Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Chapter 15: Reunion

Do you regret not expressing enough? Do you feel that you should have opened up more about the way you feel for a loved one? Do you think no matter how much you tell, but it isn't less whenever you express your love? Then what is the best way to let the other person know that you love him/her?
The only way is to live each moment in the present, without sulking about the past and without day-dreaming or worrying about the future.
***
It was almost early morning. The watchmen rushed Rafey and Raji to the hospital. Mansoor reached when one of the watchmen called him up informing about the mishap. Rafey gained his consciousness and found himself in the hospital bed. His head was heavy and it spun. He felt the saline drip through the veins. He took a glance up, slowly scanning the ward. He saw Mansoor lay on the couch. Mansoor's forehead bore worry lines and Rafey wondered what would he have gone through, seeing him lay like this on bed.
Rafey tried to move his limbs to see how much he had been hurt. He could move his hands and legs easily without effort.It ached a little, but he as sure it wasn't serious. He tried to get up, his eyes stuck on Mansoor.
Mansoor sensed the movement and woke up.
"Stay put, son. Rest!", Mansoor said.
"What happened? Where is Raji?", Rafey asked, calmly. He knew nothing would go wrong.
He did not let the dread reflect in his voice.
The last scene that he could remember was Raji lying on the road, motionless.
"Raji just got operated, Rafey. She is in the ICU", Mansoor replied.
"What happened, Chachu?", Rafey asked, getting emotional.
The doctor came in, the moment he heard a conversation going on in Rafey's ward.
"Raji broke her ribs and collar bone. She had to be operated, Rafey", the doctor said, approaching Rafey.
"And how is she doing?", Rafey questioned, still maintaining his calm.
"She is not doing good. I have informed her parents. Their flight is delayed. They will be here by 10 am. Mansoor spoke to them, though", he said.
"No, what exactly do you mean by 'not doing good'? Can I see her?", Rafey asked.
“You are not in a state to move. You have had a concussion yourself. Your blood pressure is low. I'd suggest you rest here. I shall keep you updated", the doctor said.
"Do you understand when I say I want to see her", Rafey yelled. For the first time, Mansoor had seen Rafey agitated.
"You have to stay calm, sir. I will keep you informed, I said", the doctor replied.
Rafey lay in his bed silently feeling utterly helpless. Mansoor sat next to him.
"Chachu. It's not as serious as death and all, right?", he asked Mansoor.
"No beta", Mansoor consoled him, noticing the exact same expressions when Rafey gave, perhaps when he came to terms with Shareeq's death.
"She'll be fine. Just fine!", Mansoor murmured as Rafey closed his eyes.
Mansoor's mind was as blank as it never was. He did not know what to say, or do. He patiently waited for Mr and Mrs Ahuja to arrive.

***
Raji lay on the bed, amidst the life supporting system. Her eyes silently shed tears. Was it the pain of the accident or was she dreaming?
"Raji. You know we can have huge gulmohar tree by the side of our house", Rafey said.
"You think we will get seeds for that tree?", Raji asked candidly, "Else how will we plant it?", she added.
"Hmm.. Yeah, I will ask Javed. He might know", Rafey said.
"But imagine we'll have to live for 150 years until the tree grows and becomes as big as we want it to be", Raji said.
"So let’s live forever! We can then see our grandchildren play on it too", Rafey sounded dreamy.
"Why don't we just construct a house next to an already grown Gulmohar tree, huh?", Raji extended an idea.
"That sounds realistic", Rafey replied.
Raji smiled. She smiled as she lay on the bed fighting for her life.She wasn't dead. She was asleep. Sound asleep. And she was dreaming.
Mansoor who was standing outside the ICU, peeping through the glass portion, noticed Raji smiling. He knew she would make it. He was confident that she won't die.
He did not tell the doctors that he saw her smiling. Instead he approached and asked the doctor, "Sir, are her heart beats normal?"
"Yes. She is breathing normally. But she had a very severe accident. It will take a lot of time for her to even sit and chew food", the doctor said.
"And will she able to talk?", asked Mansoor.
"Not any time sooner. She is alive. She may survive. But how well, I am not sure", the doctor said.
"If I could ask you for a favour, could you please do it?", Mansoor asked.
"Please let Rafey see Raji", Mansoor offered.
"Ok", the doctor agreed reluctantly.
***
Rafey slowly walked into the ICU. He did not react, nor felt anything. He slowly took the seat besides her and observed her breathe. He watched her chest go up and down. He saw the tubes, attached to her nostrils move. Her lips apart. Her eyes closed.
He wondered how much pain she must have felt. He noticed the constant stream of tear flowing through her eyes.
He spoke "Raji. You know! You should wake up now. It's our birthday!"
Slowly, he held her hand, making sure he didn't disturb the tubes that hung to her body.He only wished that all that was happening wasn't real. He wished it were just a dream.
"Good morning Junta. Here's RJ, wishing you a happy friendship's day week ahead", Rafey recollected Raji's voice.
He thought, she would have had to ideally report to work in 2 hours, to run the morning show. But she was lying there, fighting to stand up and live life the way it was meant to be.
"Raji, you should get well soon. You have to resume work. We miss listening to you", Rafey said.
"I miss listening to you on radio, RJ", Rafey sounded low.
"I miss listening to you", he said again.
"I miss you. And I don't want to lose you again!", Rafey let his emotions flow.
He had not known the pain of losing someone. He had lost his parents even before he could understand what loss and gain meant. He really did not feel the pain then, because he wasn't cognizant of the fact of what WAS and what WASN'T.
He recollected the evening that he'd spend with  Raji. He wished he could rewind the time and make sure everything was ok, again.
He looked at her, held her hand tighter.
"Get up Raji. I know you are just asleep. In pain. I wish I could share it", Rafey said, realising that his emotions were flowing incessantly.
He allowed himself to cry.
He sighed, "I love you so much. I wish you could hear and know, that I will never leave you again", Rafey said. "I stay with you forever. I promise. Not just for this one month, but forever", he added.
Raji was still asleep, motionless.
Mr and Mrs Ahuja, came in and heard what Rafey spoke.
"Rafey, she'll be alright. You need to have faith", Mr. Ahuja said.
He looked at them, wondering how strong could they be.
"We just had a talk with the doctor. They say she will get through", Mrs. Ahuja said, holding back her tears, sounding as practical as she could.
He remembered the 'Ahuja Aunty', he knew. She hadn't changed a bit. He stance, her integrity, her conviction was all in place. She was behaving totally against his expectations. He thought any one would cry hopelessly over such a situation, but they were a strong family.
He felt the strength they passed on to him.
Mr. Ahuja, gave him a hug. Rafey cried hopelessly. Mansoor looked at him and held back his tears too.
It was more of a reunion for them.
***
As time passed by, Raji gained consciousness and began responding to the treatment.
Rafey would visit her everyday. He had become a replacement at RJ's office too, and he would play a jockey, recite poems in Urdu and the English songs slot was replaced by Ghazals.
The junta loved him too.
He still worked as a Pizza Delivery boy, after being RJ's replacement. He was a hit! He would update the junta about Raji's recovery. The junta looked forward to the updates too.
One fine day Mr. Ahuja asked Rafey, "You think my daughter likes you too?"
Rafey looked perplexed at the kind of question that Mr. Ahuja threw at him.
"I know you like her. But when we weren't around, did she tell that she liked you too?", Mr. Ahuja asked.
Rafey did not reply. He did not know what he should have said.
"Let me ask her then", Mr.Ahuja chuckled.
"Raji, you think he's a nice guy?", he asked his daughter.
Raji smiled with a lot of efforts.
"You think he is good enough to pull your wheel chair for a  year and then pull the entire life with you?", he laughed at his own joke.
Raji beamed. Rafey stood there in shock wondering at the optimism of a father who had his daughter crippled, motionless, with her ribs and collar bone fractured, talking this way.
"So, Rafey. It all looks good", he said.
“She'll be up and active within a year’s time. You game?", he propsed.
Rafey finally said, "Sir, I'd love to be with her, more than anything else".
Mansoor came in right then and said, "Ahuja Saab, I think they like being children, insane and innocent. They don't wanna grow up. Let them be together"
"Yes. I think so too", Mr Ahuja said, as he kissed his daughter's forehead.
"You have to get better soon, love", he told Raji.
She simply sighed and winked at her father.
***
It all got better with time.
Rafey found a reason to live and someone to love, someone to call his own. And Raji waited until she could speak about her dream of building a house next to a Gulmohar tree, because she realised, that her life was all about The Gulmohar tree and Rafey!
***
The End
***
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