Life as we didn’t know it – Part 3, here is a last part of this story. Mrs Khandelwal continued to stare at Dr Baisakhi’s ever smiling face. She turned around to check for his neatly arranged desk but it wasn’t there.
Strange! Instead she found herself looking at the ‘badly-need-painting’ walls of the ICU. The beeping sound of the cardiac monitoring machine slowly filled the noiseless situation. Aarav suddenly flashed on her mind and she turned toward the bed.
She stared in disbelief as she saw Aarav still lying down but with his eyes open. He stared back at her and let out a feeble smile. As she continued to stare at Aarav, she let her trembling hands wipe the anxiety sweat on her brow. From behind her, she suddenly heard Dr Baisakhi speak calmly. ‘You seem to have been extremely tired, Mrs Khandelwal. Whilst you were asleep, Aarav miraculously regained his consciousness.’
It was then that it occurred to her that she had fallen asleep at his bedside and then dreamt of the whole fiasco. A terrible one at that. She felt relieved. Relieved to an extent that she had never felt a feeling as wonderful as this. There was no better a feeling in this world for a mother than to see her bonny son recover. She looked at Dr Baisakhi and his team smiling back at her. For some reason, they also looked equally relieved.
Dr Baisakhi stepped forward. ‘A fall from the second floor can be very lethal but Aarav is a fighter and responded positively to the treatment.’ He paused to take a breath. In the meanwhile, she planted a kiss on Aarav’s forehead, who in turn widened his smile. Unaware of Mrs Khandelwal’s dream, he continued to speak in the same calm tone. ‘Mrs Khandelwal, I’m sure you do not remember me but I sure remember your mom.’
She raised her eyebrows as she did not realise where this was headed. Her pupil adjusted itself as she intently focused on his face. ‘Thirty years back, as a young boy, I had knocked on the door of your house. I was selling encyclopaedias for a meagre living. The door opened and I saw your mother stare back at me but when she saw my tired face, she immediately offered to give me something to eat and fresh fruit juice to drink. I was never meant to forget that beautiful moment.’
He paused to catch a breath again and continued speaking to an utterly surprised soul. ‘When you filled in your maiden name in the register, which you would agree is unique enough to go unnoticed, I looked you up on Face book and I saw one of the pictures where you were standing next to your mom. Tears welled up in my eyes as I recollected that day when I really had no money to buy myself food for the day. I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for that day. It has left an indelible impression on my life. I will retire for the day for now.’ And he left the ICU.
She was still recovering from what she had just heard when she felt another warm hand on her shoulder. This time it was hardly difficult to guess. She had felt the warmth of this hand for the last whole decade. She turned around and wept uncontrollably in Mr Khandelwal’s strong arms. Five days later, Mrs and Mr Khandelwal walked out of the hospital along with a healthier Aarav with the same beautiful feeling that Dr Baisakhi had thirty years back. Aarav’s hospital bills showed no dues owed.
Other Suggested Reads: Life as we didn’t know it! – Part 1