Read the prologue and rest of the chapters here: https://kavyajanani.wordpress.com/debut-novel/
The ambulance’s siren pierced through the roads. I had never been in an ambulance before. I was unconscious. Blood was dripping from my head. The driver of the car, which had hit me, was beside me. He was a Samaritan. It had not turned out to be a hit-and-run case.
We reached the hospital within a few minutes. I was taken out of the ambulance and placed on a stretcher. My clothes were soaked in blood, but I could not see or feel anything. This feeling of non-existence felt good, yet terrifying.
That was the only word I loathed to the core. Though I was unconscious, the strong smell of medicines was getting on to my nerves, pushing me towards the so-called ‘death’.
‘Bhavana! You have a life. Don’t lose hope. You have to live happily with Jairam.’
The doctors were performing shock treatment on me. I did not gain consciousness at the first attempt. Only the third attempt proved fruitful. I came back to life, but my eyes were closing away. I was fainting once again. Suddenly I felt something pierce my left arm. They were injecting a medicine.
‘Ouch! It is paining, idiots!’ I wanted to yell at them.
Instead, I peacefully fell asleep. The doctors cleaned my wounds.
“You may now enter. Don’t disturb the patient,” said one of the doctors.
“Bhavanaaaa..Oh my dear!” It was my mom. She was wailing at a high pitch.
‘Ma! I am alive. Please don’t wail like this. It’s sickening me.’ I wanted to tell her.
“I told you not to cross the road. I know that you are careless.”
“Please don’t cry inside the ICU. You might disturb the patient. Wait outside. We will call you once again,” a nurse spoke and ushered my mom outside. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. Otherwise, my mom’s blaming would have continued.
“We have to perform a minor operation on her. There is a clot in her brain. We have to remove that immediately,” said the doctor to my mom. I couldn’t hear what was spoken after that. I fell deep asleep. I woke up after a few hours. Flicking my eyes open, I spotted one of the doctors smiling at me.
“How are you, Bhavana?” he asked me.
“I..I..” I couldn’t open my mouth properly. There was a wound at the end of my lip.
“That’s okay. Don’t strain yourself. Now just follow my instructions. Place your right hand on the extended sidebar from your bed.” I did as told.
“Good. Now take a deep breath slowly.”
I inhaled some air and felt like choking. Then, I sensed that peculiar thing. The doctor was registering an injection onto my right wrist. And within a few seconds, I blacked out. It was anaesthesia.
“Bhavana..Bhavana..Open your eyes slowly..” The doctor was waking me up in a singsong voice. I thought I would wake up, all refreshed and feeling jubilant. But my eyes were going around in a dizzy.
“Aaaaaaaaa….” I screamed and wailed.
“It’s okay, Bhavana. Cool down. Everything is over.” The doctor was reassuring me. But I kept screaming like a patient in a mental asylum. After that, I puked a lot. The nurses cleaned me.
“Shift her to Room no.101,” said the doctor to the hospital warden.
Two men carried me through a stretcher to Room no.101. It was an air conditioned room. I was comfortably placed on a bed. The glucose drips were entering through an incision in my left hand. The wardens placed an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth. A pulse oximeter was clipped on to my middle finger to check the saturation of oxygen in my blood. I felt queer, imagining how I would look amidst all the post surgery equipments. Soon, I fell asleep.
It was midnight. The pain which my body effused was unbearable. I was whimpering to myself. I did not want to disturb the nurses as they were fast asleep. Suddenly, I felt suffocated. I was struggling to breathe. I found the miscreant. It was the oxygen mask. It was needed only for patients who don’t get enough oxygen. But I was perfectly alright. The presence of the oxygen mask was killing me slowly.
“Aaaaaaaaaaa..” I shrieked.
“Whaaat? What happened?!” The nurses came running, horrified.
I began crying and pointed at the oxygen mask. Immediately, they pulled it way. The fresh gush of air felt heavenly. I could breathe normally.
“Whath ees thees foyr?” The words stumbled out of my mouth. I was pointing at the pulse oximeter on my finger.
“That one is to check your pulse rate,” the nurse replied. I asked them to remove that too. I did not want to feel like a patient anymore. The kind nurse removed it, registered a pain killer and put me to sleep.
The door opened. It was Nimmi. Her eyes were puffed. It was evident that she had been crying. I beckoned her to sit beside me, smiling at her gently. Her tawny complexion was glowing in the sun rays which streamed through the window. She had plaited her hair on both the sides, which was one of my favourite hairstyles of her. They were short plaits and they looked cute on her.
“It’s awful to see you like this, Bhavana,” she said, preparing herself for another bout of sob.
“Please don’t say such things, Nimmi. I feel diseased, already.”
She understood my condition and tried to cheer me up.
“I have got oranges and apples for you. I asked your mom to juice them up. I know that you love fresh fruit juices.”
“Are you joking, Nimmi? You know what, I can have only oats. The doctor has advised me to keep away from other foods till I get discharged. I don’t know why. He told me that I had acquired a stomach infection too.”
“Oh my baby! I thought to get you mutton biryani for lunch,” she pouted.
“I don’t have the strength to throw things at you. Otherwise I would have strangled you by now.” I was visibly put off after she mentioned ‘mutton biryani’. My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered at the thought of it.
“By the way, why aren’t you in school?” I asked her.
“So, you don’t even keep track of the days. It’s a Sunday, idiot!”
“Oh! You wouldn’t have come if it was a working day, right?”
“Do you want me to get angry now? You are my blood and skin, Bhavana. I just shuddered when I heard that you met with an accident.”
“I would have murdered you if you hadn’t come.”
“Yeah, I know that. I know you will turn mad at me.”
I smiled at her. It was my first smile after 24 hours of pain. She felt alleviated to see me smile. She stood up and spoke, “I am leaving now. The doctor has strictly said that I should be inside only for ten minutes. I don’t know what they would gain by keeping you isolated. I will make a call to your mom’s mobile phone in the evening.”
I nodded, feeling cared and loved. I was happy that the accident had brought back my Nimmi, who was slowly drifting away from me. But I was surprised that she did not ask me anything about Jairam.
‘Maybe she thought that it was insignificant now.’
“Ma, I promise you I won’t cross the main road hereafter. Now please stop your endless blaming.”
“I am not blaming you. I just want you to be careful while crossing the road. It’s not a big deal nowadays. You are a grown up and you can judge very well. You can’t survive without crossing roads in your life. Don’t make such silly promises. You might have been in some other world while crossing the road.”
Her last line made me jump. Yes, she was true. I was thinking about Jairam’s absence while crossing the road. I silently vowed to myself that I would be more careful while crossing the road. Slowly, my thoughts drifted back to Jairam.
‘Where is he now? What will he be doing? Will he ever come to know about my accident? God, I miss him.’ I decided to listen to a song that would make me remind about him.
“Ma, would you get me my MP3 player?”
“Yeah, sure dear.”
She returned with my MP3 player. Then, I switched it on and browsed through the songs that would fit my mood. I was fed up with the whole list of songs. I needed someone to suggest me a song.
“Ma, what song shall I listen?”
“What is this silly question? You listen to whatever you want. You are a crazy Rahmaniac, right? Listen to any Rahman’s songs.”
That fit the bill. I had created a playlist named ‘Rahmanism’. I found a song that perfectly suited my mood. Wanting to dwell in Jairam’s thoughts, I felt that that particular song rendered his memories. It was Taal se taal mila song from Taal movie.
“Maana anjaan hai tu mere vaasthe
(I admit that you are unknown to me)
Maana anjaan hoon mein tere vaasthe
(I admit that I am unknown to you)
Main tujhko jaan loon, tu mujhko jaan le
(I will get to know you, you will get to know me)”
‘Awwww! The perfect lines for my love story.’ I thought.
“Yeah, I know you are fine. Don’t keep repeating that. Just tell me how the hell did this happen?” asked Vikram. He looked even burlier since the last time I had met him.
“I went to buy a chart sheet for my project. I thought I could cross the road and buy it in Ram Stationary in Durga Devi Temple Street. But I did not get one there. So, I crossed back to go to my home. That’s when it happened.”
“You could have got the chart in MVR shop itself, no? Why did you cross the road?”
I looked down, not wanting to tell the truth to him. But he was a sensible guy. He knew that I was lying.
“Liar! You were up to something. Tell me the truth.”
“I..I..I had gone to find out Jairam’s house. He had been missing for three days. Either he was not in his shop or it was closed. So, I thought I could go in search of his house, to confront him directly.”
“Are you mad? What did you think? That you could find his house amidst so many houses, eh?”
“I am sorry, but you know I missed him like hell.
Vikram’s expression changed to that of remorse. He turned away from me.
“What’s the matter, Vikram?”
“Nothing, Bhavana. I need to control my anger.”
“But why are you angry now? Look, I am fine.”
“That’s not the matter, Bhavana. I am angry on myself.”
“Umm..Well..Just leave it.”
“Vikram, you are hiding something from me. Tell me, what’s that?”
He moved closer to me. Taking my right hand in his, he looked at me with a pained expression. I felt strange by his actions.
“Bhavana, I..I need to confess something.”
“Go on, Vikram.”
“I thought to tell you this in tuition itself, but I did not get a chance. I can’t hide it now. Guilt is killing me. Seeing you in this condition, the guilt has turned even worse.”
“What is it, Vikram? Tell fast. You have only ten minutes of visiting time.”
“Bhavana, it was I who told Jairam to keep away from you.” He bent his head down. For a moment, everything turned blank around me. I could not register what Vikram had told, though my mind had listened to the complete sentence.
“What?” my voice turned shaky. “Say..Say that again.”
“Yeah, I told Jairam to move away from you, forever.”
I released my hand from his clutches. And the next moment, I slapped him. A tight slap that was. I could not believe that my own hand did that. I did not know how I had immense strength in me, even after the surgery. Tears filled in his eyes.
“I am sorry, Bhavanaaa..” He began weeping.
“How could you do this, Vikram?” I hissed at him, feeling a murderous rage to kill him at that moment. Anger was splurging through every sinew and vein of my body.
“I don’t know why I did that. But…”
“Who the hell are you to do that, Vikram?”
“Bhavana, please don’t be angry.”
“How can’t I? Why did you do this? Come on! Tell me, WHY DID YOU DO THIS?” I bawled at him.
The doorknob turned and my mom came rushing in.
“What’s happening, Bhavana? Why are you shouting?”
“Umm..Nothing, Ma. I was just scolding Vikram.”
“What makes you scold him? Sorry Vikram, I think she has turned hysterical. I don’t know what the problem is. But you please return to your home. Visit her later.”
“I don’t want him to be in my sight anymore, Ma. Tell him to get lost!”
“Bhavana, I know you are mad at him. But don’t speak like this. It will deteriorate your condition further.”
Vikram stood up to leave.
I did not respond and turned my face away from him. Understanding my anger, he left the place immediately.
‘How could he do this to me? How could he do this to my Jairam? What was his motive? He has spoiled my life. Spoiled my beautiful love story.’ I let my tears flow freely after mom had left the room. I thought about Jairam who would have felt miserable by Vikram’s warning. I wanted revenge. I wanted to get back at Vikram. But I was completely helpless and weak.
My mom handed over the mobile phone. It was Nimmi’s call. She had called me as promised.
“Hello Nimmi, wait a minute.” I readjusted my position, placing the phone on the side table. The glucose drips were irritating me. I thought to tear away the connection, but I could not. That was the only means by which I was fed. I picked up the phone again.
“Yeah, tell me, Nimmi.”
“You have to tell me. How are you feeling now?”
“I feel like dying, yaar,” I broke down.
“Bhavana? What happened? You are okay, right?”
“That’s not the problem, Nimmi. Vikram has betrayed me.”
“Vikram? Did he come to visit you?”
“Yes, he came.”
“What did he do?”
“It was he who told Jairam to move away from me.”
There was silence at the other end.
“Yeah, I am there. How dare did he do this? If I ever see him, I would kill him for sure.”
“Even I thought the same.”
“Poor Jairam! God knows where he went. Find him soon, Bhavana.”
“He will return, Nimmi. I have confidence in my love. Vikram is just a piece of…..I don’t want to use bad words.”
“I can understand your anger, Bhavana, but don’t get too emotional. It will have consequences on your health.”
“Okay, Nimmi. I am dying to take revenge on Vikram.”
“Yeah, we will do it together.”
“Together? You don’t even know him, Nimmi. Ha ha ha…” I laughed, knowing that it was a desperate attempt by her to cool my anger.
Hope you enjoy the story, friends. Next update tomorrow or in a couple of days. 🙂