Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A New Hope

Sriram looked up at the ceiling for the nth time. The noisy fan was whirring overhead. It was his fifth day at the hospital. He had been admitted there after being diagonised with cancer. How slowly the days had seemed to pass.He remembered the day he was admitted like it had happened just an hour back. "You are too young to die", the beaming nurse had said in a reassuring voice. She had a calm ,competent manner, with a lovely face to boot. "I have nothing left to live for", he had almost corrected her.

The same nurse (he had found out her name was Chitra) used to come in every morning around 11, giving him his morning round of medicines. And Chitra always used to drop into his room in the evenings, right before her shift ended. She always had a smile on her lips.And a lively manner. He never could make out how fast the time flew when she was with him. In another life, another time, he might almost have fallen in love with her.Almost , but not quite , he thought bitterly. The sound of the rain falling gently outside lulled him to sleep.

When Sriram woke up the next morning, the sun was already out. And smiling at him from the window ledge was a flower, which had not been there the previous night. He looked closely. There was some soil on the window ledge, and there the lone flower had sprouted, looking like a palm tree in the desert. Glistening with the water from the rain , swaying against the wind, raising its little head up to the Sun, the flower seemed to Sriram to be a beacon of hope. For the first time in days, he looked forward to the rest of the day.

Chitra came and was surprised to see Sriram in a jovial mood. He was sharing jokes, smiling away like one without a care in the world. And she was glad, for she had come to love this morose looking young man. She loved him more now that he had obviously decided not to give up without a fight. With each passing day, Sriram regained his strength, waiting eagerly for when Chitra would come again.

Days passed. And then one day , when Sriram woke up, the sight that greeted his stunned eyes chilled his marrow. For, the flower was no longer there. The whole window ledge was squeaky clean. Like a door shutting out the light, he felt all hope , all prayers , draining out of him. Like the drowning man clutching at the straw only to find it no longer there, he waited like the condemned man for the door to open and bring him his death.

The door opened. Chitra was there holding a paper in her hand. He looked at her, without speaking. He nodded dumbly, towards the window ledge. She saw the flower gone, came over and squeezed his hand."Sriram", she said, "We just found out. The cancer you have got is completely benign. Its curable. Some mixup with the lab results", she continued , but he was too dizzy to hear. There was a roaring sound in his ears.

He felt elated, on top of the world. It seemed almost as if the flower had sacrificed itself, so he might live. It was absurd , of course, but what was logic or reason to a dying man who had just been given a fresh lease of life. Like a mad man, willing to risk his all on one throw of dice ,Sriram grabbed both hands of Chitra in his own. "Will you be mine?" , he asked her. Chitra was silent, but the twinkle in her eyes gave him the answer he wanted to hear.


Scribbles said...

Now now..thats a good story..Not that tragedies are bad...but coming from u I expected a tragic end..

Sachin R K said...

@scribbles - Happiness, tis a wonderful thing :)

Pinku said...

for a while it seemed a rip off from Henry's famous last leaf story...

but then it turned out to be more....nice