Joined: 14 October 2006
This is a short story (5 parts) inspired by a
real life story I read in Reader's Digest many years ago. I had originally
written this for Michi. Although I had said
that I will not convert any more Michi fics into Maaneet fics, I am breaking my
own word here so as to show one more aspect of Maaneet's love - selflessness and
willingness to risk one's life for the other, which we have seen Maan and Geet do for each other.
The characterization of the couple here may be very different from the show; in fact they did not much resemble the original couple for which I had written this either but the message, I think, is universal.
His head tilted towards the door, his ears straining to catch the familiar sound of her footsteps as he waited impatiently for the few happy moments of the otherwise drab days he has been spending at the sanitised hospital for the last six months. He was brought in there as an accident victim with serious injury to his eyes and multiple fractures to his leg bones. In a freak accident, an iron rod from the lorry in front of his car had rammed into the wind shield. He had escaped certain death by instinctively bending down to avoid the rod and the shattered glass pieces which sprayed. In the process he banged his head on the steering wheel. At the same moment his leg pressed the accelerator instead of the brake and the car collided with the lorry. The front portion of the car was completely dented, jamming his legs and breaking them in several places.
The orthopedic complaints were addressed and rectified over the past months but the ophthalmic one persisted. A solution was in sight though (pun intended) as one of the leading eye surgeons as well as a renowned neurosurgeon were visiting the hospital the next day and his surgery was the first one scheduled for the day. Although he did not have sight, his other senses had sharpened over the months and more than made up for his shortcoming. His ears could discern her step, his nose could recognize her fragrance and his skin could distinguish her touch.
Finally the object of his wait entered in briskly, the clicking sound of her heels and the mild caribbean lemon fragrance of her deodorant announcing her arrival. He straightened up on his bed in anticipation of her gentle touch. She took his wrist in her soft hands and checked his pulse.
"So how are you doing today, Mr.Khurana?" she asked in her pleasant voice, wrapping the BP monitor around his arm and pumping up the pressure.
"Why are you late today?" he asked gruffly. "Do you know for how long I have been waiting for you?"
"I'm sorry. Got delayed in my rounds," she apologised.
"Is there anything you want?" she asked him as she prepared to leave.
'Yes, your love. I want your love,' he wanted to scream but did not say it out loud. Instead he asked for water.
"Here you are," she said
and taking his hand in hers she gently thrust the glass of water in it.
Before she could remove her hand, he gently wrapped his fingers around hers. Pulling her hand up along with his, he took the glass to his lips. Her heart fluttered as she observed his shapely lips as he sipped the water. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down as the water went down his throat. Once he finished drinking he gently released her hand and she took the glass back to the table. She was about to leave when he held her arm and forced her to sit on the bed by his side.
"Don't leave so soon," he partly ordered and partly pleaded.
She couldn't say no to him. She silently sat before him.
"I wait all day for these moments and you hardly spend time with me," he said in a complaining tone.
She remained silent.
"Won't you talk to me?"
"What do you want me to say?"
"Anything.... everything" he said enigmatically.
She looked at his handsome face. She could not see his eyes as they were behind bandages ever since she had first seen him in the hospital. Eyes are the windows to one's soul they say but without them she was at a loss to figure out what was going on in his mind. She wished she could read his thoughts though. Although he was one of her more difficult and demanding patients, she had grown pretty fond of him over these past months. He seemed to be quite a recluse. He had no living relative. So barring the initial months when he had a steady stream of visitors from his office, no one visited him of late. His manager occasionally dropped in to get his signatures on some official documents. He always made sure she was around to read the documents before he signed on them. He had perfected the art of signing sightlessly.
The guy was moody and had a fiery temper. She used to be terrified of him in the initial days but over a period he seemed to have softened towards her and except for the occasional snapping, was generally quite well behaved. Besides her regular duties as a nurse every morning she read the newspaper to him and every night she tucked him in. Whenever she was off duty she tried to make time for him. But still the guy was not satisfied and always complained of how little time she spent with him. She could sense that he was becoming attached to her. Her professional ethics tried to curb her own attractions towards him. That was the reason that of late she was trying to put some distance between them but the guy was stubborn and insisted in having her around more often.
Not knowing what to say she asked him how he felt about the surgery scheduled for the next day.
"Well, I am eagerly waiting to see the world again," he said, his voice full of hope and expectation.
To himself he said, "Especially you."
"You'll be leaving the hospital soon then," she said with a trace of regret.
He did not see it that way until now. Suddenly he was not that eagerly looking forward to this surgery. He would have no excuse to stay back and have her occasional company. He certainly did not want to be away from her. If only he could confess his feelings to her and get her to accept him! he sighed. Maybe they can then get married and he can keep her with him forever. But every time he thought of voicing what was in his heart, he developed cold feet and backed out. Now time was running out. A week from surgery, his bandages will be off and he will have to bid adieu to the place which had been his home the last six months.
As he worked up his courage to speak up to her, her pager went off and she excused herself and left him with his myriad thoughts.
Note: I have no knowledge of medical procedures. So this is entirely a figment of my imagination.
He was woken up early in the morning to be readied for the operation. As he was still sleeping when the nurse had come in, he did not observe the difference in the step but the minute he felt her touch on his hand, he knew that it was not her. Snatching his hand away from her he asked her rudely, "Where is Sister Geet? I want Sister Geet to take me to the OT." (operation theatre)
"Mr.Khurana, she is busy with another patient," informed the portly nurse curtly. "Now, don't make a fuss. I don't have all the time in the world for your temper tantrums." She had heard enough about this moody patient not to let him take the upper hand. So she tried to assert control in the beginning itself.
"No. I am going nowhere till she comes," he adamantly refused to budge.
"Look here, Mr.Khurana. You have been presented a rare opportunity of getting your eyes operated by one of the world's renowned Neurosurgeon Dr. Mohanty and one of the finest eye-specialist in the country Dr. Bhagvati . Both the doctors are in the city to attend an international conference and have kindly agreed to stay back for a day at the request of our chief doctor in order to perform this intricate surgery on your eyes. Time is precious for them and you cannot make them wait for you to make up your mind to come. If we do not complete the pre-operative procedures in the next half hour, you will not be operated upon today. And if you miss this opportunity you will not get another, as both the doctors are leaving the city tonight," she said sternly and tried to take his blood pressure.
He jerked his hand from her and said with finality, "I don't care. I want her to take me to the OT or I'll stay here forever."
Sighing, the nurse said she'll try to locate Sister Geet for him. He sat glumly waiting for the woman who has become the very purpose of his living in the past months. It was strange that a woman he has not set his eyes on can mean so much to him. He did not know if she is fair or dark, beautiful or ugly; but he did not care. To him she was the most beautiful creation of God.
A few minutes later Geet came rushing to him.
"What is this, Mr.Khurana. Sister Rita tells me that you were refusing to get ready for the operation. Don't you know how important it is that you make it to the OT today? Don't you want your sight back?"
'I do, Geet. I do want my sight back, if only to see you. But I want you to take me to the OT, not some stranger. It is your touch I want to feel,' he thought to himself but did not respond to her query. Instead he asked her where was she all this while.
"I had to attend to an emergency case, it was important," she said without elaborating.
'Am I not important to you, Geet?' his heart silently cried out.
Not being able to hear his mental conversations with her, she wrapped the BP monitor around his arm and checked his pressure and pulse. She sponged his face and helped him into the wheel chair. She then wheeled him to the X-Ray lab. After all the pre-operative procedures were completed, she changed him into the sterile gown and pulled a cap over his head to cover his hair. Soon two men assisted in shifting him from the wheel chair into a stretcher. As they pushed him to the OT, he clasped her hand in his.
At the entrance of the OT, she bent her head to his ear and whispered, "All the best for the surgery. May you get to see this world again soon."
When she tried to leave, he held on to her hand tightly in his and begged her to be with him during the operation. She tried extricating her hand, explaining to him that there was another nurse who was on duty in the OT on that day but he refused to let her go.
Hearing the commotion, the anaesthetist, a genial man, arrived there to find out what was wrong. When he was told that the patient wanted one particular nurse to be on attendance in the OT, he smiled and said that if the presence of that nurse would put the patient's mind at ease, then she should be around. The elderly gentleman had seen several patients in his career and knew most had their own eccentricities. He believed that if giving in to some of them wouldn't affect the overall functioning of the institution and may in fact help the patient, there was no harm in doing so.
So Geet swapped duty with the nurse who was to be in attendance in the OT that day. Soon the esteemed doctors arrived and quickly got ready to perform one of the most challenging surgeries. Together they skilfully operated on his eyes and optic nerves over the next three hours, Geet assisting them in giving them the necessary instruments.
Once the operation was completed his eyes were carefully bandaged again. He was wheeled to the post operative recovery room to monitor his progress. All the while, Maan held Geet's hand tightly and wouldn't let go. As Geet looked at her favourite patient, her heart and mind were playing tug of war. Although she tried to act stern with him, feeling compelled to maintain the professional ethics, deep down her heart melted at the sight of him. His child-like laments at not having her around pulled at her heart strings.
She knew today was an important day
in his life. It was the day that would bring back what he had lost; a week from
now he will slowly be able to be inducted into the world of light, back from
the world of darkness he had been for the past six months. She lied to him that
she was attending to an emergency case. The truth was that she was fervently
praying for the success of his surgery in the mandir inside the hospital. She
wanted to be with her God, pleading with and demanding that he returns the
sight of the man who meant more to her than she was willing to admit, even as
God's human instruments work on him. But when Sister Rita came and told her how
difficult her patient was acting, she was forced to leave the house of God. She
did not stop praying for him, though. Throughout the operation, she was
uttering her silent prayers. As she watched over him she hoped that her prayers
would be answered soon.
Check Part 3 posted a few posts below on this page.
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In the days that followed Maan's demand on Geet's time only increased. Her nurse friends sensed that something was brewing between their colleague and her handsome, moody and temperamental patient and did their bit to throw them in each other's company more often. They found excuses to switch duties with her saying that they couldn't handle the hot headed patient whose mercurial temper seemed to have gotten worse after the operation. As a result, Geet ended up taking care of him nearly round the clock, not that our moody patient was complaining.
It was the day before the eagerly awaited unmasking of his eyes. Maan finally decided to bare his heart to his ladylove. As soon as Geet entered his room, he pulled her arm and made her sit by his side.
"Geet," he said with great longing in his voice, dropping the 'sister' title for the first time.
Geet was shocked to hear him address her that way. She knew in her heart that he planned to open up to her that day and she wasn't sure what her response was going to be.
"We have known each other for the last six months but still do not know anything about each other's families, do we?"
She remained silent.
"I think you know that I have no living relative since none has come to visit me in all these months. Lost my mother to cancer when I was three and my father died of a heart attack a couple of years ago. Had led life in solitude ever since as I have no siblings. Do not have much of a social life either. Work was my mania. I run a computer company which has been settling my bills. May not be stinking rich but am well above wants." He gave a brusque rundown of his life. She listened quietly although she guessed most of it by now.
"What about you? How big is your family?"
Not getting a response from her he was growing irritated. "Won't you open your mouth? Damn it, who should I ask for your hand in marriage?" he asked in frustration, running his fingers through his mane.
Geet's mouth gaped at his sudden indirect proposal. While she already knew he had developed feelings for her, she did not know that he intended to marry her.
"You'll marry me, won't you?" he asked apprehensively, her silence worrying him.
"You aren't pledged to any one, are you?" His heart was thumping fast now as a cold fear gripped him. What if she was in love with or engaged to someone? He knew that she has been trying to put a distance between them but he presumed that it was because she did not want to violate the norms of her profession. What if the reason was something else altogether? He couldn't bear to lose her to anyone. As he waited with baited breath, she dispelled his fears.
"No, I am not pledged to or in love with anyone else."
He let out a sigh of relief and was sharp to note that she had said 'anyone else' instead of just 'anyone'.
Did that mean she too loved him? With hope riding high, he asked her excitedly, "Do you love me, Geet?"
She blushed at the question but was unable to immediately answer. Although he couldn't see the change of colour he could sense her love even in her silence.
He lifted her face by her chin, turned his bandaged eyes to her and repeated the question, his voice husky with emotion.
"I do," she said softly.
How he wished he could see her face just then.
He ran his fingers over her face and traced its contours. His fingers first felt her forehead and traced her sharp nose and her heavy eye lids. He turned his hand and with the back of his fingers caressed her long lashes and her chubby smooth cheeks. He then slowly felt his way to her lips. He first traced the outline of her supple lips and then ran his forefinger on the fleshy moist part making her quiver. He gently pulled back her lower lip, relishing the wetness and was about to lean in and kiss her when they heard footsteps on the corridor and broke free.
When no one entered in, they realised it was just some passing doctors.
She tried to break the tension in the air by telling him about herself.
She lived with her brother, Brij and her mother, Rano. He father was no more. Theirs was the typical middle class family where every paise counted. Her father had been a gambler and ran up some serious debts which had to be settled by her family. Her brother worked as an accountant in a small firm. Although he was not too happy that she worked to support their family, he could not protest because her income was required to make both ends meet. She couldn't afford get to married now, given the financial condition her family was in.
He held her hand in his and said that her family was his responsibility. He'll take care of their financial problems. He would love it if they could all live together as one big happy family after their marriage as he was also getting bored with his lonely life. She couldn't believe her luck at getting the love of such a generous man. As she tried to thank him, he laid a finger on her lips and said that it was only his duty. He promised to visit her family and ask her mother and brother for her hand in marriage as soon as he regained his vision.
Later that day as she was giving him his sponge bath, for the first time she was aware of him as a man and not merely as her patient. His well toned body assailed her senses, leaving her breathless. Her fingers trembled as she ran the soapy sponge over his taut frame. He could sense her discomfort and smiling to himself, he took the sponge from her hand and assured her that he would take care of the bathing himself. She gulped down the surging desire and waited for him to finish up. She then gently toweled him up, helped him into his hospital pyjamas and left with the tub.
his sightless eyes towards her retreating back he smiled happily. This was
indeed the happiest day of his life.
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