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His head was pounding. He wanted to lift his eyes but it seemed they were weighed down. He felt disoriented. He didn’t know where he is, what day it was, and where he was. He felt as if he was floating in some dark space. He could hear some beeping noises in the background. He wanted to move his hand just to know if he still had hands. But he couldn’t will his hands. His lips felt dry and parched. He wanted to lick his lips but couldn’t gather enough strength to do that.
Somebody was sifting through his hair. Roving their hands on him as if to check he still had body. Then he heard a voice. A voice so broken that it was nearly unrecognizable. A voice he never thought would make him sad.
“Beta! Why did you do it? Was my love so paltry that it was never enough for you? What will I do if you die? It was anyway difficult to live without your mother. You were my only reason to be alive, and now you are snatching that too from me! I must have done something ghastly in my last birth to see my only son dying.”
He never thought he would see a day when his father mourned anything. He remembered seeing his father’s stoic face when the mother passed away. Even after this many years, he had never heard his father talking about his mother. Few times he had tried to talk about it but father had changed the topic saying he didn’t want to remember her. How can a man not want to remember his wife? And how could he know that such a man would love him? He who didn’t know what he wanted from life. He who didn’t have any ambitions. He who thought love and warmth wasn’t for him.
“Uncle, we would request you to sit in the waiting area. This is ICU and you are disturbing the patient.” He heard someone saying this sympathetically.
He felt a pair of arms being removed from him and feet shuffling. He was engulfed with a sense of loneliness. And that left him bereft because he was used to being alone. In fact, he enjoyed solitude. Well, most of the times. And then he realized. He realized that for the first time he experienced the love of a doting father. His father had never taken much interest in his hobbies. His goals. That’s another matter he never had goals. His father was always concerned about his school report initially, and then college results. He remembered their bitter fight about the latter. It was couple of years back when his father told him that he was a son who deeply embarrassed him, and he wished he was rather childless.
That was the last time they had any kind of verbal communication.
Suddenly Arpit felt chaos around him.
“His heart rate is falling. It’s going below 45!”
Although he couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was happening but he could feel pain in his body. Something was being pushed inside his body. He wanted to scream with agony but he couldn’t. He wanted to push everyone hovering over him but he couldn’t. He wanted to cuss long and hard but he couldn’t.
Slowly and gradually his awareness started fading. Voices were now coming from long distance. Sharp pricks now seemed blunt. Darkness was calling him. It wanted to embrace him. On one hand he wanted to cling to that darkness because it seemed inviting and soothing. On the other, something was pulling him back. Something that wanted him to cling but cling to what he didn’t know.
He was tired. Bone-deep tired. He just wanted to let go. He wanted to sleep. Sleep like a log. Without being hurt, without feeling melancholy. He wanted to sleep in his mother’s lap.
He let everything go.