Dedicated to all the readers of Yellow Torn Pages :-)

If Only…
29th May 2010
Emergency Division, N.R.S. Hospital, Kolkata…
The clock on the wall ticked 3:25am. The darkness outside the corridor is gradually fading into lighter shade of black. Sohini, sitting in the waiting room, shifted on her chair uneasily. Her hollow eyes still trying to search answers to many unanswered questions, even tears on her cheek had dried long back. One attendant was silently entering daily updates of the patients in the desktop computer. The white fluorescent lights seeping out of the artificial ceiling gave the whole corridor a dreamy look. Sohini was waiting there for a long time.
When she first received the call it was somewhat around midnight, the number blinking on the cell phone screen was showing “Baba calling…”. She thought her father might be calling her to wake her up as they arrive. With sleeping eyes she received the call only to hear an unknown voice asking about her relation with Mr. Ashok Roy. Suddenly all the sleepiness rushed away and a blood watering chill ran down her spine. The voice over phone was requesting her to come to NRS hospital. He also informed her if possible then, to get a few elder member of the family with her. With a shivery hand she managed to cut the call and called uncle to inform him about the situation. They stay little away from the main city. She realized that by the time they come to pick her up from home it might be too late for such a grave situation. So she requested them to directly come and meet her at the hospital itself. She had a tough time to get a taxi at that hour of the day, but the taxi driver was good enough to understand the situation and reached her as early as possible.
She barged inside the emergency division, where there were police officers and a few others, might be eye witnesses or passerby. Anyone of them might have called her from her father’s cell phone, she guessed. One of the police officer walked up to her and asked her name and relation with Mr. Roy. Later he only led her to the corridor where there were 4 stretchers kept in a row and none were empty. The officer went up to each and every stretcher and removed the white sheet of cover a little, so that she can identify the faces. First she saw a innocent fair face of a teen boy; her little brother. Dead, her only brother, whom she adored the most, now lying on the stretcher dead as a stone. She touched his small face, still warm. How could he die, possibly he is still alive, if the doctors try a little harder they might be able to save him. She cried for the doctors begging them to look into him once again. Two nurses and a ward-boy came forward to hold her tight. The officer informed her that her brother was still breathing when he was brought to the hospital. But just 15 minutes before he breathed his last. Then he went on to show the other faces, faces of those who were her family. Whom she loved the most, whom she surely never wanted to meet like this. Her younger sister, her grandmother, and her Maa at the last. She cried like a baby hugging her mother’s body. The officer went on telling her something more, but all the worldly sounds started to fade away. Neither she could hear anything, nor was able to grasp the reality. After some time, she didn’t know how long she wept; she suddenly stood straight and asked the officer about her father. She claimed to see her father. He informed her that he was the only one who was still breathing although his condition was severely critical. He was admitted in the emergency department and was taken inside the OT. The doctors and surgeons are attending him. The nurses and the ward boy took her to the sitting area, offered her a glass of water which she inattentively denied. Then they handed over a form to sign. She could not even read a single letter, she just signed wherever they were instructing her. Within 15 minutes her uncle and aunt and her cousin brother arrived there. The police officers were still there waiting to finish the formalities. They informed them about the incident and the casualties and showed them the bodies. All those people who were very much alive even a day before and were as much important part of her life and existence as her own life, all of a sudden they became bodies!
Her uncle and aunt went up to the counter to do the payment formalities. Her cousin was calling the mortuary vehicles and talking to the police regarding body release and all. She was getting drifted away in some other reality, where she thought that all these are nothing but a horrific nightmare and things will just be fine as soon as she will wake up in the morning. She loved the thought so much that at the back of her mind she even started to believe that thought as true. She was already feeling numb; and now suddenly started to feel nauseated and was slowly losing her consciousness. A nurse came out with speeding pace; stood just in front of Sohini. The nurse thought that the girl had slept off because of tiredness and shock. She kept a hand softly on her shoulder and gently shook her awake. It gave her a start, she nodded confusingly. She was handed over a prescription signed by the operating doctor, asking her to fetch 2 bottle of O Negative blood. The nurse said that she needs to arrange the blood immediately, otherwise they might not be able to save her father’s life. She left the hospital immediately for the blood bank nearby. Her uncle and cousin also left for another two blood banks little far from the hospital.
4 hours before…
Around 11:05am, 28th May, the majestic GT Road lay like a giant serpent under the pitch black sky of new moon. A Maruti Zen, speeding from Durgapur to Kolkata. Mr. Roy, 58 years, was driving the car. Beside his driver’s seat his elderly mother, 77 years, Amala Devi was sitting. On the rear seat His wife Shreeparna, 55, was sitting with their daughter Shreyashi, 19, and only son Souvik, 15 on both the side. Both the kids were sleeping, leaning against their mother’s shoulder. The couple’s eldest daughter Sohini, 23, was not with them. She used to stay in Delhi then, working with an MNC as a software engineer. She flew back to Kolkata in the afternoon that day. The Roy family was actually going to Kolkata to meet a prospective groom’s family for Sohini’s marriage. The indicator of the speedometer was showing 70kmph. Mr. Ashok hoped they might be able to reach Kolkata before midnight. Engrossed in his own thoughts he didn’t realize that now the 4 lane road has changed into a single lane and loaded trucks and Lorries are coming with full speed from the opposite direction. With a sudden start he heard a shrill honk of a ten wheeler giant road liner in front of his Zen. And the next moment he was trying to maneuver the car more towards the left to get away from the wheeling giant. But it was already too late. The two moving vehicles collided head on, and the last sound Mr. Ashok heard was a blood curdling mixture of metallic thud and horrified shrieks coming out from the others inside the car. The giant wheeler pushed the half battered Zen a few yards back and forced to a halt with all ten tires screeching sharply against the concrete road. Smoke rose from the engine…
4am, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Emergency Blood Bank…
Sohini was standing on the other side of the counter, her slender body leaning against the counter wall to support her weight. She was holding one bottle of O- blood in her right hand; her left hand was still on the prescription indexing the sentence mentioned 2 bottles. The attendant on the other side of the counter was nodding his head helplessly, and muttering the same line again and again, that there was only one bottle there, he himself went and checked the storeroom. “Madam, you must know, how rare O Negative blood is to get, that too all of a sudden.” Sohini’s mind had taken so much in such a small span of time that she was beyond any reasoning. She found herself shouting over her voice which sounded hoarse even to her ears. She was mechanically pressing her mobile phone buttons to call her uncle for any news of one more bottle of O Negative blood. Her face muscles shagged after she heard the response from the other side. She is not going to let her father die on the operation table, not at least not because of blood deficiency. Her father, whose blood was throbbing in her heart, how can she let him die, till her lungs still pumping air out of her body? If so, she will compel the doctors to take the last drop of her own blood to save her father’s life. She forcefully pushed the thought out of her mind, paid the attendant for the one bottle of blood she managed to collect and rushed out of the blood bank. She called one taxi and headed towards NRS hospital.
5:05am, outside OT, Emergency Division, N.R.S. Hospital…
The morning sky was all getting dressed up with the reddish tint of the vermilion colored baby sun. Dr. Dibakar Banerjee, a veteran in surgery, who was operating her father, was trying to console her. Three mini vans were standing outside the hospital. Two of which were ready to leave with the four bodies. The third one was waiting for the last body. Sohini was sitting on her knees with her face pushed within her palms in front of her father’s dead body. A whole new surge of tears and helpless emotion was bursting out of her big eyes. Her whole world turned upside down within a few hours span. Her voice was already hoarser and all cracked because of pain and shock. Three four nurses, her uncle, aunt, cousin and a few kind hearted relatives of some other patients tried to lift her to sit on a chair. One nurse tried to give her a little water. Even the nurses’ eyes were wet with sympathy. There was only one thing which stood still in that chaos, the bottle of blood which she managed to collect, stood alone atop the counter in front of the emergency division. She was supposed to bring another bottle of blood. But her father solved the problem for her. He left this world before they could pump even the first bottle of blood in his body.
Sohini, 23, was sitting alone, on a chair, with no one of her family left for her to lend a shoulder to cry on. One single night, changed her whole world, her life changed forever…
Time passed by. She needed a change in her life. She applied for transfer. Her company transferred her to Bangalore a year later…
29th May 2012
10:00am, Infosys Campus, Electronic City, Bangalore
Sohini was sitting inside her cubicle. She had an invitation letter lying on her desk. She was playing with the envelope with her slender fingers inattentively. She just opened the envelope letter without any specific thought. Her eyes stuck on the word “blood donation”. She read the rest of the letter with a frown between her brows. When she managed to finish the invitation her eyes were already burning in pain. Suddenly her eyes fell on the table calendar, which was showing 28th May – she forgot to change the date after coming to office today. She felt a sharp pang in her heart reminding her the day – the very day. The day she will never forget, yet cannot remember exactly the time and chronology. It seems like a watermark etched deep in her mind. She mechanically stood on her heels and walked up to the water filter to have a little water. She tried to gather herself together. She had already decided to go for this blood donation camp. She asked her best friend Ashmita to come with her if she wished to do so. She told her where she was going. Ashmita came out with her. Both of them went to the blood donation camp at IFIM B School Campus. While lying on the camp bed with needle inserted in her hand, a sole thought kept haunting her mind, if only she could give her blood to her father, if only her father would have given her a little more time to fetch the other bottle of blood, if only….
She thought, her blood might be able to save a life. At least it will be able save a father and a daughter, if not her’s. A single tear droplet rolled down the corner of her eye, she felt relieved…
*** This one i wrote for my college magazine. My first humble try to write a story. The theme of the story is partly imaginary and partly based on some true incidents happened in the past. ***
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