DR ISHAN MALHOTRA
Have you ever felt a weight upon your shoulders so heavy, that it constantly pulls you down and you feel as if you’re drowning in a deep pool of depression and dilemma? It was a similar situation for me today. I had to free my wife, a girl I loved the most, just because I wasn’t courageous enough to tell her how much she actually meant to me, and how much I love her. I was too coward to lose her, and now when an entire month has passed away, I’m losing her anyways. God gave me something that not everyone gets. I got to live with her for an entire month, and still I couldn’t tell her what she meant to me, how stupid was I who was always afraid.
Your fears are the ones that constantly pull you down, that stop you from achieving what you would have achieved a long time back. The only difference between a successful person and a failure is – fear. Fear of not ‘trying’ something new, or fear of losing that keeps us bound to our own self-inflicted decisions. But, today I understood one thing clear and loud – how can you know you were going to fail, if you simply give up and don’t even try?
It was time to reach home, so I could get ready for a meeting in court for my divorce. If my parents would know about it, they’d kill me! They are the ones who keep lecturing me about getting married and settling down, and here I am, divorcing my wife without giving any hint to my parents in Indore, who are still weaving the dreams of my marriage – probably my second marriage now!
I treaded my steps backward and reached home, where Avni was waiting for me. Dressed in a blue chiffon saree, she looked much more beautiful than she looked on her wedding day. She pushed back a flick of her silky hair behind her ear, and her silver bangles jingled, reminding me of the day I noticed her when she held her father’s hand before surgery. She walked to get her handbag from the dressing, and her anklets were clinking all the way along. Her presence only brought so much positivity into this house that I was always happy to return! Was I such a terrible husband – I thought – that she was all dressed up and so happy to leave me?
The air inside the house was suffocating today. She had cleaned the guest room and packed all her luggage. Her briefcases and bags shamelessly stared upon me and called me a loser – world’s biggest loser! I looked away and there I saw the walls, which were screaming how I wasted such a golden chance. I looked around and the whole house was seeming like a monster to me, now that she was going. With her, the house seemed like a ‘home’, and now it will again be back to what it used to be – a motel – where I ate and slept. No company, no one to talk to, no friend – again back to that boring, monotonous life and again back to that dirty hippie lifestyle.
‘Dr Ishan…’ Avni pulled me out of my thoughts, ‘I must say, thank you so much, you made everything so easy for me. I never thought you’d help me in such a way! You’ve been a really good friend, and you did all this selflessly, which proves that you’re a really good person at heart too. I would really like to meet your parents, and thank them for bringing such a man into this world. I’m so proud to be your friend, doctor…’ she came and hugged me tight. Her hands were on my back, and her head resting upon my chest. The moment lasted barely for a few seconds, but it drenched my desert like heart for ages to come!
‘Avni…’ I thought this might be the right moment to confess my love to her. Maybe she won’t divorce me and maybe she’ll stay? Maybe I’ll get another chance to prove my love for her, maybe? There were a lot of ‘maybe’s’ and a very few guaranteed answers. I just prayed to the lord for one more miracle. Stall this day for 24 hours more, oh lord!
‘Yes?’ she answered in a sweet voice.
‘I wanted to say that…’ as I was about to make my first proposal after that unsuccessful attempt in keeping a girlfriend in ninth standard, that her phone interrupted me.
‘Oh, wait a second, doctor. It’s my mother, I told her about our divorce a few minutes ago, she might create some drama and some havoc. Let me attend this call, please…’ Avni took the phone to one side and started talking in a hushed tone. I could barely hear what she was saying, and in a few minutes, she returned panting.
‘What happened? Is everything okay?’ I was terrified as I saw tears in her eyes.
‘Father had a third heart attack and mother took him to hospital. This is all my fault. My divorce news must have hit him hard. I shouldn’t have done all this…oh my God! He had his second heart attack and an open heart surgery barely a month ago…oh lord!’ Avni broke down and started crying on my shoulder. Without wasting any more time, we both rushed to the hospital.
Without thinking about people, and without giving any thought to our marriage coming out in open, we rushed to the hospital. I drove the car, and Avni sat next to me, crying at her highest pitch. I wasn’t a master particularly at handling crying girls, and this was the worst moment, for the girl crying was not some regular girl, but ‘Avni’, my love!
‘Avni, stop crying…I assure you he’ll be alright.’
‘How can you assure…doctor…Ishan? It’s the third…and…he wasn’t even fully recovered…’ she couldn’t even complete her sentence that her voice cracked and she broke down once again.
‘Shh…calm down…relax…we’re going as fast as we can.’ I accelerated the car and drove at 70 kilometres per hour, even in busy Mumbai streets. My hands were trembling and all I hoped was for her father to be saved. The chances were thin as he had an open heart surgery barely five weeks ago, and this trauma must have hit him hard to cause another attack. This time, even I was scared as hell because I knew that there was 90% chance, Avni was about to lose her father today.
It was a matter of few minutes that my life again took a U-turn! I had just wished for some miracle to happen so that I don’t have to divorce her, and here I was, sitting with her in a car, not to go to the court, but to hospital. I didn’t wish her father to have a heart attack though, but God listened to me in a way! What an evil I was…I going to hell for such thinking…for sure!
We reached the hospital and in no time, I found out where her father was. The receptionist signalled us to the Emergency Ward, and we rushed. What I saw next was something I had already expected.
Avni’s mother stood at the door, crying and screaming. Her father laid at a stretcher, father…or I should say, just – a body!
Avni held my arm tight and sat down on floor. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t screaming anymore, she just sat there, still and calm. Maybe it was the calmness before a storm, but I wanted her to respond, else she would slip into a traumatic shock, which was not a good sign for anyone’s health.
My divorce was stalled, God did listen to me, but whatever happened, I have no words right now…no words…