“We did our best yet the coma seems inevitable.” The sentence felt as stiff as my body. I could sense desperation intensified by the incessant beeps from the bedside. I wished to revisit the past, but only the happier past, purposely evading the tricky bends.
A carefree childhood gave way to adulthood. The hormones raged, so did the wish to break free from paternal stronghold. Parental love now stifled liberated thoughts. Advice, now seemed to threaten existence! Desperation to break free coerced me towards education. Unknowingly, it was Father’s wish coming true.
The coma overpowered the eyes that were forcing themselves open. Seemingly, an awakening to the truth that Father knowingly pushed me towards education. Thus trading empowerment for a strained relationship.
Education spiraled my progress yet I wished my roots didn’t turn my adversaries and I waited for a chance to showcase my knowledge beyond the local universities. The wish was granted and this boy from an autocratic landlord’s household finally set off on a world tour, leaving behind a newlywed sobbing for company and her unfulfilled wishes.
I blinked, probably another effort towards conscious awakening. I wasn’t ready to leave yet. Had I remained ungrateful? Was I unwilling to bid adieu or was it destiny that did not want me gone yet. There was unfinished business.
Perplexing days followed as I went in and out of the coma, as if the soul challenged the body. I fought and finally, it was time off from medical captivity. I drove to the village in search of succor to the internal turmoil.
I felt a pulsating shiver run down the ageing spine. Saluting the deity gave me cold feet. It was an emotional meltdown as years of remorse flowed through tears. Darkness engulfed the stately home, when the driver walked in with a dwindling candle.
“Sahib! Are you okay?”
“Yes! But there’s one more place to go, so hurry.” He helped me up as I balanced on the walking stick.
Driving into the darkness, I signaled for the car to stop.
“Sahib, should I come?” the driver walked up to me, seemingly worried.
“No.” The cold reply made him withdraw as I strode ahead.
She sat blowing into the earthen stove, the rising smoke causing a hoarse cough. Crumbling dry leaves under my footsteps alerted her. She stood up. Expressionless, scared, the soft wrinkles oblivious to the charm of yesteryears.
“I’m sorry Annapurna…….I deprived you of the stature of a wife. I strangled your wishes by leaving you alone, battling life and the idiosyncratic social dictates.”
She stood mute, listless.
“Do you have no complains………?” The sentence remained unfinished as she ran into my embrace.
“I have wished your presence for years ….the wish is fulfilled today.”
“Your son, proclaimed deaf at birth, is walking in your footsteps.” She proudly pointed to a photograph.
In the picture stood the young man to whom I had lost the World Science Conference nomination.
But then sometimes fulfilling other’s wishes brings greater solace.
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