Saturday, 8 February 2020

Part 8 : I See You!

Shilpa twisted the strap of her wrist watch as she sat in the doctors hospital office waiting for the results of the innumerable tests. Armaan had brought shilpa to meet with the Dr. Manan who was the eye specialist, he had gone through shilpa's case file and had asked shilpa to go through some tests.

 Dr. Manan: the tests are to judge the damage your eyes have gone through, the cornea, your optic nerves etc.

 Shilpa had agreed to the tests not knowing what to expect, she didn't know what to feel. Throughout all the tests armaan was at her side, the silent vigilante, looking after her, running interference.



Now they were back in Dr. Manan's office waiting for the results, she was anxious and knew she had lied to herself when she had said that she didn't care about the results. She cared, she cared very much because she wanted to see again. She forced herself to sit still and control her body's jerky movements.



Armaan on the other hand was pacing the office as they waited for the Dr. Manan. He wanted to give Shilpa a world on the platter and he was starting by trying to restore her sight. Armaan ran a hand through his hair as he looked at shilpa and thought that he didn't actually care whether shilpa ever got her sight back. For him shilpa was special, that one special person who had made him come alive and made him discover love. Her lack of sight was not an issue for him but he had heard the yearning in her voice when she had uttered her desire to see him once.



So here they were sitting in the doctor's office, armaan started toward the door in hopes of finding the doctor himself when the door opened and in walked Dr. Manan.



Dr. Manan: sorry to have kept you waiting! I've got the results of your test shilpa!



Shilpa's fingers tightened on the arm rest and then she willed herself to relax: plz if you could just tell us! Ammy here is making me go mad here with his continuous pacing!



Armaan glowered at her which was totally wasted as she couldn't see him: plz Doc!



Dr. Manan smiled: well there is some good news and some bad news! 



Shilpa felt armaan come up behind her: lets start with some good news!



Dr. Manan: the good news is considering the accident you were in your retina is not as damaged as we were thinking. There is damage of course but not something that we can't rectify.



Shilpa didn't react: whats the bad news?



Dr. Manan looked at Armaan and then at shilpa, continued: there is a 50-50 chance of success! Maybe after the surgery we can completely bring your eyesite back or maybe there won't be any change. There was damage to your optic nerves as well, till we operate we won't be sure whether the nerves are completely dead or is there still some spark. So now its upto you to decide whether you want to go ahead with it or not.



Armaan: how soon do you need an answer?



Dr. Manan shrugged: I'm here on a conference! Plus I'm doing some volunteer work here! The sooner you tell me we can work accordingly. I'm here for another couple of days if you agree we can go ahead with the surgery immediately. I'll just have to get my team here!



Shilpa stood up: thank you doctor! You've given us a lot to think! We'll get back to you as soon as we decide!



Shilpa and Armaan left the hospital and went back home and filled maasi in as to what the doctor had said.



Maasi: shilpa! Only you can decide whether you want to go through it or not! Its your life!



Shilpa: I know maasi! I just need some time to think! (she turned away and went to her room)



Armaan stood there watching her walk ou of the room and said to maasi: what do you think?



Maasi sighed: I don't know beta! Its not an easy decision to make! I want to tell her to go ahead but I also know how it can crush her if things don't work out!



Armaan stood quietly: I think I'll go and talk to her! Findout what she is thinking!



Shilpa stood in the room infront of the window and wondered what the hell she was suppose to do. She heard a movement behind her and knew it was him



Shilpa: I'm ok Ammy! I just need some time to think things through!



Armaan: I know! I'm just here so that if you want to think things aloud I can be your sounding board!



Shilpa sighed: I don't know what to say!



Armaan looked at her face which looked very serious: why don't you start with how you feel?



Shilpa: how I feel? I don't know Ammy! I honestly don't know! I'm not mad that I'll say that I don't want my eyesight back! I do! But you heard the doctor what if it doesn't work out! How do I live with my hopes crushed!



Armaan: are you willing to live without trying it?



Shilpa turned to armaan: you want me to go through with it!(before he could answer) why?



Armaan looked at her face looking so remote: why do you think?(when she remained quiet) shilpa when I came to Panchgani I was jaded and I didn't believe much in people but after meeting you! Things changed, you changed me shilpa! You changed me with your perception of the world with the way you lead your life! I don't care if you are blind! For me whats important is you (he reached out and took her hand in his which trembled slightly) I want to give you the world shilpa! And I know there are days when you feel the loss of your sight more than others. (She opened her mouth to argue) its in your voice shilpa! I can hear you! So tell me! What do you want?



Shilpa closed her eyes as his words squeezed her heart: I want to see you! Ammy! More than anything in the world! More than even looking at myself in the mirror! I want to see you but I'm not sure that's possible! And I don't want to hope for something that might never happen!



Armaan felt her pain as his own: I don't want you to do this for me! I want you to want it for yourself!



Shilpa laughed but it was a sad laugh: I want to Ammy! I want it very much! But…

Armaan: no! no buts! I know you're scared! Hell I'm scared too! But I have faith and hope shilpa! I know you are going to come out a winner!



Shilpe felt tears threatening: Ammy!



Armaan heard her unspoken words, the plea for help: trust me shilpa! Because I have faith for both of us! Say yes!



Shilpa let the tears spill over and managed a single word: yes!



Armaan: I'm calling Dr. Manan!(he took his cell out and called him) hey doc! The answer is yes! How soon can you get everything ready? Ok will wait for your call!



Shilpa: what did he say?



Armaan: he said that he'll call his team today! If everything goes according to plan the operation could be done day after tomorrow!



Shilpa drew in a shuddering breath: so soon!



Armaan: you don't have to worry about a thing! I'm here!



True to his word Dr. Manan's team arrived and the operation was scheduled for the day after. Shilpa was suppose to get admitted the night before, as shilpa with maasi was making her way to her room, armaan sought out Dr. Manan.



Armaan found him in his office: hey doc! Gotta minute!



Dr. Manan looking up: armaan! Comeon in! is shilpa here?



Armaan nodded: thanks for doing this! I owe you one!



Dr. Manan: don't thank me! We've known each other for a long time! I'm glad I could help out! (after a pause) is shilpa?(he paused again) why are you doing this armaan?



Armaan looked at him seriously: because she matters!



Dr. Manan: she doesn't know who you are, does she ?



Armaan nodded: and you are not going to tell her! Whatever she needs to know I'll tell her myself! Also the bill is to be sent to me!



Dr. Manan rubbed his chin thoughtfully: what if she asks about it?



Armaan: I'll talk to her! (armaan stood up to leave) thanks! For what you are doing, it means a lot to me!

Dr. Manan: hey what are friends for? Go now! I'll come in a while and check on shilpa!



Armaan made his way to shilpa's room and found her sitting on the bed while maasi put her stuff in place. As he entered shilpa turned to him: Ammy?



Armaan: everything isfine the doc would be around to check on you in a little while!



Maasi: Ammy beta! Is everything on schedule for tomorrow?



Armaan: yes! There is no need to worry! Now we have to just sit back and relax! 



Later in the evening Armaan to maasi: why don't you go home and rest I'll stay here for the night!



Maasi: are you sure beta?



Shilpa: Maasi go! Please! I'll be fine and you can come in the morning!



Maasi left for the night leaving Shilpa and Armaan there, they sat there in silence.



Armaan: scared?



Shilpa: I don't know but I can't settle down! Nerves I guess!



Armaan: you know…(he started but stopped as a nurse walked in)



Nurse: need to check your blood pressure! And temperature! Its routine! (she started to check and frowned a little) your blood pressure is a bit high!(taking in shilpa's stiff shoulders) well no reason to worry! I think its basically because of nerves and stress! Here!(she placed a pill in shilpa's hand) this will help you relax and sleep!



Shilpa took the pill and swallowed with some water: thanks!(the nurse left)



Armaan: you want to talk!



Shilpa heaved a sigh: no! I really don't want to talk about it!



Armaan: then we have only one option! Music! Lets see what do we have!(he found a radio channel) lets see if we find anything good!



Shilpa gave a small smile: I want some old hindi songs!



Armaan: I don't know! Lets see what they have!(and then smiled) well you are in luck!



Shilpa: Ammy!(armaan turned to her) I wanted to ask about the operation expenses!



Armaan: shilpa don't! its all been looked after! You don't have to worry!



Shilpa: but how much…



Armaan: shilpa! I've told you once! Don't go there! I want to do this! I need to do this and you have no say in this!



Shilpa: this is not fair Ammy! I can't let you do this!(getting agitated)



Armaan: shilpa! You are making too much out of this!



Shilpa: I'm not! I can't let you this!



Armaan walked to her and pulled her up to stand: sshhh! You can fight with me after the operation!



Shilpa huffed: why not now?



Armaan: because I'm in the mood to dance!(before she could argue) here listen to the song! Here comes a new one… 

 

Shilpa: Ammy! (As he pulled her in his arms, and then she stilled as she heard the song)



Lag Ja Gale Ki Phir
ye Hasin Raat Ho Na Ho
shayad Phir Is Janam Mein

mulakat Ho Na Ho
lag Jaa Gale Se ...(like shilpa armaan had also stilled somehow the lyrics of the song made him stop.everything seemed to slow down making him focus only on shilpa who stood in the circle of his arms her hair brushing his nose as she moved her head)

Shilpa felt her heart thud in response to Armaan's presence and the song. Slowly armaan drew her closer and they started to slowly move to the music, it was more like a gentle swaying

hum Ko Mili Hai Aaj
ye Ghadiya Naseeb Se
je Bhar Ke Dekh Leejiye
hamako Kareeb Se( Shilpa lifted her trembling hand and touched armaan's face, lightly tracing his features)
phir Apke Naseeb Mein (Armaan took her hand and placed it on his chest right on top of his thudding heart his eyes never leaving her face as  his arm around her waist tightened)
ye Raat Ho Na Ho
phir Is Janaam Mein
mulakaat Ho Na Ho

Armaan brushed his lips against her forehead as he never wanted to let go

lag Ja Gale gale e e e

Shilpa drew back and tilted her head up wondering what was going on in Armaan's head but didn't know how to ask. Armaan came out of his dream world and looked at shilpa's upturned face, the face of his dreams lifted to him with complete trust. Not sure what he wanted to do more armaan let go of her and stepped back, needing some distance between them before he did something that would ruin everything.


pas Aiye Ki Ham Nahin(Shilpa felt the loss of his touch like a physical blow. She couldn't understand what made him turn away from her, she opened her mouth to call out to him but stopped. Unable to understand she felt tears sting her eyes)
ayenge Baar Baar
bahen Gale Mein Daal Ke
ham Ro Le Zaar-Zaar
ankhoon Se Phir Ye(Armaan heard the words as if shilpa spoke them herself making him turn to look at her. He saw her lips tremble as her eyes shimmer with a sheen of unshed tears making his heart feel pain)
pyaar Ki Barsaat Ho Na Ho
shayad Phir Is Janam Mein
mulakat Ho Na Ho

Unable to hold out against her and his heart he walked back to her and took her again in his arms. Shilpa opened her mouth but armaan stopped her by placing a finger on her lips: sshh! Just dance with me!

Shilpa felt as if she was floating maybe it was the effect of the pill that the nurse had given her or maybe it was Ammy. She felt her heart do a roll in her chest as he brushed her hair back from her face, his fingers touching her cheek with such tenderness. In response she closed her eyes and plced her cheek against his shoulder, closing her eyes she let the music and lyrics flow through her.


lag Ja Gale Ki Phir
ye Hasin Raat Ho Na Ho
shayad Phir Is Janam Mein
mulakat Ho Na Ho
lag Jaa Gale Se ...

As the song ended armaan stood there with shilpa in his arms, he never wanted to let her go. He leaned down and smeeled the sweet smell of her hair then straightened.



Armaan: Shilpa!(but she didn't respond)Shilpa!(he looked at her face and saw her eyes closed and her expression peaceful)



Armaan realized that she had fallen asleep in his arms, his arms involuntarily tightened around her making shilpa squirm a little in sleep. Armaan immediately loosened his hold and then scooped her up in his arms. Helped by the sleeping pill shilpa sighed in her sleep as she slipped into deep slumber. Armaan placed her on the bed covering her with a sheet, once satisfied that she was comfortable armaan dropped onto the couch that was in the room. The couch was small making his feet dangle over the edge but he wouldn't have exchanged this couch for a comfortable room anywhere else. He turned on his side so that he could look at shilpa's sleeping face and fell asleep looking at her.



In the morning there was no opportunity to talk about last night as they started preparing for the operation plus maasi was also there. Just before they were wheeling her inside the theatre shilpa called out to him: Ammy!



Armaan: I'm here shilpa!



Shilpa: you'll be here! When I come out!



Armaan squeezed her hand: wild horses couldn't keep me away!( when she looked nervous armaan touched her cheek lightly) I'm waiting right here!



The nurse took her away leaving armaan to pace and wait with maasi. The operation went on for two hours, two hours of torturous wait. Finally it was over as Dr. Manan walked out and made his way to Armaan and Maasi.



Dr. Manan smiled: don't worry the operation went fine! She'll be moved to a post op for the time being then to her room.



Maasi: will she be able to see again?(he voice shook with emotion)



Dr. Manan: the chances are very good! But only when we take the bandages off and she opens her eyes we'll know for sure!



Armaan: how long?



Dr. Manan: we want the lens and other stuff to settle in! so the bandages won't be coming off before tomorrow about this time.



Armaan: are we allowed to meet her?



Dr. Manan: once she is moved to her room!



After a wait for two hours or so shilpa was moved to a private room where armaan and maasi sat waiting. According to the doctor the bandages that had been put up were to restrict any eye movement to give it some time to make all things settle down.



Shilpa felt herself rise through layers of unconsciousness, her sense of hearing registering the quiet murmur of voices. She felt calm settle over her as she heard armaan's voice talking to maasi. She shifted to call him but even before she had made a sound he was at her side: hey! How r u? take it slow!(as she tried to sit up)



Shilpa: I'm fine!(she lifted her hand and lightly touched the bandages that swathed her eyes and head) what did the doctor say?



Maasi coming and gently caressing shilpa's cheek: the doctor was very confident! He said they will know for sure once the bandages come off.



Shilpa: when is that?



Dr. Manan from the doorway: tomorrow morning! Need to see whether things are working properly or not.



Shilpa: so soon?



Dr. Manan: we use laser technology to do repair work! But you'll need to be careful once we take off the bandages so that not to over do it.



Armaan: but we will know for sure whether she can see or not!



Dr. Manan smiled: yes! I've gotta go for rounds now! I'll see you later!



Armaan to maasi: why don't you go home for some rest?



Maasi: no beta! I'm fine! As it is you've stayed here all night!



Shilpa: Ammy! Go home! Daija must be wondering where you are!



Armaan: I talked to her! She'll be coming over any minute!



It was late in evening when daija, who had come bearing food, which they had eaten finally left. Shilpa who was feeling tired also fell asleep but not before she had a word with armaan alone.



Shilpa: you'll be here in the morning?



Armaan: where else will I be? Go to sleep tomorrow is going to be a busy day!



Armaan lost the night shift to maasi as she was unwilling to leave shilpa. So armaan went back home at daija who had alreadu turned in for the night. He was deep in his thought as he changed his clothes when his cell rang without even looking at the number displayed he took the call.



Armaan: hello!



Atul: armaan! Where the hell are you?



Armaan: I'm fine atul and how are you?



Atul paused for a second taken aback by the affable tone of armaan: uh! Umm! Where are you armaan I thought you'll be in touch with me by now.



Armaan: well now we are! Tell me what happened?



Atul clearly surprised: what happened? In which world are you living? Don't you read the paper? Its all over the news armaan! The stocks have sky rocketed just like you said it would! The world is going crazy and everyone wants to talk to you but you are no where to be found!



Armaan stilled for a moment: well that's good! I'm busy right now will let you know when I'm coming back!



Atul in an incredulous tone: tell me when you are coming back? Busy? Armaan! Are you alright? You remember what I'm talking about! It's a mad house here, I need you to come back here tomorrow latest!



Armaan: Atul! I can't…



Atul cut him: Armaan for the love of god! Singhania is breathing down my neck! He wants you to give a joint press conference with him and he is not willing to wait!



Armaan's jaw tightened: you tell him to talk to me!



Atul: I tried that! He says that you claim to be a man of his word now its time to pay up!



Armaan hands closed into a fist as anger surged through him: son of a bitch! Whom does he think he's talking about? Come to collect, eh? I'm Armaan Mallik and I don't go back on my word!



Atul: so you are coming?

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