have lunch and then leave. I will give Aadya your regards. Come,” she tugged at Neha’s hand without giving her a chance to speak.

She led her to the far end of the hall and pointed at a corner seat.

Neha plonked down, swallowing the lump that had formed at the base of her throat that almost choked her. She wiped off the small drops of tears that had formed at the edge of her ocean like eyes.

She thought the best thing to do was to leave the place.

Just then she heard a loud pandemonium, frantic cries from ladies gathered around.

“The ladies had done the arthi and one of them fed her some food according to custom. Aadya took one bite of it and on hearing something funny said by her mother laughed, and choked on the food. Oh, God!! Look how she is coughing and getting breathless,” a lady was explaining in a loud voice.

On overhearing this conversation, Neha dropped her handbag and rushed forward yelling, “Make way, make way!” She barged ahead shoving people aside.

Tucking her pallu to one side, holding on to her saree pleats she got on to the stage.

By then Aadya was holding on to her throat and coughing in bouts, struggling to breathe. Her face had turned crimson red. Her mom was trying to make her drink water. A young lass was massaging Aadya’s chest.

“Get off the stage. All of you. Now!” Neha yelled.

The frightened ladies immediately scampered down.

Neha went up to Aadya. She had to be very careful as Aadya was heavily pregnant.

“Keep coughing Aadya, Nothing to worry. You will be fine” Neha spoke softly but assertively.

She instructed Aadya’s mom to take off Aadya’s gold ornaments.

Neha gingerly held Aadya with one hand, made her lean forward and thumped between her shoulder blades 5 times. When that didn’t work, she held Aadya just below her breast bone and gave her inward thrusts. Within a few seconds, Aadya spat out the food that was lodged in her throat and just collapsed. She had stopped breathing. Neha got down on all fours and performed CPR. Within a few seconds, Aadya started taking shallow breaths. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Revati clasped both her hands and uttered a silent prayer.

“Please pass me my bag,” Neha requested a lady within earshot.

But by the time the lady reacted Revati rushed to where Neha was sitting earlier and fetched her bag.

Neha pulled out a stethoscope and checked Aadya’s heartbeat and her pulse. “Everything is normal. Drink plenty of water and take rest,” advised Neha, patting Aadya’s cheeks.

Revati rushed towards Aadya and hugged her.

“Sorry, I touched her,” squeaked Neha wiping the sweat off her face.

Revati was too shocked to say anything. She stood there with an apologetic look on her face. She still could not understand how the meek lady who had followed her instructions had transformed into a someone so much in control,  barking out instructions and handled the situation so deftly. She had actually saved Aadya’ s life.

Neha walked away even as she heard Aadya calling out to her.

Society had given her the title ‘widow’ after her husband’s death. People feared that she would bring ill-luck to them and avoided her during auspicious occasions.

But today Neha had shrugged off the title given by society and heeded to the call of duty. Doctor, the title that she had acquired because of her hard work and perseverance had stood up for her.

Dr.Neha walked out of the hall with her head held high.

This article was published here first.

Image source: shutterstock

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About the Author

Vidya Sanath

I am a certified digital content writer. I enjoy reading and writing. My thoughts effortlessly cascade down into ripples of short stories and poems. For me, writing has proven to be cathartic. Fitness and diet read more...

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