by Sheeba Jasmine Albert
I had just completed the biochemical analysis of the last set of blood samples. My favourite melodious ring tone grabbed my attention amidst my busy work at the lab, which I was trying to wind-up. “Pyaari calling” was the display on my mobile phone.
“Hello mummy aren’t you coming? Since how long have I been waiting for you... Where are you?”.
I replied “Beta you just came from school, haven’t you?... Take a bath, have your food, do your homework. Mummy will be there by then..”.
She interrupted, “Mummy, please can we take Tommy too? Please mummy… He is very anxious to know how I perform today on the stage”.
Neha is my 5 year old daughter whom I call Pyaari with utmost love. She tries to please me and always enjoys doing anything to see a smile on my face. She is a student in the first grade of Mount Carmel school. Her annual day function at school would commence at 7pm in the evening and she was eager to take Tommy to school to see her action song for which she had been practicing since 3 months. I too joined in her eagerness.
“Ok Neha, but on one condition, Tommy will remain with me at the audience. No jumping and caressing him or taking him backstage to create disturbance for your friends out there,” I replied.
Tommy is our favourite Terrier who has been with us since a year. She is too fond of him and it is Neha who takes care of him.
“Ok mummy”. Neha Jumped with glee and shouted out “Yippee, Tommy, Tommy where are you, Tommy boy!”
Tommy came running and caressed her with his forehead.
“Tommy you are also coming with us today, Mummy has agreed!”. She patted Tommy as she talked to me over the phone and he stood as an obedient child listening to Pyaari.
“Mummy, please listen to my song and correct me if I go wrong”. Pyaari cleared her throat and imitated the compere.
“Next we have our class I students with their action song. Here goes our song ….Whatever you do, do with a smile, No one’s too big no one’s too small…. Love each other as long as you live…That’s life’s purpose in all…..”
Neha had no plans of stopping her conversation so I had to interrupt her.
“Neha, sing it out to Tommy and prepare yourself, Mummy has some more work to finish in order to wind up and reach to you. I will be home in 45 minutes. Ok beta love you”.
“Ok mummy see you”. Neha disconnected the line.
As I prepared my desk to leave, I received a call from the reception of the blood bank “Madhuri, there is an urgent need for your precious blood, dear. Could you come up to the blood bank?”.
I felt irritated. It is always like this, I plan to take a half day or an off once or twice a month, these people run short of blood the very same minute….
“Uff..” I expressed my annoyance and headed to the blood bank.
I work as a lab technician in a multi-specialty hospital and I deal with the procedures of the blood analysis. The fact that me, possessing the rare blood group, O negative, have always given me the privilege to help people in need. The Blood Bank runs short of this blood group many a time and during circumstances of emergency, I am contacted and I have always felt the contentment too. But at situations like this when I want to rush to my personal matters, I feel a bit irritated, but my soft corner for social commitment always takes the upper hand.
I rushed to the Blood bank, glanced at my watch to keep in mind that I have to reach to my daughter to take her to school. I reached the donor room. After the procedures and drawing of blood, I came out of the room in 20 minutes.
As usual, out of curiosity I asked “who is it this time?”
I got a reply- “It’s a handsome guy in his mid thirties, accident case, his mother is outside and in tears.. she said she wanted to see you, to thank you. Just meet her once you are done.”.
“Oh OK, Fine” I answered...I simply don’t know what urged me, but somehow I felt like seeing the patient.
As I was checking the register for the ward and room number and details of the patient, I noticed a woman in her late fifties standing with
her hands folded in gratitude gazing at me. Her eyes were overflowing with tears. I recognized her at once, it was her, the woman whom I was willing to accept as my own mother, years ago, yes, it was Sameer’s mother.
My mind strolled back, 10 years to college, where Sameer and I were thick lovers who could never be separated. Those unending memories flooded my mind plunging me into some long lost emotions. I experienced mixed feelings. The days when romance was in the air, the days when all my wishes and desires spelled a single name ‘Sameer’, the days when we were the stars of the college, the days we were known to be the lovebirds of the degree batch and were found bunking classes and seen at the canteen or corners of love lanes at odd hours. Taking vows and believing in false promises our love travelled through the years of the degree course, followed by the post-graduation period.
Towards the end, as all lovers face, we too, were confronted with the religious facet of both the families. My parents never had an objection except that the marriage could be possible only after both of us had achieved a promising career. His family had a different outlook altogether. The girl’s career was not at all their concern. It was all about the religion. According to them, they belonged to the most uncontaminated caste of Islam and was adamant to yield to a Hindu girl and that too a little low in caste. They considered it equal to killing their only son. I was considered as some unhygienic clod too unfit to adhere to them. It could ruin their inherited lineage of purity. I found it too arrogant. My only concern was Sameer’s stand. But it was his uncertain attitude that thwarted my plans. He was influenced by the society his father had to face. His father held a respectable position in a society which was highly orthodox. And acquaintance of Sameer with such a clod was out of question. I was furious at Sameer’s behavior because after years of pure love he started adhering to religion all of a sudden. It was then I realized that I was still at infatuation, the futility of which I recognized late.
I had to rise up from this hallucination and come to my senses. I knew I was in the wrong direction and had to take a turn. So that was the end to it. And I had to move on. Though it was difficult emotionally, time healed it all. But the vengeance I had to such attitude has never died down in me till date. So And so my new focus diverted me to a path which taught me to be an independent woman seeking knowledge and courage and so I worked towards pursuing a good career and that journey has reached me here today.
The sound of sobs brought me back to the present scenario. Sameer’s mother was still crying. I understood that she had recognized me, how could she ever forget this snot who had posed a threat to their reputation in the high grade society. I felt the rage rising in me. But her tears had eventually melted me. The sturdy woman who had always scorned me had a totally devastated look today. She came near me and said, “Forgive me daughter, I know I have hurt you a lot but you had a big heart to save Sameer."
The woman who once said “I would rather die than having a grandchild from your womb” was thanking me for my blood which was running through her son’s veins by now. What an irony! The very same person who separated us were now forcing our blood to unite. I was thinking how religion and caste gets dissolved, when it comes to the matter of a breath! Karma had brought up this situation and I simply had to watch it with a smile.
I did not know what to say, I took her folded hands, held them in mine and simply said “Don’t worry mother, Sameer will be fine”. I don’t know what made me say so, but I felt to say like that. And then I walked through the corridor towards the exit. My melodious ringtone distracted me from my present world again.
My daughter sang from the other end “Whatever you do, do with a smile, No one’s too big no one’s too small…. Love each other as long as you live…That’s life’s purpose in all…..” ***