Joined: 27 April 2014
A loud noise in the hospital room woke her up and her eye opened slowly. White walls of an unfamiliar place surrounded her vision and some awkward smell perturbed her sanity. Where was she? She tried to look beyond where her weak gaze led but all that was visible was darkness until the white cloud left her eyes and her vision got cleared.
She was in the hospital, oh yes, but on the hospital bed? No, she was supposed to be by Ranveer's side right now. She freed herself from some unnecessary bondage that held her back rudely, and set her feet on the floor.
"Right there!" A voice contained her attention and she looked up. Sharman and Pratiek stood there, their brows furrowed in concern and anger both. "Ishani, don't tell me you still haven't gotten back in your senses!" Sharman spoke angrily. "Do you even know what you've done to all of us since yesterday?"
Ishani felt her head ache, and her body trembled still as if ready to fall any moment she would stand. Weakness. She caught her head in her hand and sighed in despair. "What exactly happened to me?" she asked, unable to make out the things that had taken place and how.
"You fainted," Pratiek said. "You were so weak, Ishani, and you need some rest."
Ishani looked at her cousins and smiled guiltily, but memories of what brought her to this room still remained obscure to her thoughts. "How is Ranveer doing? Has he woken up?"
"He's better now," Sharman said. "But asleep."
"You met him?"
Sharman shook his head. "Not yet. I'm not sure if it's the right time to make him recall any of that happened in the past... it might go against his treatment."
"But he should know you are here, bhaiya. And I think you should go to meet him. He'll feel better, too."
"I'll go first!" Pratiek stood up briskly and began to walk out of the room but was caught up by Sharman immediately.
"We're not going on a picnic, little brother. You must have patience, alright?"
Pratiek, disgruntled, looked at Ishani helplessly who nodded her head in agreement.
"Let Sharman bhaiya go there, Pratiek," she said lightly. "There are few things that need to be sorted out before it's too late."
"Too late?" Sharman and Pratiek asked in unison, surprised, and Ishani was brought out of her reverie.
"I mean before you two decide to leave? Sharman bhaiya, didn't you mention you were to leave in two days? How will you both handle the things right when you are leaving?"
Sharman nodded his head, but his face could not hide the streak of guilt and confusion that so evidently shone in his eyes. "You do believe he will forgive us, right?" he asked nervously. "After all what happened between us all those days..."
"Don't worry, bhaiya," Ishani said sympathetically. "Trust me on this."
Sharman still looked unsure, but nodded his head in assurance with a nervous smile. "Alright, then," he said at length. "As soon as he wakes up, I will see him."
Ishani smiled as well, then shook her head, and breathed in deeply as if making an important decision. "Well, I'm doing better now. Thank you, Bhaiya. Better I go to Ranveer first."
But before Ishani could move an inch, Sharman held her back and tucked her back on the bed, covering her with the sheet. "Just because you have achieved something you wanted me to do, doesn't mean you are allowed to roam like a kid in the hospital. Stay here and you'll be free once the doctors relieve you. And you know what? You have created such a havoc here! All of us have been roaming from you to Ranveer like some bunch of... whatever."
Ishani fumed at him but in vain and before she herself could think anything anymore, her own eyes felt a darkening vision taking over her senses once again and soon she was back in her dreamland with nothing to worry or think about.
Puneet stood in front of his boss's scrutinizing gaze, riveted under it, and looking at him thoughtfully. It was the first time he came to see his boss and he was able to talk to him.
"How are you, sir?" he asked nervously.
"Better," Ranveer answered, but there was no colour in his tone. It felt empty as his blank eyes stared into Puneet's.
"Are you sure?" Puneet asked.
"It takes time for all of us to recover from something as drastic as this surgery," he said and smiled feebly, but emptiness still visible in his voice.
"Right," Puneet agreed, and an awkward silence fell in the room. He could see his boss wanted to speak something but chose to stay silent. "Do you need anything, sir?" he asked, and RV immediately shot his question.
"Ishani... where is she?" he asked softly. Of course he was going to ask about her soon. After all, it had been hours since she had visited him.
"She must be outside... in the waiting room perhaps," Puneet fumbled the lie but flinched as Ranveer looked at him deeply.
"Any specific reason to lie to me?" he asked, looking at Puneet attentively.
Puneet sighed. "Nothing, sir. But the doctors said you shouldn't be talking too much now. Please take rest. Ishani is alright. She's just fai..." he regretted immediately having slipped the little detail.
Ranveer looked at him, irritated. "I really hope you have the full sentence, Puneet," he retorted, a desperation in his tone. "What happened to Ishani?"
"Oh, nothing, sir!" Puneet answered. "She just fainted out of weakness since she had not had anything for 3 days, and the little she did before she met you, did not really suffice. But she's alright now," he added the last words hastily lest RV ends up doing something he wasn't supposed to.
Ranveer closed his eyes and sighed. "When will this girl understand the obvious?" he murmured to himself but the statement was heard by Puneet too who chose to keep quiet.
"Sir, she's fine now," he said. "But maybe won't be allowed to come here for a while." Damn! Those eyes flickered. That heart melted. Coldness in them somewhere burned down.
"Alright! What about Rishi? What happened to the projects in the Wales?" Ranveer said, suddenly changing the topic. And why, Puneet understood quite well.
"Sir, didn't they just say you are not allowed to talk so much? I think you have taken your time today enough already. Please take rest, and we will talk of everything when you are well. The business thing can wait"
Without waiting for Ranveer to speak anything more, Puneet left.
Ranveer leaned back on the bed and closed his eyes. The little conversations indeed left him tired and feeling rather weak. It was not the case with Ishani, though. He didn't feel weak or tired when he talked to her yesterday. And what was wrong with her? She hadn't eaten anything for 3 days? He shook his head. Life had its own weird ironies, and this love was one of them.
When Ranveer fell asleep he could not tell. He remembered his thoughts being stuck with Ishani and suddenly he had felt tired and closed his eyes. After that what had happened, he could not guess. Perhaps right now it was the next day's evening on which he had met Ishani. Had she come here again? Something smelled like her. Perhaps not. It could be his own mind playing those stupid tricks. Doctors would not have let her come here when she was herself not keeping well. Hoping against hope, he wished she were here beside him. But his heart shattered immediately, thinking, her presence would only have caused them pain and raised the questions he had no answers of. After everything that happened, his heart did not allow him to face her. What did she not suffer for him? And when the time came, he had nothing to give her now. True. Money could indeed not buy everything. Not happiness. Not life. Not the little joys of life and most certainly not the moments of happiness that would get lost somewhere in the gulf of agony in future.
He closed his eyes again. Her face too clear in his eyes now. Her questions that he could not answer. Why did she have to suffer so much because of him? There was something beyond him as well. There was always something beyond Ranveer Vaghela or even as RV, as the world now knew him. Why she had to stuck with him and make her own life miserable? Only if he could make her understand this. But if she left him again, he'll die a death long before he was meant to. But his suffocating life was no better today. It was always meant to be like this and will always be like this. Oh, why couldn't there be a way to make her life easier? He hoped Ishani understood him well enough to understand he would never want bad for her, not when he only wanted her happiness.
Amidst all his thoughts going on, what was it that reminded him of her only? As if she were with him when he lay here asleep. Oh, no. She wouldn't be here when he had shown her a cold shoulder a while ago. She needed to leave him for that!
Who are you joking with, Ranveer? the voice from within him asked him again. If you never gave up on her, what makes you think she will on you? And don't be a fool. Live your life to the fullest; so that when you die in the end, there will not be any regret in your heart that you broke the heart of the woman who loved only you.
Ranveer opened his eyes, and caressed his hand. It felt different. A familiarity stung his skin. Observing closely his hand that took slightly more will power to finish the job, he noticed faint traces of tears running down to his palm, and this was it. She did come here. They were her tears only. And it was perhaps true, he thought, that no matter what, nothing was going to change her mind now.
What game fate was playing with them now? His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden knock at the door, and he tilted his head to that direction, only to find out Sharman standing there, a guilty smile spread across his face. Ranveer gulped and looked at the guest intently.
Sharman came in. "Hi," he said awkwardly, and sat beside him on the chair, his eyes unable to meet Ranveer's.
Ranveer nodded his head and smiled. "After a long time! How are you, Sharman?" he asked while Sharman failed to say anything more and continued to look downward only. Sharman's arrival did not surprise him, somehow.
"How are you doing now?" he said after a long time and looked up, memories of their last encounter still fresh in his mind. But as a relief, there was no anger in Ranveer's eyes.
"Better than yesterday," he replied and both fell silent.
"I hope you get better soon, Ranveer. We cannot see you like this."
"I'm trying my best," Ranveer said and the next moment again followed an awkward silence.
"If I asked you one thing, Ranveer, would you answer me?" Sharman asked, his eyes emanating guilt and curiosity.
"What is it that keeps you go so cold towards my sister now?"
"What do you mean?" he asked, alarmed.
"Don't pretend like we don't notice it. You do know you are hurting her, right?"
Ranveer looked away, and a small smile formed on his lips. "Hurting her is the last thing I will ever do," he said, and sighed. "And you're just over thinking the matter."
"Am I? Or you are making it difficult for me to believe otherwise?" Sharman asked suspiciously.
"I'm not," Ranveer answered, still looking sideways.
"Then why don't you look into my eyes and say it?"
Ranveer looked at Sharman and smiled pensively. But nothing was said.
"Ranveer, is there anything from our past-?"
"I have left all the grudges behind, Sharman," Ranveer cut him short. "I don't have anything against anyone. It's just-"
Ranveer shook his head. "Nothing. Leave it!"
"Then what is it? Why don't you want to talk to her?"
"I never said that!" Ranveer defended himself.
"Are you alright, Ranveer? Did the doctors say something that you are hiding from us?"
"It's nothing like that, Sharman. Trust me!" Ranveer insisted quite too fiercely, and Sharman had to retreat back.
"Take care, buddy. And trust me, I do want to redeem myself for whatever happened back at home-"
"Sharman, I said there's really nothing like that, alright? You don't have to feel guilty over anything that happened in the past. What's gone is gone, and better you get over that as well," Ranveer said, weariness now taking over his senses gradually as he struggled to keep his voice normal while his breath only grew heavier.
"Thank you," Sharman said, smiling, and slapped Ranveer's shoulder. "And you should be taking some rest now. We'll see you soon."
Sharman left, leaving Ranveer in his own thoughts to battle the restless demons that surely would manage to claim his life one day.
"Doctor?" Ishani looked at Mr. Gregson curiously. "Why is there something about him that doesn't feel right even now?"
The doctor looked at her and sighed. "Miss Parekh, do you know you are not just doubting our capability to handle our patients but also our reputation which is not ever the case? Why do you think we would leave our patient hanging and fighting the battle in the middle just like that?"
"No, I just-" Ishani said, but was interrupted by the doctor immediately.
"I understand your apprehension, Miss Parekh. Ranveer is a cancer patient, and has just survived a close call of the terrible danger. I would only call it mere luck that he got through it successfully."
"What do you mean?" she asked, her lips slightly quivering and fear surging in her heart.
"Pineoblastoma is a very, very rare disease and does not occur in people unless something terrible follows, and it's quite rare in adults too. Ranveer has had his own share of troubles to be led to this condition in the first place although accidental. But his recovery is rather surprising to us as well. We were not really expecting any positive consequences until the surgery took place and now when it did, we too are pleasantly surprised with the results."
"Doctor, is there anything that goes unnoticed? Anything. Is there anything that keeps him from becoming normal again? I'm afraid he's not getting along well enough with his family and friends," Ishani asked. His family had complained the same thing how Ranveer remained quiet everytime they visited him. But no one had answer why.
Mr. Gregson took a deep breath and looked at Ishani as if unsure to state his next few words. Then he spoke very carefully. "As I said, Miss Parekh, he's a cancer patient, and recovery through medication isn't exactly what suffices for such patients. They need strong will power and motivation to leave their pain behind. Each day of their lives is painful and agonizing and so is the case with Ranveer. He was already being treated with radiotherapy for 2 weeks and that too was enough to put him off of a few things. And he also has been in his lowest phases mentally since last few weeks and that's another thing which has hindered him from his recovery. I was afraid until a couple of hours ago about him but I can say I am quite relieved now. Better you stop taking stressing yourself as well. He'll be fine."
"Is there anything else, doctor, that..."
"Oh, yes. He knows it as well, but has been reluctant on that from the beginning. We must perform certain tests and post that 4 months of radiotherapy again. But he just can't seem to agree on that."
"What? But why?" Ishani fretted. "Why isn't he going to do that?"
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. "It was fixed before the surgery itself but he was not very hopeful about his survival back then, but now, it's different. Although we just need someone to convince him."
"Is he sure to have recovered completely then?" Ishani asked hopefully.
"I will not say completely." The doctor sighed. "Unfortunately, cancer cells never truly die. They are compressed, though, and can prolong patients' comfort sessions, but you cannot destroy them. That's what we, the doctors, strive for: to compress the deadly cells. But at the end of the day, it's the patients and their will to defy the odds that matters. That's all."
Amidst the conversation, Ishani only found her heart shatter more and more. Why did everything look so hopeless about Ranveer even now? He was a fighter. Then why was he doing it to himself? To her, and his own family? Didn't he care about her as she thought he did? Oh, don't be a fool, Ishani, something within her chastised. Yes, how could he not care about her? She needed to talk to him and clarify things between them before he damaged himself more.
Ishani took leave from the doctor and emerged out of his cabin, feeling slightly guilty. Only if the weight of guilt could subside, she hoped, her mind could think clearly too. But that was not what was meant to happen right now and she needed to make amends and save Ranveer from whatever the pain he was inflicting himself with now.
Ishani sat beside Amba who quietly stared out at the people bustling like impatient ants in and out of the waiting room. Kailash was busy in finishing the formalities and Puneet accompanied him as well. Ishani looked at Amba who still remained stuck in her thoughts or maybe just in thoughtlessness, for her eyes blinked very little. As they sat, Ishani saw Sally approaching, quietly smiling at them both and greeted them with the warmest of the hugs.
"Good to see you here, Sally," Amba said, as she stood up to welcome the guest and smiled feebly.
"I'm sorry, I was late," Sally answered, looking at them apologetically.
"It's alright," Ishani said, smiling.
"How is RV doing now?"
"Better," Ishani said. "Much better."
Amba left them both to talk and walked towards Ranveer's ward. "I'll be seeing you two soon," she said and left.
Ishani saw her leave and her departure somewhere led Ishani's facade to fall as well, as she looked at Sally anxiously now, though her thoughts trying to defy what she truly felt.
"Everything alright, Ishani?" Sally asked as she saw her sweating.
"Yeah, all's fine. I just need some time, I think..."
"How are you?" Sally asked. She had not been very pleased when she came to know how Ishani's carelessness had claimed her a day ago and had left everyone upset for an entire day.
"I'm fine," Ishani said, smiling, but knew what a terrible liar she was and it didn't go unnoticed by Sally either.
"Why? Why are you doing this, Ishani? Your own health is as important as RV's, right?"
Ishani nodded, slightly embarrassed. "And you too know I don't mean to do anything that happens around."
"You are cute," Sally admitted sweetly. "No wonder someone loves you so much."
Ishani shook her head, amused. "Sally, you too are teasing me now? Come on, girl! Have some shame!"
"Well," Sally sighed. "If this makes you smile just like it did right now I surely will!"
Sally laughed. "You looked pretty when you smile, Ishani. Never let it go, alright?"
Ishani nodded and smiled.
"So, when are we supposed to hear the good news, Ishani?"
Ishani looked confused. "Good news?"
"You know what I mean. When are you two getting engaged and then married? Sure all the medical treatments can continue with that too?"
"That thing is way too far right now," Ishani said, and suddenly her smile disappeared. "It's so far even now." Only if she herself knew what future held for her and Ranveer.
"I don't understand," Sally said, looking confused. "Why do you say that?"
Ishani shook her head. "It's nothing..." She couldn't confess her doubts right now. But keeping them to herself was doing nothing better to her either.
"Ishani, are you alright?" Sally brought her out of her thoughts.
"Yeah, yeah," Ishani said, wiping the drops of sweat that teased her face even more now.
"You are impossible, Ishani. You have been so ever since we first met."
"Funny, right now someone was calling me cute!"
Sally laughed. "Oh, I love impossible people who are cute."
"Ah, I see!" Ishani smiled. "That's why Puneet. Hmm?"
"Now, don't you get started on this, alright?"
"I'm sorry, Sally. You two returned at such a time that I couldn't even ask for if you had a good time in India. It's just..."
"Now, let's not be so formal, Ishani! It's all perfectly fine. There's whole life to talk about that. I only hope Ranveer gets better soon and come back to us again. It's a beautiful thing that people love him so much."
Ishani smiled. "He deserves all of it! All of love."
"Of course he does," Sally smiled.
True, who wouldn't love someone like Ranveer?
Sally left in a while and Ishani was alone. She sighed. So much had changed in these few days: each day changing her life so drastically, and taking it away from her in one way or another.
But she was sure, as long as Ranveer was by her side, things will never go bad again. They would fight all the odds together and defeat them as well. All she needed was him, for without Ranveer, there was no Ishani.
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