It was the cold breeze that caught her attention...she smiled and was drawn to a long ago incident…..but suddenly the song she was humming brought her back to reality.
She was humming “Sab kuch wahi hai…wahi hai..wahi hai…teri aahatein nai hai”
She stopped and let the breeze play with her hair…it swept her short hair away from her face…she could feel a small cold droplet of tear roll across her cheek…..she didn’t wipe it…it went away and so did her smile…..
She had never asked god why me?? She could never wish something so painful on anyone else….
She took a deep breath and started moving…with a fake but genuine smile….this was the irony of her life....she had everything but longed for everything…
She stopped and looked behind, someone was calling her name…
She had a personality true to her name….she was pretty and dusky…Cool and strong ..she had deep eyes and a very pretty and soothing smile…her sharp features made her look very attractive and strong…
“Yes”, She said
“You forgot your car keys”, Said a panting Rajat….he repeated, “Mam, you forgot your car keys”
“Thanks Rajat”, Neelam.
“Don’t mention it Maam”, Rajat
“My name is Neelam, and I prefer people calling me Neelam.” She replied smiling.
“I’ll leave , thanks again”, Neelam
“ You are welcome Ma’am, Good night”, Rajat
“Its Neelam I repeat”, Neelam
She moved to her car and back to her memories…
She got into the car and swiftly drove out of the basement…..Moved out of her IT Park.
“Uske upar se jayegi kya ??dhyaan kaha hai tera??”, Avnish again.
She stopped the car and turned to answer Avnish, but there was no one…she smiled and drove home.
It was Avnish who taught her to drive. She never felt it was necessary, but he did. So his consistent efforts resulted in her driving today. Probably he knew she will have to do it one day on her own.
She was at her door step…she rang the bell…Avni rushed to open the door..
“Hello dear”, Neelam
Avni was Avnish and Neelam’s Daughter..her name was formed using AVnish and NEelam’s names partially. She true to her name had all traits of both her parents.
“Where is baba?, enquired Neelam
“He had coffee?”, enquired Neelam
“No”, answered Avni
Neelam Kept her bag and climbed the stairs that led to Avnish’s room. She knocked , no one answered so she entered. It was her husbands room anyway.
“Hi Avnish”, Neelam
“Hello, you back”, Avnish
“Yes, and how are you feeling today”, Neelam
“I am the same…like I was yesterday. I saw your wedding album today”, Avnish
“You mean OUR wedding album, right?”, Neelam
“Yes, you were looking very pretty that day”, Avnish
“Thanks, that day was very different and mesmerizing Avi…it was our day. You know we had waited so long for that day. Life looked so perfect from there. We both were standing facing each other but didn’t look at each other…we didn’t have to….we knew what the other one looked liked….we had shopped together for that day…all our friends were cheering for us…I could not hold my happiness..I was all smiles….the world looked pink to me …I was seeing dreams with open eyes…..with rose tinted glasses. It was all so ethereal”, Neelam.
“It must have been really very beautiful”, Avnish smiling
He suddenly snapped out with a blank face
“Can I have some coffee”, Avnish
Neelam rolled back her tears and said,” certainly
Turned around and walked to the kitchen on the lower level.
This was a everyday thing for Neelam now, she could sense that Avni was getting affected by this. Avni would consistently have only once question.
“When will our old baba be back?”, Neelam didn’t know the answer to this question. She wished it would happen right this instance…but she could only wish that was it.
She remembered that fateful day with every detail. It was Avni’s birthday and they had planned a get together. Life every year it was Avi’s task to decorate the venue. He took a lot of interest in it. He would personally prepare a collage for the day. With every growing year of Avni, Avi had more and more pics to arrange and include. But he was never tired of doing this. After all he lived through the memories while preparing the collage and those memories spread a smile all across his face. Those were possibly his most cherished moments.
She quickly prepared coffee for Avi. Avi loved his coffee, he still did. He would tell anyone and everyone, “Do visit us for coffee sometime, my wife prepares the perfect blend.” But not anymore, his preference had changed. Neelam felt she lived with a stranger…..even his touch had changed it was no more that warm comforting feeling. She so longed for her Avi. But she felt more helpless for Avi, she had lost one relation, one person but Avi had lost everything he had even lost himself. His eyes were always full of questions, he longed to see someone he knew , someone he could recognize, some one he could relate to. He was the same person but a different soul, he had left and lost a lot. The pain and desperation was unending, sometimes Neelam felt he was suffocated and imprisoned in his own body. She wanted him to be him again.
She wanted to be positive and carry on wishing for a better future for everyone. She had been dreading but the time was here. They had go visit Dr. Namboodri tomorrow, for his final decision and opinion. She gave Avi his coffee and moved to kitchen to prepare something special for him, but she had no clue what he would like. She couldn’t even ask him , as that would only deepen his agony. Small things like this drilled a painful feeling in her heart. Anyways she thought I would prepare whatever the Avi I knew loved. She prepared a lavish spread. Avni was sent to call her baba.
“Mom, I mean Neelam is calling you for dinner”, Avni
Avni was specifically instructed on not calling Avi Baba, as that further worsened his condition. He couldn’t relate to relationships, so Avni even called her Mom as Neelam to reduce the strain for Avnish. This was not easy for the child, she took time to get used to it. She had to detach herself from her beloved Baba. But unlike Neelam she had a firm believe that her Baba would one morning return to being normal. She waited for that kiss on her forehead that her Baba used to wake her up. You can take everything thing away from a child but not their hope and love for their parents.
They slowly proceeded towards the dining area. Avnish didn’t eat much, nor did he compliment Neelam on anything. It was usual and Neelam was not expecting anything either.
They moved to bed, they still shared the bed. It didn’t mean much to Avnish but to Neelam it meant a lot. She had fought with the doctors for this, they felt it would interfere with Avnish’s recovery and she felt otherwise. However it effected the recovery in anyway, it was helpful…it helped Avnish develop a bond with Neelam. However frail it was….it meant a lot to Neelam.
She woke up early and was dressed before Avnish even woke up. She woke him up, volunteered to help him dress, but he was reluctant so she let him be. She had much more stuff to do, she packed the bags, everything was already very properly mentioned in a list by Neelam. She didn’t want anything to be missed out. Avni wanted to accompany them, Neelam couldn’t say no.
Ready to leave all packed and moved to the car. Avni was sobbing. She believed the luggage need not be taken, they would anyways come back. Avni’s firm believe helped Neelam be more strong and hopeful.
She drove right to Holy cross hospital, it was close to their place. Avnish was seated in the back seat of car, he had developed a phobia of sitting in the front seat. Who could have imagined him to ever be like this. Neelam and Avni were frozen while they waited for their turn outside Dr. Namboodri’s Cabin. Avnish looked very indifferent. Finally the moment was here, it was their turn. Neelam asked Avni to stay back and wait. Avni nodded in negation with eyes welled up with tears. Neelam could not resist, she held her hand and took her along.
“Hello Doctor”, Neelam
“Hello please be seated. So how is Avnish doing?”, Doctor
“Doctor is for you to tell.”, Neelam
All through this Avnish was silent and not much interested in the whole conversation.
“See Neelam, after the accident Avnish had developed a swelling in his brain, which is slowly coming down, so in a way we can say he is improving.”’ Doctor
“But that’s it, we see no recovery in his Dementia that he has developed as a result of the accident and subsequent brain surgery.” Doctor
“But”, Neelam interrupted
“Yes but I do have a positive news for you, can suggested last time I don’t think he needs to be in our care facility. He had our rounds of discussions after seeing his recent reports. He seems to be doing well.”. Doctor
“Now lets excuse Avnish. Nurse, please get his blood samples taken for a last routine examination”, Doctor
Nurse arrived and took away Avnish. By now Avnish had met her plenty of times but had never had a conversation with her. So there was no customary hello.
“Neelam , you have till now been really good with following the instructions. His mental health is quiet good now, also he has recovered well from the brain surgery. And sorry to say but we are still not able to pin point the exact cause for his dementia. But Neelam you have to accept this and move on. All his memories have been wiped off, he is as new to the world as a new born baby. Everything you serve him, is his first time of tasting that stuff. You need to be very careful and slowly but steadily make him grow up. He will surely be very different from the person he used to be. But believe me from now on he will be all that you make him. Take him to movies make him meet people for him to understand relationships and the responsibilities and duties that come attached with them. I am sure you can do this. And yes don’t guard him too much. Remember a child cannot learn to walk without falling.”, Doctor.
“Neelam… Neelam you are listening to me right???”, Doctor in a louder tone.
Neelam wiped her tears and asked only one question.
“So we can take him back home?”, Neelam
Neelam was exhausted and numb…she felt the world at her feet…
“So can I call them Baba and Mommy now?”, asked Avni very curiously
“Yes, you can. But be careful “, Doctor
The mother daughter duo hugged each other and the tears that were held back for so long….rolled away….they smiled as they cried.
They had their world back….they knew they would need to build it again. But they were all at it….
The world was blur but it was with tears of hope…they knew the future would never ever fade away again..