Probably , I Have Seen You …
You don’t wake up every day to find yourself in hospital clothes having no idea what made you land here. But here I am, sitting clueless on the bed with not even a bruise, looking for answers.
A very pretty woman came and set down a pot of steaming soup on my breakfast table. She was dressed in pretty blue dress with hair neatly tied in a bun, a face that exuded natural beauty, meticulously manicured nails, and beautiful eyes. Whoa! It must be a very lucky day for me- starting with this pretty woman laying breakfast just for me! I mustered up the courage to ask her name. A pained smile crossed her face, “Sunaina” she meekly replied and left. I spied a tear run down her cheek. Funny! I didn’t ask her something rude, now did I? Very well, that wasn’t a good way to start a conversation, I guess. The next time I see her, I’ll compliment her eyes- so beautiful! That wouldn’t make her sad, now would it? As I mentally made notes on how I’d start talking the next time. I looked around my bed. Another bed was set up opposite mine in the spacious room. The man- in hospital clothes was absorbed in a book. I planned to talk to him later on. I saw many get well soon cards beside my bed. It was then I realized that I didn’t even know why I was hospitalized! As I bent to pick up one, a doctor came through the door. He took out a stool from under the bed and sat beside me.
“Good morning, Mr Kumar. How do you feel today?”
“Excellent!” I replied. You don’t get a beautiful lady to serve you breakfast every day, do you?
“And how was the food?”
“Tasty” I said. “But doctor…”
“Why exactly am I here? I can’t seem to remember” I asked, he clearly read the bewilderment from my face as he smiled and replied, “Exactly that’s why” and left. Not very helpful! Why are they behaving like they would rather let me be on my own rather than talk to me? His reply left me more confused than ever.
When the man opposite on the bed opposite to mine finished reading, I tried to talk to him. He’d only reply with grunts and sniffs. Coming to think of it, it wasn’t a good day after all- I made my attendant cry, my doctor was so damn mysterious and I had a roommate who wouldn’t even talk!
I remembered those cards, and picked them up. They all were the same, with drawings of a man, a woman and a little girl holding their hand with get well soon scrawled over all of them in a child’s handwriting. They were from some kid called Mishti. Sweet name, to be precise!! I thought it sounded familiar, but at the moment, it didn’t ring any bells. After a few minutes Sunaina re-entered and picked up the soup bowl. She was about to leave when I gathered guts and called her. She turned around, looked at me with those mesmerizing eyes of hers. Ah! I could gaze into them all day!!
“Yes?” her sweet voice brought me back to the hospital room.
“You have very retty pies- No! I mean pies petty! No! No! I meant pretty eyes” I blurted out and ended up turning red.
I heard my roommate smirk
She laughed softly “Thank you!” and left
“Ah, that went well! Almost, I mean” I thought, congratulating and cursing myself at the same time.
I leafed through a few magazines kept on my bedside. A paper fell out from one of them. It was again in the handwriting of a child, I’m not sure if the same one as the card-kid.
I miss you, daddy. You are taking so long!! You said you will come back in one week!! And look I have even passed class 1 now and you have not come. Do they give you toffees that you hide from me and eat them alone? I am really angry daddy, you even missed my birthday! You pinkie-promised!! When you come you will have to get a box of chocolates for me or I won’t ever talk to you!!!
“I liked that man” I was left startled when my roommate spoke for the first time in the day!! He was pointing to the paper I was reading
“He loved his daughter and his wife more than dear life! She’d come every day and sit on his lap and he’d tell her a story and she’d then play on his lap and fall asleep. A bundle of joy she was!! It was so nice to see the two enjoy . The mother would come too and watch the 2 play. She too would join the two often. They were a very happy family” he spoke as he smiled, probably reminiscing on the sweet memories.
“Did he bring her a box of chocolates when he returned home?” I asked jestingly pointing to the letter in my hand.
His hitherto cheerful face drooped, “He died”
“Oh. I’m sorry-
“It started with a mere concussion and turned into something so brutal”, he continued, ignoring my embarrassment, “He died every day. It was painful to watch helplessly” tears were streaming down his eyes, “He was a good man, and he didn’t deserve this! God is cruel my friend, he twists fate so mercilessly, one can never tell what maladies might befall man” he shook his head and returned to his book which he’d resumed reading while I was busy.
I’d disturbed him enough already to ask him anything more.
I felt really sad, especially for the little girl who instead of a box of sweets was faced with the news of her father’s death.
I slept for the rest of the afternoon and was awoken by the doctor in the evening. He had this grim expression on his face. Grim faced doctors approaching you in a hospital can never be good news.
“Mr Kumar, I have some important thing to tell you”, he said, framing his sentence carefully.
“I’m listening”, I replied, trying to appear calm.
“You are suffering from a grave disease” he said, “You suffer from phases of amnesia now and then and lose some part of your memory. It’s difficult to explain, Mr. Kumar. What’s worse, you might not even remember that I told you this.”
Suddenly the room started spinning; memories started flashing in front of my eyes. My roommate’s words rung in my ears.
He died every day
Like bolts of lightning, facts struck me. Sunaina was my wife. I was Mishti’s father!
The doctor put a hand on mine and continued, “I’m afraid there’s not much we can do to help you. The best we can do is slow down the degradation. I’m really sorry.”
I was at a loss for words. I could only stare blankly at the doctor. Everything was clear as day- for the moment at least. I opened my mouth to say something when suddenly the door burst open and a little girl hopped and skipped in with her worried mother tagging along. There was not an iota of doubt. It had to be her, my daughter, my Mishti.
She hopped onto my bed and pretended to be very angry. She crossed her arms and made a sulky face. “You know I’m very very angry with you Papa! You forgot my birthday! You had promised you’d give me that doll this time.”
For a moment, I look at her. The same beautiful eyes; only livelier. Her face sculpted just like Sunaina’s; silky black hair flying behind her as she ran into the room. A moment ago I didn’t know how I’d face her. But now everything fell into place.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, I really am.” I told her, putting my arms around her, “Sometimes daddy forgets. But when he sees his sweet little girl, he knows he needs nothing else” I hugged her tightly, letting her sink into my arms, knowing I might not even remember this moment later. My eyes met Sunaina’s tear-filled ones. I gazed back lovingly into them, knowing well I’d forget her too. But I knew whenever I’d see those beautiful eyes, they’d mesmerize me endlessly.
By: Ayanthi Ghosh