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Friday, 29 April 2016

While We Can



Meera was sitting near the window, blankly staring out, lost in deep thoughts. Her appearance narrated what happened earlier that day. She could not hide her dried up tears from Kavya, her 19year old daughter, who had just returned from her college. Kavya understood that her parents had again fought that day and her father Vikram must have let his hand lose. “Why can’t he just leave us alone; get himself killed or something.” Spat Kavya angrily. “Shut up Kavya!” scolded her mother “You have no rights to talk ill against your father. Has he ever abused you, or even laid his finger on you? He works day in and day out only for us. It is not wise of you to interfere between us. We fight today and tomorrow we would get along.” “Mom here the tomorrow will come after months.” Saying this Kavya stormed into her room and banged the door. 

Vikram was a wonderful father, a loving husband and a very responsible man. But all his goodness was eclipsed by his Anger and short tempered nature, which made Kavya resentful against her father. 

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Kavya was strolling down the road, blankly staring around at the trees and buildings when her phone rang “Hello” “Come soon Kavya” it was her mother weeping profusely, “Look what the doctor is saying.” “Ma stop crying, I am reaching hospital in 5 minutes” Kavya was just a few yards away from the hospital, she broke into a run and hurried. 

Vikram was admitted in the hospital when he complained of a severe pain in the stomach few days back. The doctors performed all the necessary tests and were awaiting the report of the biopsy. 

When Kavya reached the hospital she could hear her mother crying on the second floor, even at the entrance. She lacked the patience for the elevator; so she ran up the stairs and met the doctor who was trying to console her mom. Doctor pronounced that her father was diagnosed with a malignant third stage colon cancer and needs an immediate surgery. Hearing this, her heart sank, for a moment she was perplexed, but soon she masked all her strength so that her mother doesn’t lose her composure. Meera was a simple lady so Kavya very easily convinced her that Dad will be all right and that they can cure cancer these days. She asked her mom to wear a smile and go in dad’s room. They decided not to inform him anything about cancer. Then she went to the doctor’s cabin to discuss their plan of action: the date of the surgery, chemotherapies etc. etc. . . . While leaving from the cabin she requested the doctor to not give any difficult news to anyone in her family except her. That night she cried herself to sleep. She was hurt that her father will have to go through so much suffering but she was hurt more that her mother will suffer along with him. Next morning she went to the hospital so that her mom could go home and rest for some time. Her father enquired worried if she didn’t have to go to college that day. “No, I will work on my project from here” She Lied. Kavya was in her final year of graduation. But at the moment she was only concerned about her parents. 

Her father was operated on September 21st. Kavya’s friends had reached the hospital before any of her relatives did; she was awed as they never had punctuality hormone in them. Nevertheless, may not in words, but she felt immense gratitude for them. Meera told Vikram he had tuberculosis that will be cured after the surgery. Vikram asked Meera to tell Kavya that it was only a minor cyst. So that she is not worried. Kavya was touched by this gesture of her father. Vikram was discharged after being a month in the hospital. In this time Meera and Kavya would take turns in the hospital. Meera would be there at night while Kavya during the day. Meera's younger sister took care of the household affairs. Other relatives visited once in a while. Coincidentally Vikram was discharged on the day of Meera's birthday. She was very happy. 

Now was the time to tell Vikram the truth. Without which they could not take him for his chemotherapies. Meera had no courage to do that. Kavya had researched a lot in the meanwhile. She downloaded pictures and explained everything to her father carefully filtering the details of its dangers. Her father was heartbroken. He was only 47yr old. But what surprised him was how strong Kavya had become. In that moment he felt that his daughter had grown up. He mentioned to his close friend once that he draws his strength from Kavya's courage.

After 12 sessions of chemotherapy the reports showed that cancer was under control. Vikram and Meera were very happy but Kavya knew it was only a matter of time. However, she didn't want to snatch those moments of joy. They went for a small vacation to their native place. Who knew it then that it would be their last family vacation together. 

Kavya cleared her graduation with distinction. Vikram was very proud of her. He thought fondly of her always. Kavya was always grateful to her teachers and friends who did all they could to help her. After they returned from their vacation, various tests were again performed to check the condition of Vikram. Kavya went to the hospital to collect the reports. And the worst had shown its face as anticipated by Kavya. She didn't know this time how she would convey this to her father. Her besties Vansh and Simran were always there for her. They never expressed much to each other but everything seemed to be communicated perfectly. Simran took an off from her work and accompanied Kavya to the doctor along with her parents. 
Tumour had spread all over his body, which meant all that they had been through only got them few months. For the first time Kavya saw moistened eyes of her father. 
Vikram took another six sessions of chemotherapy, then oral chemo tablets. With great efforts had Kavya managed to stop her eyes from pouring when her father told her in surprise, "Kavya look my hair just came off." That day she couldn't ignore how her father had changed from wheatish to burnt-black. How a majestic lion had shrunk into a tiny lamb. 
Months passed and Vikram's health was only deteriorating. Doctors had started giving him morphine to manage his pain. They were done trying everything Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Naturopathy but it was too late for anything to work. They had sold all their properties, except the house they lived in, sold all their gold, exhausted all the policies and took huge sum of loan; did everything possible to keep Vikram along for as long as they could. He still had hopes that he would survive, he would ask Kavya to request the doctors to treat him without fees and that he would pay them later but Kavya could not answer anything. 

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

It was Kavya's 21st birthday. She spent her morning with her parents. Then she went out with Simran who had arranged a surprise meet with Nihal an old friend of Kavya who would be her companion for the rest of her life. Nihal proposed his feelings to Kavya that day knowing all the complications he would have to face. He chose to stand by her side when she needed someone the most. When she returned home her father had also planned a surprise for her. She was overwhelmed with so many emotions all at once she didn't know what to feel, knowing that this was most certainly her last birthday with her father. That's all she got, 21years with her lovely father and only few months in which she realised how wonderful he was. 

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Vikram had now become bed ridden. His legs had swollen and he had become extremely delicate. The dose of morphine was increased. Day by day he was losing his consciousness. All the relatives had gathered in the home. Kavya would just sit next to Vikram all the time. Meera was not able to see Vikram in that condition. She would be out of the room, trying to act normal. On the night of 30th April, Vikram passed stool in his diaper. So the men in the house asked Kavya to move out of the room so that they could clean and bathe him. But he would not leave her hand even for a minute. She told him very gently that she will wait out only till he is fresh and changed into new clothes. He agreed. 
Kavya went out, kept her head in her mother's lap and cried. She was breaking down. Her mother and aunt tried in vain to console her. It was only when her uncle came to call her back in Vikram's room that she masked a smile and went back. 
She and her cousin were joking with Vikram. And he was smiling. He was not able to speak much so with great difficulty he said, "I want to sleep now we will talk tomorrow" he touched Kavya's face and closed his eyes. 

In the morning, Vikram was breathing heavily, he was not responding to anyone's call. They knew it would be any time now. Kavya went to take bath. She had only poured a jug water on her head when her aunt knocked at the door saying "Your Dad is leaving" Kavya lost her composure, she hurriedly put on her clothes and ran out. She was trying to wake him up. She was shaking him and weeping, “Paa, Paa wake up please. Talk to me." Her aunt pulled her away. She was losing her senses. The time drowned in their tears, Kavya would suddenly start laughing and then start crying. She had no comprehension of what was going on. She cried till sleep closed her eyes. She slept with her mom and Simran in her Parent's room. 

"I wish I could tell him how much I loved him. I wish I realized this earlier. All my life I spited him. All he gave me was Love." It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever. Until that day she never realised that she loved her father more than anyone in the world, just like he did. She spent all her life hating him and now she craved for one moment in which she could thank him for all he did and tell him how much he meant to her. She begged her destiny for one moment in which she could hug her father. But the mysterious thing – Time – Once you lose it, you can never have it back. The problem is we think we have TIME. 

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

One morning at breakfast Meera and Kavya were having a light conversation few days before her wedding. Meera told Kavya that one morning when Vikram was alive and they were having breakfast, Vikram with tears in his eyes had thanked Meera for tolerating him throughout their lives together. He said that he was sorry and that he never meant to hurt her but was helplessly enslaved by his own temper. Kavya could only smile. She realized people are not bad. It’s just their habits.

*****  ***** *****  *****  ***** *****


It’s been 4 years now Kavya is married to Nihal and has a 1yr old son who was born on the same day her father left her. She is busy in her life but there is a Vikram shaped hollow in her heart that she has fairly patched with all the good memories she had of her Father. 

If we waste our time in judging people
We have no time to Love them
Life has taught her to
Express, Care and Love
While We Can. . .

3 comments:

  1. ������
    Very much touched with every sentence of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just got to know you little more through this write up.....loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just got to know you little more through this write up.....loved it.

    ReplyDelete