One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

8:00 am

Shreeja peeped into her bedroom.  “Bye, Jeevan. I’m leaving for office.” 

She crossed the building gate, cheerfully wishing good morning to a passing neighbour.  The ever serious neighbour responded with a bright smile.

Outside the train station, she distributed the few extra rotis she had prepared that morning, to the beggars there. 

She then hopped into the local train for the hour-long commute to the office.  

When she got down at her station, she saw a visually challenged woman struggling to cross the road.  She took some time out to escort her.

She finally entered her little three-storeyed office building, greeted the security guard and made her way upstairs.  The guard remarked to his newly joined colleague, “The only one in this building who smiles at me. Sweet woman.”

She was popular in office too, lending a helping hand to one, cheering up another, playing agony aunt to yet another and simply making everyone’s day, even if it just meant giving a simple compliment.  

Her colleagues envied her happy and helpful nature. The comments on “in spite of everything” had fizzled out long ago.  

8:00 pm

Shreeja reached home. 

A young man opened the door.

“Any improvement, Kisan?”

The male nurse smiled.  He had long ago stopped answering that question any other way.  

Shreeja’s heart sank.  Nevertheless, she entered the bedroom, smiling.  Kisan left for the day.

Jeevan was awake.  His eyes followed her as she came over and sat next to his supine figure.  She took his immobile hand in hers.

Scanning the IV feeding tubes, she asked him, “How are you?”

Jeevan blinked once.  Meaning fine.

“And today’s physiotherapy?”

One blink.

“Know what happened today?”

Blink again.

And she chattered on about her day.  He punctuated with his blinks. One blink, positive reply.  Two, negative.

Entering the bathroom to freshen herself, she finally let her silent tears flow.  This was her daily routine working day for the past year. On weekends, she read him books that he loved.

They were childhood sweethearts.  Everyone knew they would marry.

Six months into their marriage, that fateful blow came.

The truck driver absconded, leaving behind a mangled bike and an unconscious rider.

Her world shattered when the doctors said, “Jeevan can see, hear, understand, but can move only his eyes.  Beyond this, you need a miracle.” 

After a month in the hospital, he was brought home.  Family and friends returned to their lives.  

Shreeja had known and loved Jeevan since forever.  Now alone with him, she resolved to make the miracle happen.

She googled for his treatment.  She consulted the best doctors. She arranged physiotherapy sessions.  And she gave him loads of her love, unconditionally.

Every day, she hoped for a little movement, a whisper or just the glint of his mischievous smile.

Days, weeks and months passed.  Every time her hope sagged, she remembered their golden moments spent together.  And pulled on. With eternal hope. One day at a time.

After all, tomorrow is another day.  
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Archie Iyer
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