Part 1: The Secret Revealed
“Is this it? Is this the time when I am going to loose her forever? But she is not even sixty? Is it because of me? I nurtured my fear of loosing her so much that I have attracted her demise even before it was destined? Isn’t that what the Law of Universal attraction states- Like Attracts Like” Somesh speculated. His nephew, Samir, a junior doctor and other staff of Stanford Medical Center, were moving Priya, Somesh’s wife into the Emergency wing from the back of the ambulance.
While following the ambulance carrying Priya, Somesh had called up Samir. He informed him about his wife’s condition. Yesterday, she slipped in the bathroom and hit her head on the wall. She had a slight concussion but she came out of the bathroom herself. After laying down for sometime, she was fine. In the evening she complained of headache, so Somesh had given her some over the counter pain relievers and then she slept early.
Somesh, giving a quick glance at the rolling stretcher, repeated what he had already told Samir, “This morning when I woke up she was lying still by my side. I tried to turn her but she didn’t move, her face was swollen and she didn’t move.”
The nurse stopped Somesh from going in with Priya into the ward. He was left anxious in the waiting area. Samir had just been relieved from his night shift and stayed back with his Uncle. He made him sit on one of the chairs that lined the brown colored wall with a huge art-piece having lots of concentric circles in it. The wall ended in a big glass door with “EMERGENCY” written on it in big, red font.
Samir brought Somesh a cold glass of water from the nurses’ station. Taking a sip of water he moaned, “Samir, save your Badi Maa. It’s because of her that you are here. Save her. Please save my Piu.” Somesh couldn’t control his grief and tears began to flow out of his eyes.
Inquiringly Samir looked at Somesh. He failed to hide his curiosity about what his uncle had just said.
Although Somesh felt tired he immediately realized that he had spoken too much. He wanted to say to Samir, “I am sorry son. I understand that you are confused; you are not that many years old. So, how can you be held responsible for something that happened prior to your birth?” But before he could gather the strength and courage to express himself a nurse came. She gave a clipboard to Somesh with few yellow, pink and green papers clipped on it. She asked him to fill out the hospital forms. He wiped his eyes and carefully started filling out “Patient’s Information.”
Name: PRIYA SHARMA
Date of Birth: 07/07/1951
Medical Record Number: 0029518
Somesh noticed Samir getting up slowly and going inside the glass door leading into the wide, spacious gallery.
“What do I have to do with my Dad’s younger brother’s life?” Samir mumbled.
Somesh and Priya had been in US for last 30 years. Whereas for Samir it had just been two years since he came here after his Mother’s death to fulfill her dying wish. She wanted him to be close proximity with his Uncle’s family. His dad had already passed away four years back.
Samir failed to understand the mysterious pact going on between the families of these two brothers. He always remembered that his mom made sure that he always regarded his Somesh Chacha and Chachi and referred them as, bade Papa and badi Maa respectively. He had been curious since his childhood, why mom and dad revered them so much. They were no special than his friend’s uncle and aunty living abroad. He had not witnessed them doing anything special for Samir or his parents. They didn’t even get him the expensive video game that his friend Sanjay got from his aunt who lived in America.
Whenever Samir raised his doubts to his mom, she said, “Because they are family.” He was never satisfied with their incomplete discussion but his Mom used to change the subject quite skillfully. He secretly started to despise the word “family.” He had never heard his mom or dad say any negative things about his younger brother or his kins. They had always agreed to what Somesh or Priya had to say to them. Even Samir’s career choice was not his own. It was his Uncle’s ‘wish’ that he become a doctor. So, that was it. Soon Samir was preparing for medical exams. He got way too busy in his own life that he hardly had the time to care about others’. He stopped thinking, “why some people become so important that their simple wish becomes a command for others?”
While Samir was striding into the Emergency Wing, Somesh was treading back in time. He began his life with Priya thirty-five years against his family wishes. Priya and Somesh used to work in the same office. She was the most unpredictable person he had ever met. At times she would be younger than a five year old and at other times her advise and discretion would easily pull him out of the gravest problem. She was more sociable and likable than he was. Her amiability and popularity was a reason that made Somesh feel insecure. Although she never gave him a reason to distrust her but he always feared that she would leave him alone and be gone forever. He loved her so much that he couldn’t imagine his life without her, without- her free laughter, her poor jokes, her silly comments, her bad singing, and her loud sneezing. Even the thought of loosing her made him numb.
Another ambulance siren was approaching the hospital. Somesh was pulled out of his past; the staff was running towards the main entrance. He turned his head and looked in other direction towards the emergency door. Samir was approaching to him. On reaching him, Samir took a deep breath and said, “Bade Papa, Badi Maa is not doing too well. After doing an ultrasound doctors have found out that there is a clot in her brain.”
“Is she conscious? What’s going to happen?” Somesh asked him.
“No Bade Papa she is still unconscious and we don’t know anything yet” He stopped and said, “Doctors’ are doing the tests and we have to wait to find out what they have to say. Worst case, she might have to go through a brain surgery.” Samir replied.
“So, she would be fine after that?” Somesh enquired but Samir remained quiet.
The nurse who gave Somesh the forms came back to check of its completion or if he needed some help. Somesh filled out his credit card information and handed back the forms. Samir looked at Somesh- he was staring at the emergency door. Samir couldn’t help thinking about what Somesh had said earlier. He wanted to ask him why but was not able to make up his mind if the time was right.
“I am not your Uncle, Samir.” Somesh said with a straight face. “I am your father.” Samir fixed his gaze on Somesh in disbelief. The secret was revealed but the events leading to the grand finale yet remained to be disclosed.
“Bade papa but how and why?” asked Samir.
Somesh looked back at him and began opening the pages of his past to his youngest son Samir.
“Priya and I married against the wishes of my family. My mother wanted me to marry someone of her own caste but Priya was a South-Indian. It was something very unacceptable to fanatic north-Indian Brahmin she was. She didn’t even come to our wedding. We began our life without her blessings but I think we did fine because soon with the help of Priya’s brother, who was settled in US, we moved here. And after coming here, we began our family. As you know, Sanjeev and Shobhit both of them were born in America. Oh! Did you call them to inform about their mom’s condition?”
“Yes, Bade Papa…” Samir hesitated, “Bade Papa or just Papa…” He thought. He skipped that part and informed Somesh that his sons are on their way and soon they would be there.
Somesh was feeling lighter. The shackles that were holding him back from expressing his attachment and love for his son were now broken. He stood up and stepped towards Samir and hugged him.
“Papa…so, Badi Maa, is she my real mom? Did Mom and Dad adopt me?” Samir asked Somesh holding him tight.
‘Beep…beep …beep…’ It was Samir’s pager. He looked at it.
“I have to make a call. I would be back soon.” Samir left saying that.
Somesh just gave him a frail smile in return.
TO BE CONT…