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|| PART 17 ||
It took us a full twenty four hours for us to reach the hospital my father was at - it worst day of my entire life. I have never been this restless and desperate. It pained me to think what my father was going through and worse, how helpless my mom must be feeling all alone, beside him.
Please God! give them the strength to get through this. I will do anything.
Virat was feeling equally worse. He had cancelled all his meetings and I am sure they were very important to the deal that had been agreed upon. He had briefly mentioned that he hasn't signed anything yet. I don't talk about it as it all seems insignificant right now.
After landing, we rush straight to the hospital - we run into Rahul at the entrance of the hospital.
"Rahul?" I run to him, dreading to ask the obvious question. He looked pale and had grown a little beard.
He looks at me and then at Virat behind me, who was looking at him equally anxious. "They are still operating. They will be done any minute now." He tells us.
"Oh?" I look at him lost. I suppress the huge stream of tears pooling in my eyes. I don't know what to do.
"Mom? Where is my mom?" I ask Rahul.
"She is waiting by the OR Mannu. Priya is with her." He tells me, signaling me to go inside.
I know I was impatient and desperate to get here but now that I am here, I do not want to go inside. I do not want to see my mom. I will break down. I feel Virat's hand over my shoulders. I turn and let him hold me. I look to him for strength.
"Don't cry Mannu. You need to be strong, for your mom. Not a tear okay?" he wipes my face and kisses my forehead. "Dad has a long way to go. This is just a minor setback." he tells me with great conviction.
"How do you know?" I ask him.
"He is all we both have Mannu." he smiles a sad smile.
I nod my head and I slowly amble in, taking a deep breath, with a steel resolve to keep hold myself strong. Virat asks me to go inside as he and Rahul were speaking some technicalities about hospital and stuff. I wander in to find the OR. My mom was sitting there, alone - looking pale and sad. This is the palest I have ever seen her.
"Mama.." I call her. She stands up and holds her hands out. She seemed relieved to see me. I hug her, tightly. I feel her longing in her hug.
She doesn't shed a tear. And, I know she won't. Her hope is her strength. She kisses me. "You are back early.."
"Yeah. I bugged Virat too much, he cut short the trip." I smiled a sad smile and kiss her.
"Hi mom." Virat comes and hugs her. She closes her eyes in pain and I almost see a tear when he cups her face. "He cannot ignore our nuisance anymore. He is going to wake up any minute and start joking about the whole thing. Right Mannu?" he quips.
The doctor walks out with a nurse and he looks at my mom gravely. I almost get a heart-attack. Virat holds my hand along with my mom's. I don't want to listen to this "How is he doing?" Virat asks.
"The procedure went well. He is on a ventilator right now. We are going to try and see if he can breathe on his own after a few hours. If he is able to breathe by himself, we will take him off the support."
"And if he doesn't?" Mom asks him. I stifle a big sob that was threatening to come out of me.
I go and hug her. "He will mom. He has to." I tell her.
It was two in the night and we were all waiting for the doctor to show up. I haven't seen him yet. The visiting hours were done by the time we came and they wouldn't allow anybody into the intensive care unit. We were helplessly waiting in the lounge. Medically, I know that atleast 50% of the patients are unable to breathe on their own once they are taken off the ventilator but I refuse to acknowledge that fact. I am sitting with my mom and hugging her tightly. She seems much stronger than me.
"I miss you beta. It feels like it has been a while since I have seen you and Virat!"
"It has not even been a week!" I had answered flippantly, now regretfully.
That was why he was calling me so many times. He knew something was coming!
And me? I was busy in my own little world. God! I cannot forgive myself if something happens to him. I should not cry. I should not cry. He is going to be just fine. There are far too many things I haven't told him about. How will mom survive?
And then the news came like a divine blessing.
"They have taken him of the ventilator and he is breathing on his own..." Priya comes and announces beaming.
We all raise at once, still in shock. He is fine. He is going to be fine. I hug my mom. She broke down. Gosh! I have never seen her cry.
"Mamma..." I console her. She sits down and falls into my arms crying. I look up at Virat. His shoulders sag in relief. He sits beside me, hugging both of us.
"Mom, why are you crying now?" he asks.
"Arey, she has to, right? She has to bear him annoying her for another few decades..." I laugh.
They both laugh midst their tears and Virat wipes my tears. Priya blinks at me with a broad smile. All is well with the world again. Thank god!
"You can see him in the morning at 9 AM. Manvi, I think you should take mom home." Priya tells me.
"No dear, I am going to be here."
"We are all going to be here." I tell her.
We sent Rahul and Priya home - they were too tired. Virat went to change and get us some clean clothes. It was 5 in the morning and me and mom were just sitting, idling away time. It was so scary to think about what could have happened.
"He wanted to play basketball all of a sudden. I told him that it was not a good idea. He climbed up onto the attic to find his old basketball before I could stop him. Once he got down, he said he was having trouble breathing. He started coughing badly. I immediately called Priya and she said we should have him admitted."
"God bless Bhabhiji" I muttered. She really filled in my shoes. I must give her a big gigantic hug.
"Yeah. She is an angel and Rahul too. They both didn't leave our side until you guys showed up." Mom told me.
"I just thought he had some fever and cold." I whispered.
"He is so childish, Ma. Basketball? Seriously? I am going to play basketball with him after he gets well - a different kind though."
"Oh you don't say. All men are childish in a way, sweetheart. How was your trip with Virat?" She asks me curiously.
Is this the time? Jeez! "It was fun. Really memorable." I tell her with a smile looking at my hands.
"You somehow seem changed. Is this a shy Mannu I am seeing?" She comments, caressing my cheek.
I roll my eyes. "Oh mom!! Can this be about dad? For a change? You both are always fussing over me and Virat." I complain, rather petulantly, lest she notices me blushing.
"Virat? Not Viratji eh?" she smiles knowingly, studying my face.
"MOM!!?" My mother, the psych-specialist.
"Alright. Was just curious." She shrugs. This is what we do. We chat and idle-talk and forget all our sorrows. It is a family thing. My daddy is fine. I hug my mom and close my eyes in prayer. I so want to see him. Three more hours and they will shift him to a separate room from ICU. I am dying to steal a look at him and chat with him and pull his leg.
It was around 8:30 AM and Rahul, Priya, Virat were all there. I was still sitting with my mom and we were all looking at the clock.
"We need a signature to get the formalities started." A nurse comes in with paper-work.
"I got it..." Virat goes with her.
"Why is the clock ticking so damn slowly???" I mutter impatiently. "Do you think he will be hungry?" I ask mom.
"I don't know beta. Wait a few more minutes, you can ask him yourself." Mom tells me irritated. I have been bugging her with irrelevant questions since the last couple of hours. Virat had already yelled at me to stay quiet.
Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice behind me. "Mom?"
"Simmi?" My mom gasps.
Me, Priya and Mom raise all at once. "Simmi, what are you doing here?"
"What do mean, what are you doing here, mom? You didn't even tell me that dad was in the hospital. I got to know through a friend of Sameer and I came running." She was sobbing, throwing herself at my mom.
I didn't know how to react. It was good to see her here. Papa will be happy to see her and mom too. It is kind of obvious, she must have gotten to know about dad. But, she just looks so out of place here, in my world, especially now.
"Water works still working perfectly well.." Priya comments in my ear.
"Is that the asshole she is with?" Rahul murmurs in Priya's ear. And Priya nods, repulsing in disgust looking at Sameer, Simmi's current boyfriend. "Still current, I am assuming." He is a really tall guy, standing behind her. He was watching over Simmi attentively. I know him. I had seen him before. She was introducing him to my mom, completely ignoring the rest of us.
I look at Priya and Rahul confused. They were both glaring at Simmi and Sameer. It was 8:45 and Virat was back with the nurse.
He stops in his tracks looking the scene in front of him.
What the f**k!
Yep, that pretty much sums it up! Out of the blue, without any clue. Holly f**k!
What the hell is she doing here? Oh right. I somehow keep forgetting she is still the daughter. Namesake, atleast. She has brought that son-of-a-bitch along with her. Isnt she setting an all time record? Dad will not like all this. I should somehow keep him from going in, atleast until dad regains some strength.
I look at Mannu. Her face was blank and she was trying her best to hold up to this sudden missile. God! This is so awkward. What must be going on in her head? We don't need this right now.
"Mom, Mannu, why don't you go in? It is almost nine." I tell them.
"Hi Virat." Simmi looks at me. God, how much those tears disgust me. Such a high voltage drama queen, she is. I want none of that here.
"Hi." I reply with a polite nod and turn to Mom and Mannu, signaling them to go in.
"I hope this isn't too awkward. I had to see dad and mom you know. I got to know what happened and I just couldn't not come. I knew.." she continues.
"That's fine. I have no issues. They are your parents." I cut her short.
"You guys can visit the patient, just two people at a time." The nurse announces.
"Can I come with you mom?" Simmi asks mom.
"Ofcourse beta..Mannu, why don't you and Simmi go in." Mom looks at Mannu confused.
"No mamma. I will go after. He will want to see you. Please go." She smiles at her mom.
Oh Mannu! I cannot look at her sad face. She was literally dying to see him - waiting since the last 8 hours. Our eyes meet and she looks away. She cannot handle my inquisition right now. That's why.
And the f**king drama begins!
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