Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Chapter 1 : Numb


 "Muskaan!"


Startled at hearing her name being called Muskaan jumped in her spot. She had been so caught up in her thoughts that she hadn't realized someone had entered her room and was now sitting in front of her. Mukaan was the type of person who when she got absorbed into something that caught her attention then bringing her out was a mission. Ever since she was a child Muskaan was known for her short attention span. She just couldn't concentrate on one thing for to long. Her mother would always worry that her daughter was going to grow up with psychological problems. But Muskaan being who she was had not only proved her mother wrong but grew up to be one fine doctor. She was not only able to focus on her work but she was able to make a difference in people's lives. But today was different. Today not only had she gotten absorbed into what she was reading, but she could feel the emotional pain trapped in each word. It had not only affected her a great deal mentally and emotionally but it had taken her into a world where misery played a large role. 



"Are you still reading that note?"




"Yes. I can't help myself! I just can't get these words out of my mind!"



It had been a month since she had been brought into the hospital after someone had found her lying on the road; Muskaan had been on duty that day and had been the one to attend to her, and ever since had been working as hard as she could to help her patient. At first she had tired asking her if she remembered anything about where she was from or who was in her family or what her name was but when she saw that she wasn't getting anywhere she decided to go back to the place where her patient had been found in the hopes that she would be able to gather some information. She drove to the spot one day after finishing her shift early and upon searching the area and asking people who lived in the area she had received a note and found out that the girl who had been found was said to be named Riddhima and that she had been seen being pushed out of a moving van by men covered in black clothing. Muskaan who was known for being a strong headed woman had never been so disturbed in her life. She could still remember the first time she had read the note she had been given and how much it had affected her. It was as if she could feel the pain that the person was going through. Each word had touched her heart. She just couldn't fathom what Riddhima had gone through but she hoped that she would be able to at least help her. And now after an entire month Riddhima still hadn't improved. She was still in a coma. It was as if she had given up on herself. That the will to live wasn't there. She had just stopped living. She didn't move. She didn't talk nor show any emotion and that's what scared Muskaan. She had never met a patient in her life who didn't want to get better. She just didn't know what to do. It was like her hands had been tied and there was no one to open them. She felt guilty. Here was a woman who was depending on her to give her life back and Muski wasn't able to. She had never been put into such a position before. She usually had an answer as to how she would cure a patient but for the first time in her life she didn't have one. She just didn't know what she was supposed to do and that's what hurt. The pain of not knowing.



"I know what you mean. I still feel bad. I wish there was something we could do to help her."



"I know Rahul but I just don't know what! I mean she doesn't even talk to me! I ask her the same questions everyday and she just sits there and stares at me. It's like she's trapped in a bubble and she won't let anyone pop it. The only time I heard that she had done something was a week ago when the nurse told me that she saw her move a finger when Armaan had come to ask her something. Other then that every time I'm around her she's motionless. I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like a failure."



"Omg! What did you say?"



"I said I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like a failure! Are you deaf?"



"No..before that!"



"Oh..The nurse said that she moved a finger when Armaan came. Why?"



"That's it! Armaan!"



"Armaan? What about him?"



"He's going to help Riddhima!"

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"Pleeeaassseee!!!"

 Muskaan ran a frustrated hand through her hair trying to clam herself from screaming. She had never been so frustrated in her life. Here she was on the insistence of her dear boyfriend Rahul who had insisted that they ask Armaan his best friend who was also a fellow colleague to help Riddhima since she had shown some movement due to him. And so Muskaan trusting her boyfriend had come with Rahul to ask Armaan for help and here he was not saying anything. Why is he torturing me? Why won't he say anything? Doesn't he know that without his help I can't do anything! And Riddhima man you had to move only when he came in front of you! Oh come on! Say something! That's it! Enough is enough!  She couldn't take his silent treatment anymore. He was going to help and she would make sure he did!



"Listen you! I did not spend the last ONE month working day and night on one person to hear silence! She finally moved a muscle and it was all because of you! So you are going to help and that is FINAL!"



 Wow was all Armaan could think of as Muskaan finished her rant. He had never seen her so mad before. But then again Muskaan was known for her temper. She would blow up at the slightest things. But today not only was she upset she was frustrated at not being able to help her patient and seeing that Armaan felt bad. He knew that if he was in Muskaan's place and he had asked her for help then she would have willingly. And so after hearing about Riddhima's story he felt as if he had to meet her at least once and try to lend a helping hand.



"Okay...I'll help you."



"THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!"



Muskaan had never been so happy in her life. She was finally going to help Riddhima and she couldn't wait to start. She couldn't wait to give Riddhima back her life.

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As the cool summer breeze blew past him Armaan sat on his porch bench deep in thought. He just couldn't fathom what he had agreed to a few hours ago. How in the world did he agree to help a woman he had never met before in his life? What was he going to do? Yes he was a doctor himself and his job was to help others but that didn't mean he could help everyone. He wasn't god that he had the answer for everything. If it hadn't been for Muskaan he wouldn't have been in this mess but it was too late. He had agreed to help out and now he couldn't back out. But how am I going to help her? He thought for the umpteenth time. How am I going to help a woman who doesn't even talk? How am I going to help a woman whose medical history is untraceable? Hell he didn't even know where she came from! If only he hadn't said yes. If only he wasn't so nice. If only he didn't feel what he had felt after hearing about Riddhima's story. He still couldn't understand. He just didn't know what had come over him and made him say yes. Why did I even say yes? What is wrong with me? I hear one sad story from Muski and for no reason whatsoever I open my mouth and agree. I can't believe myself. I have never done such a thing in my life. But I promised Muski and If I don't follow through shes going to kill me. I'm just going to have to take a chance and meet her. I can't let Muski down. Urrghh why me! Why did she have to move seeing me? What connection do I have with her? I have never met this chick before and all I did was walk into her room to speak with the nurse but when someone else walks into her room she just sits there. What the hell is going on? Since when had he given into crazy ideas like this! Why had he listened to Rahul and Muskaan and agreed. Fine he was Rahul's best friend and he would do anything for him but helping a woman in coma? Could he do it?  Could he bring life to this woman? Could he save her? What if he failed? What if he made things worse? Would he be  able to live with that? No! He couldn't! He wasn't that strong that he would be able to risk someone's life like this. No he had to tell Muski he couldn't do it! He couldn't help her. But...what if she did improve? What if she got better? Then could he? Armaan ran a hand through his hair trying to calm his jumbled mind. He had never been so disturbed by his own decision before. It wasn't like in the past where he would just do what his brain told him to do and he wouldn't have a problem. But today for the first time his heart and mind just weren't coinciding with each other. It was like he was being pulled into different directions. He just didn't know who to listen to. And so he looked up at the dark navy blue sky and remembering what his mother had told him as a kid he followed her advice. She had always said that if ever your mind and heart were at battle trying to give an answer then look up into the sky and tell it what is troubling you and you will get an answer. And so keeping that in mind he spoke. "What should I do? Should I give her a chance? Should I help her?" And as if god himself had heard his plea he heard a voice from within say give Riddhima a chance. She deserves one. He didn't know why but as soon as the voice had come he felt right. He felt as if all the questions that he had been trying to answer had been resolved. And he felt a sense of peace come over him. His heart and mind had finally come together and he knew what he had to do. He was going to give her a chance. He was going to help. He was going to give this strange woman named Riddhima a second chance. And so making up his mind he got up from the bench and walked back inside hoping that in the morning everything would work out.

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Rahul sat on the bench in front of her room watching his best friend walk back and forth mumbling to himself. He couldn't help but stifle a laugh. He had never seen Armaan so nervous in his life. Armaan was the kind of person who wasn't sacred of anything. He was the outgoing one. He would do anything without thinking twice. But today seeing Armaan behave in the way he was and all because of a girl made Rahul laugh. He couldn't believe that his best friend who was a great doctor would be scared of a patient. But then again he did understand that he was under a lot of pressure. He was about to embark on a tough journey who's outcome nobody knew.



"Dude you're going to be fine!"



Armaan who had been so busy lost in his thoughts jumped in his skin as Rahul's voice resounded into his ears.



"What do you mean I'm going to be fine? No I'm not! I can't do this! I'm going!"



"Fine. Leave. Break your promise. Let Riddhima's condition worsen."



Armaan stopped in his tracks as Rahul's voice came from behind him. What am I going? I promised Muski I was going to help her. I can't run away. I have to do this. I can't let Riddhima's condition worsen. I won't be able to live with the guilt if it does. I won't be able to show my face to anyone. They'll all think I'm a coward. That I ran away from helping a patient. No! I can't do that. No matter how scared I might be.



"Okay. I won't leave. I'll stay."



"Good. Now get in there and keep your word. Best of luck."



"Thanks. I'm gonna need it."



 Okay Riddhima. Here I come.



And with that turning the door knob to her room he walked in to start his journey not knowing where it was going to take him.



Closing her room's door behind him Armaan walked towards her bed mindlessly lost in his thoughts. His heart was beating like a racing train and his hands were sweating and sticking together. How his life had turned upside down in a matter of seconds he had never imagined. He had never thought that he would be given the challenge to cure a patient who was suffering from a coma. He wasn't trained in that field. He was a cardiologist. He dealt with the heart. Then how was he going to deal with her?  Well this is going to be interesting he thought. I get to work with a woman who doesn't say a word. God help me! And so taking a deep breath he got down to business.



"Hi.I'm Armaan. And you are?"

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Immobile. Motionless. Dead. These weren't just words for me they were my reality. I had been living with these words for the past one month. At first I had felt disgust as they had been referred to me on a daily basis but as time went on I had slowly learned to embrace them. I had realized that these words weren't going to go away. They were now apart of my life and it hurt. It hurt that I was now being confined to a bunch of words but I didn't have a choice. I was in a coma after all. I couldn't move. I couldn't express my emotions. So what was the point in living? Who did I have to live for? I could see everyone around wanted me to improve especially my doctor Muskaan. But I just didn't have it in me. I just didn't. Everyday was the same for me. Muskaan would come in and ask me question after question hoping for an answer but after seeing my indifference she realized that I wasn't going to respond. And I guess I had let her down. But I didn't care. I didn't want to get better. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to die. I just couldn't understand why nobody was willing to understand. Why was everyone after me? Why couldn't they just leave me alone? What was so special about me that everyone was working day and night to cure me? Speaking of cure here she comes to interrogate me once again but like always I'm going to let her down. But what's this? What is he doing here? Where's Muskaan? Please don't leave me with him! I'll scream!



"Hi.I'm Armaan. Dr.Armaan Mallik. I'm going to be your new doctor. And you are?"



Okayyy then. So I get pretty boy now. This is going to be fun. But what is wrong with him? Okay he might be pretty but is he dumb or something? Hello! Stupid! Woman in a coma here! I can't answer!



"Oh wait! Oops sorry I forgot. You can't answer I'm so silly. I should have known that. But its okay I know your name anyway. Riddhima right? Yeah that's what it says here. So according to Muskaan we are dealing with a case of a coma. Now I am just going to take a few minutes and do a quick check up okay and if you feel any pain let me know."



Pain? Yeah like you know what pain is! You're not the one who is stiff all day long! Can you please stop touching me! I don't like it! Just because I raised a finger at you before doesn't mean you touch me! Okay now why are you looking into my eyes? Stop it! I don't like this! You're making me feel things!  Hey! No! Comeback! I have more to say!



"Well it seems like everything is normal. The only thing that needs to be worked on is getting you back to normal. I still don't understand why a beautiful woman like you wouldn't want to get better. What a shame."



Did he just call me beautiful? Oh wow. I think I'm going to blush. No one has ever said that about me. That felt kind of nice. I think I'm going to like this dude.



"Okay Riddhima I got to go now. I have other patients to check on but I will see you tomorrow okay. Bye"



No! I don't want you to leave! Come back!



I yelled and screamed hoping he would stop but it didn't work. He just kept walking towards my door and within a second he was gone. I was left alone once again. I couldn't help but replay the last 10 minutes in my mind. It was the first time in the past one month that I had actually felt like getting better and it was all because of him.



Armaan walked out of her room and took a sigh of relief as he headed towards the next ward. He was glad that was over. He had been so nervous and scared that he had thought he was going to make things worse. But lucky god had been on his side and everything had gone well. He was glad that Rahul had stopped him from backing out other wise he wouldn't have had the chance to meet Riddhima. Riddhima. She was sure one of a kind he thought as the last 10 minutes replayed in his mind. He wondered what she had been thinking when she had seen him walk into her room rather then Muski. He could tell that she wanted to say and do so much when he had looked into her eyes during the check up. He had seen her eye's blink for a fleeting moment and then return back to there frozen state. It was like her way of communicating with him. Like she understood what he was saying to her. He then went back to that moment. He couldn't comprehend why but he had felt something while he had looked into her eyes. There was a strange sense of pain in them. What had caused that pain he didn't know but something inside of him wanted to know. He wanted to know what was going on inside her. He wanted to know what she had been through. He wanted to know why she had been abandoned. He wanted to know everything.



Wait! What the hell am I thinking? Why would I want to know what is going on inside of her? I don't even know this woman? I just met her today and that to for 10 minutes and that's not enough time to affect anyone. Or is it?

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July 12th 2011

 So today I met her for the first time and by her I mean Riddhima. Sorry should have said that before. Anyways it was a very strange meeting I have to say since she didn't really say a word. I mean after all she is in a coma. Muskaan is the one who handed her case over to me since for some strange reason Riddhima had decided to move a muscle when she saw me. I don't know why it happened but it did. I just don't understand why me of all people? I mean there were so many other doctors and nurses but out of everyone she moves only around me. I guess I have some connection with her that I'm not aware of. But what could that be? I have never met or seen this woman in my life and yet she picks me. Why is she affecting me so much and that to in one meeting? Why was I thinking about her the whole day? Why did I want to know about the pain that I had noticed in her green eyes? What is going on? How am I supposed to deal with this? I'm not even really sure of what I'm supposed to think anymore. I guess I will just have to wait and see.



He put his pen down and stared at what he had just written. Since when did he start writing about strange women? What is going on with me? I opened this journal like I do everyday to pour out my feelings and dreams and yet today of all days I end up writing about her? Why? I think I'm going crazy! I need to sleep. That's it I'm just tired and need sleep. I've had a long day. But what if something happens tomorrow? Then what am I going to do? I won't be able to handle it! What if I make things worse? What if I get distracted and give her some wrong medicine? No! I need to talk to someone! I need to put an end to this now! But who? Think! Think! Who would understand?...Rahul! That's it! I'll call Rahul! And so without a further thought he put his journal back in its place and grabbing his cell phone he dialed his best friend's number in the hopes that he would be able to help him out of his confusion.



"Hello Rahul!"



"Armaan? Dude what the hell is wrong with you! It's 2 am! Go to sleep man!"



"Rahul!"



"What!"



"Credit card and Muski!"



"NO!"



"YES!"



"Okay...I'm listening what!"



"I have a problem!"



"What? Did you lose your wallet again?"



"No. I didn't lose my wallet again!"



"Ohhh I know you like some girl and she won't look at you!"



"No! And that will NEVER happen!"



"Then what the **** is your problem?"



"It's Riddhima. She's driving me crazy!"



"What? Riddhima's driving you crazy? How is that possible? She's in a coma!"



"I know. But I just don't get it! I met her today and she's already affecting me! What do I do?"



"Okay first of all, you are going to go to sleep. Second you will let me sleep and third we will deal with this tomorrow. Now good bye!"



"Fine. Go to sleep. We'll talk in the morning."



Some help he was! Armaan thought as he hung up the phone. And he calls himself my best friend. Here I am asking him for help and he tells me to go to sleep. Now what I am supposed to do? Oh well I'll deal with this in the morning like Rahul said. I just pray that we find a solution and I can move on.



Rahul stared at his phone as the dial tone resounded into his ears. He couldn't comprehend what he had just heard. How could that be true? How could Armaan be getting affected by a stranger and that too in one day? For as long as Rahul had known Armaan he had never seen or heard him behave the way he just had over the phone. Armaan was known for being a ladies man and was always seen dating different girls but never for long periods of time. He was never affected if a relationship ended. And even if he was he never showed it. Then what was happening now? Where had this new side of Armaan come from? He was never like this before!



I don't get it? What is going on with him? And how can a woman who is in a coma affecting him this much? He doesn't even know her! He's never seen her and I don't know for sure but I don't think that Riddhima knows him either. But even if she does how are we going to ask her? Man this is so messed up!



Rahul ran a hand through his hair trying to put some sense into his jumbled mind. He didn't know what this was all about or how he was going to help Armaan out of this situation but he knew that he had to do something and do it soon before everything went down the drain.

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It's 2 am and I'm still staring at the door. I know you all think I'm crazy but I don't care. Okay maybe I do. But you can't blame me. I mean what else can I do? I'm in a coma. All I see is the door. But that door is the only way I get to see him. Yes him. Armaan. My new doctor. I think I like him okay no maybe I secretly love him. I know I just met him properly today but for some reason I feel a connection with him. I can't really describe it. It's like he understands my unspoken words. I think he actually wants to not only cure me of this dead state of mine but he actually wants to know what is going on inside me. He wants to help me inside and out and for that I am really grateful. Man I can't wait to see him! When will morning come? I have so much to tell him. Please god make it 9:00am now! I can't wait any longer!

Tashu

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