I sat huddling on my chair, slowly sifting through the delicate white leaves of Ruchita’s diary, the only faint sound echoing through the room being the alerting beep of the monitors perched on bedside tables. The elegant cursive letters, with a characteristic oval notation instead of the dots for the i’s, written in jet black ink, allured me more into the mystic tale each passing second. Ruchita was a writer and the prowess of her talent was evident from the tangled manner in which she moulded her sentences, even though the lines spoke of her life story and not of a tale churned out by her creative mind.
For the past one hour I had been drifting on a completely different world, traversing through the intriguing life events of Ruchita and Abhay, narrated through Ruchita’s beautiful words on her diary. She was amusingly garrulous at times and at other times, embarrassingly romantic. Ruchita and Abhay had been married for two months now. However, the journey that concluded on an exhilarating note in them getting married, hadn’t been a smooth joy ride all through. Tumultuous it was when Abhay refused to marry her on grounds of his parent’s disapproval; harrowing it was when Ruchita spent days encaged in her room cursing her unhappy life in between suppressed sobs and liberating wails; miracle it was when Abhay finally returned back to his only love defying his parent’s obstinate demands, to seek refuge in a completely alien city where he and Ruchita could carve a niche out for themselves, without being deterred by both their families.
The final account on the diary, the one that was written by an exuberant Ruchita madly in love with her husband Abhay, ended on 20th November, 2010. Today was the 30th of November, same year and the time was 8p.m.
At the far end of the brightly lit room, i could see the duty nurse, hustling through her duty report which was to be handed over to the person handling the night shift, with the fervour of a school kid ready to prance out at the first toll of the school bell.
Placing the light brown shaded diary softly on the side table, I grabbed the B.P measuring apparatus from its usual position near the head end of the patient. My movement, though mild it was, might have irked her, for Ruchita peeked at me through the narrow slits of her eyes. A smile broke out on her weary face on seeing me, but her eyes eluded me for i could hardly make out her gaze through the multiple cotton bandages fastened around her head and face, drenched in a repulsive shade of pale red. Even as the numbing cold waves from the air conditioner lashed at me, not sparing my overcoat clad body or my glove adorned hands, i could see tiny pearl sweat beads glistening on her bruised forehead.
Her speech which was almost lost the day she and Abhay were rushed to the casualty from the site of their accident on the wee hours of the morning nine days back, was gradually recovering, though she preferred to remain silent most of the times, lest it should cause her to wince out in pain on each movement of her lips.
“ Did you read it?” Ruchita asked me with much difficulty, her speech slurring, while I wrapped the cuff onto her arm.
I replied in affirmative as she continued in broken sentences.
“I never thought that his parents would make it here despite their enmity. How is Abhay today, doctor?”
“He is keeping alive, Ruchita. His parents are with him. And your mother will be here tomorrow morning too. Now i need you to get back to your sleep. You shouldn’t be stressing yourself much “, saying that i gestured the duty nurse to administer her the night dose of sedative. She curved her quivering lips while the medicine seeped into her slowly. Before long, surrendering to the drug, Ruchita was sliding back once again to her relaxed sleep, her chest heaving up and down heavily as she sucked in life air with utmost direness.
An uncomfortable dark cloud started looming in the back of my mind, as I watched her serene face glowing in the ever luminescent I.C.U room. I saw her smiling in her sleep, a smile that only a woman in love would be blessed with, even amidst the most trying of circumstances.
No tear clustered in my eyes looking at her heavily tattered body. My eyes had been trained to remain alert, sharp and dry twenty four hours a day, while I was on duty. But i could sense my heart weeping silently for the shriveled fate of this dainty young girl. A part of my disheveled mind cursed fate, not for her debacle, but for the strong effervescing emotions that she nurtured towards Abhay even while she was clutching onto medicines, barely conscious, for her revival.
An inexplicable overplay of peace danced on her face, on the sight of which I felt my conscience weighing down heavily, as the thought of the blatant lie that i had helplessly uttered a few minutes back as the answer to her concerned query gnawed at me, leaving behind a searing pain.
“He is keeping alive, Ruchita”.