Come Back

Short Story - By Saroja Vasanth

Holding her father's hand , Nisha got down from the train which she had traveled in, from her small town to the big city, and stepped on the platform of the railway station of Bangalore.  She was enthralled by the enormity of the place. Her childish mind could only see the things which she wanted to see.  Happy people everywhere, children dressed in colorful and beautiful clothes, toys hanging on their backs. She looked at her father's face who seems to be busy to reach where ever he wanted to go and finish with his work. She smiled at him being overjoyed and looking forward to enjoy her vacations.

Although her stay was only for a few days and stayed in her aunt's place, she had a good time with her cousins.  Her aunt took her to the Lalbagh flower show, movies, malls etc. It was time for her to go back to her town with her father and she didn’t want to. She wanted to live in Bangalore.

“Pappa, please…, why don't we make our home here and stay here only?” she asked her father with all sad eyes.

“No beta, we cannot stay here as my work is in our place and we need to go back, but if you study well you can come here when you grow up,” said her father.

Nisha became even more determined to score better in her studies as she wanted to come to the big city.

Years went by, and she did grew up into a beautiful young lady as well as the most brilliant. She wanted to become a doctor and help people, so she tried hard to get into medical college.  She got selected in one of the medical colleges of Bangalore and she was glad with the fact that she was  finally going to stay in her dream place.

On the day of selection, she came along with her father, got down in the same railway station, which she had visited years ago, but what she saw this time was way much different, than from a child's mind.  What she saw, was a lot of different people everywhere. So many beggars, homeless children, and so on and that very sight made her feel sad. She felt like this is not the place where she had dreamed of staying. She went on to join the college and her father made her live in one of those girls' hostels.

For the first time in her life, she felt lonely when her father left her in her room and went back his way.

“Nisha beta, here you are, the big city where you always wanted to be and the place is not all good as you think. So be careful with whom you talk to and make friends. “Stay away from bad company,” advising so, her father left.

Nisha went to her room and started unpacking her things into her given racks.

“Hi, I' am Anju,” said her roommate who seem to be the most cheerful young woman, Nisha might have ever seen and who, seem to be totally taken by herself. Anju went on talking without taking a break. Within moments, Nisha knew who stayed in her next two rooms, in the top rooms, who studies what, who had boyfriends and who was the most charming of all etc. Although she felt the information was too much to take in, she politely obliged with her new friend and started to socialize in her new place to live.

“Anju, can you please tell me where I can find a book shop, as I need to buy few books and some of them are not available in the college library,” asked Nisha.

“Oh, in that case, you can always go to the Subramaniam Books near Gandhi Bazaar. They have all kind of books and also you get discount there,” said Anju.

Although, Nisha made some nice friends in the hostel, she preferred to keep low profile and did not like hanging out with friends and spend more time outside. She loved the place Bangalore with its greenery, varied opportunities, and many other things, but she was also sad with the way people reacted to a new-comer and the way most kept to themselves like there is no other person existing around them.

The next day after her classes, she went to the Book shop to buy the books which she wanted. She paid the shop owner and turned in a hurry to leave as it was about to rain, and crashed into a tall man who stood there holding a book in his hand intent on knowing what the book was all about in the back of its cover page. All the books in Nisha's hands fell and while she bent to take them she could not help but notice that she had never seen someone as handsome as he was.

“Oh! I am really sorry, I was busy looking at this book and did not see you, and please let me help”

“It’s OK, actually it was my mistake, I was in hurry,” she said.

When he looked at her books, his mouth turned into a small smile and he wanted to know if she was a student studying those subjects and if so, then she must be an aspiring doctor.

“Hi, I' am Abhishek, Psychiatrist in R and S Hospital and I' am teaching attendant in the city Medical College.”

Well, Nisha did remember her mother's strongly ingrained words in her mind, that you should never talk to a stranger and upon that tell your locations. But for some reason, she felt like talking to this person was no harm and wanted to know more about him and his profession, even though she was in a different college. She introduced herself to him and they spoke for a while on familiar grounds. He gave her his card and asked her to contact him anytime if she needed any kind of help in her studies.

Months passed and she almost forgot about the incident.

One day, when she returned back to her hostel from her college, her next door friend rushed to her, asking her to come fast. Nisha felt panicked, as what the matter might be because her friend also looked in a state of shock and she could not understand why she was rushing, almost dragging her to her room. When they reached, what she saw was blood on floor and her roommate lying on the bed unconscious with a cut wrist.

Nisha realized, even though one might be a doctor, it is not easy to treat a person whom you care and know. Yet, she immediately checked for her friend's pulse and was momentarily relieved that she found one. She remembered Dr. Abhishek's card somewhere in her shelves and made the call immediately. Within an hour Anju was rushed to the R and S hospital and  was taken into the surgery.

Until her friend regained consciousness, she stayed in the hospital as Anju's parents were yet to arrive from a different place, which was a long journey for them. Surprisingly, Abhishek too stayed with her. He had been too touched the way Nisha cared for her friend and was amazed by her simplicity and intellect. He wanted to know more about her.

They sat in the waiting hall until Anju's parents arrived and she was conscious and out of danger.

When the sister announced that Anju was conscious, Nisha went to see her and talk to her. “Anju, I know you need some time and rest to tell me what happened, but please believe this, that we are all there here for you and we all love you. No matter what, you are not alone.”

Anju, just cried holding Nisha hands and when she was about to tell her what happened, her mother rushed in with tears flowing down her face. Nisha thought that her friend needs her mother now and she said that she will be back later.

She just wanted to go back to her hostel as the whole incident upset her too much and she saw Abhishek sitting in the waiting hall.  She went to him and did not know what to say.

“I am really sorry, that you had to stay here and I did not even notice, but it really means a lot to me, thank you.”

He just smiled and asked, “how is your friend now?”

“She is out of danger, but she needs a lot of rest and I don't know why she did this?”

“Was she, involved with anyone, was there any problems?, he asked wanting to help as a good man and as a psychiatrist.

She just shook her head, “I don’t know, I never noticed. She is always so cheerful and never talked about any problems. Until now I never even realized how much I like her. She is a good friend.”

Abhishek thought that she looked tired. “I think you need a break, come on I will drop you to your place and you should rest for a while”.

“Yeah!, I guess you are right, I feel too tired”

Abhishek made sure that she ate something and took her to the restaurant and then dropped her to her hostel. They said their byes.

A few days passed, and Anju recovered fast. Nisha got to know that her friend was in love with a boy in her college and he had to move out of the place and hence he broke up the relationship before leaving and Anju decided to end her life.

She had read such incidents umpteen times in newspapers and also heard about different stories of different people, but it was more painful when it happened to someone she knew and to to someone closer to her.

Abhishek and Nisha had become good friends and they talked at length about their profession as well as other things every time they met. He discussed about some of his patients and diagnosis and other things with her and felt he could share anything with her and was comfortable too. Many a times she was so observed with his knowledge, that she just loved to sit and listen to all about his work.

Years passed, and they met always as usual. "Nisha, in few months you will be finishing your exams. What have you planned to do later?” asked Abhishek.

“I don't know, I always wanted to help people and that is why I wanted to become a doctor. I am so confused what to do, or where to apply.”

“I will refer you to some of the top hospitals and we will see how it goes.”

Nisha agreed, although she was not happy, because she always wanted to help the poor and needy and top hospitals are not a place where such people come for treatment.

Abhishek had decided to tell her his feelings that he was in love with her and wished to marry her and it will be good if she started to serve in the same hospital where he worked. But he waited till her exams got over.

Months passed and Nisha got selected for practicing in some of the leading hospitals.

“Nisha, I wanted to talk to you from a very long time,” said Abhishek. 

She looked at him with a hint of a smile, and asked “Come on, Abhishek we always talk so many things, and you never seemed this much keyed up, what is the matter?”

Abhishek felt really stupid for being so nervous. He did finally made up his mind that if he did not ask her now, he would never do it.

“I am in love with you and wish to marry you. Actually I am in love since the day I saw you. So tell me Nisha, will you marry me?”

Nisha knew, after these many days somewhere at her heart that he liked her and she knew that she too liked him, and now, when he asked the question, she was overjoyed and wanted to say yes, but Something made her stop. She felt like she is betraying all those people whom she wanted to serve, whom she wanted to help.

“Abhishek, as much as you love me, I love you too, but I don't think I' am ready yet for marriage. There is a lot for me to do.”

“I am never going to stop your work Nisha, you can always do what you wanted to, even after marriage.”

“Still it will not be same,” she said.

“OK, you take some time and think about it. But please do give me a positive answer. I will wait for your cal.l”

They talked about other things and after a while went back on their own ways.

It was very difficult for Nisha to decide, because she liked Abhishek very much and did not want to give up on the beautiful life she might have with him and being married to him. But deep in her heart she craved for something different. Her joy and peace laid in helping the poor.

The next day, she called Abhishek and told him that she wants to wait and in another month she is joining on a campaign of doctors who visit all over the rural places to treat the patients, those who cannot pay for their consultations.

Abhishek although felt sad, he was relieved that at least she did not say no.

“Alright Nisha, you go and do what you always wanted and I' am really happy for you. But I will wait, as long as you come back to me.”

She didn’t know what to say, but was swept over with his love towards her.

“I will call you as soon as I reach,” she said.

After a month, the campaign started and the group of doctors started with some of the nearby villages. It wasn't easy in the beginning. She worked endlessly and the days seemed like never ending.

By the time she was in the bed she could hardly open her eyes. Months passed and she treated many people through the campaign in different places.

She joined different groups and help campaigns and worked hard. Her work brought her closer to many people and earned a lot of respect and fame for her kindness, determination and her need to help others.

Many even blessed her with all the happiness in the world. There were men who worked in her team and was mesmerized with her and even wanted to get married. But all that she thought of was her work.   After a long time she came to terms, that she could not forget Abhishek and if there exists a man in her life as a partner, it could be only him. Hence she threw herself into work and never spent any time herself to be free or to relax. Time passed fast and she worked all the way to provide better health and had reached an Olympian height. She also completed her specialization while she worked towards charity.

 The story continued here.....