Jul 16, 2013

The Valley of Rainbow

I was driving slowly and my mind was caught up in the memory of that five year old boy who lied on that bed to be inspected by me.

"Promise me doctor," he begged. That was a broken sentence and he then looked into my eyes. Those exceptionally dark eyes glittered under a layer of tears.

"What son? What should I promise?", I asked, running my fingers through his short, stiff hair.

But he just repeated,
"Promise me doctor, please! The valley of rainbow..."

"You are ill little master," I said, "but it's just for a while. You will be alright soon."

But he still clang to that rainbow valley of his. The mother  was standing beside us with an anxious pair of eyes, fidgeting.

"Don't worry, he's delirious in fever. Maybe some fairy tale still lingers in his mind. It will be okay",  I told that woman.

He kept on asking me that promise and when I saw he was so fond of that mysterious valley of rainbow, I promised to his relief.
"Yes of course my boy. I will meet you at that valley of yours, I promise."

"I will wait for you there," he said, "may be there are candles and flowers around... maybe there is a gloomy whether around... But I'll wait for you doctor."

For a while I was somewhat wondered to see the maturity and seriousness a five year old boy was showing to me.

He was the first acquaintance and last patient of mine in that village. When I set foot in that neighborhood, he was the first one to greet me with a good morning. Thereafter, everyday I woke up to see his 'good morning smile' and being his neighbor was something I enjoyed a lot in that countryside. My sojourn in that place was dragging to an end when I was called for to treat him as a doctor. Till then I had just been his 'doctor uncle'.

Now, after years, when I am back from an adventurous episode of life abroad, I am once again invited to his home. During those twenty one years, I didn't remember him frequently, but I could recollect every minute I spent with that kid, whenever I wanted. I never thought I will see him again. After all it was a lucky coincidence that I met his father in the city. The retired loner self of mine didn't have much planning and thought process to decide to go with him, the very evening. 

Now the father was sitting indolently looking outside, at the distant green hills toward which I was driving.

"When I last saw him, he was just recovering from a fever. I still remember the rainbow valley of his dreams...", I said as if starting a conversation.

"He always talked about colors", the man said with his eyes still thrown outside.

He was too laconic the whole journey and often talked only when I was in need of driving directions. Inside, I was getting more and more eager to meet my old five year old pal of mine.

That place was too beautiful for an old crackpot like me, with soothing greenery and sloppy hills surrounding the entire vicinity. I was led through a narrow walkway leading to a small house. In front of that I saw the woman whose last picture in my mind was that of a tensed mother standing beside her delirious son. Before I could figure out the meaning of that expression on her face, they both led me to the back of the house, where a white slab welcomed me with flowers all over it.

There was an epitaph which ran,

"To the valley of rainbow you shall come,
My colors shall be there to greet you"

When my eyes went over those words, I was numbed for a while. I stood still seeing those words and a drizzle began to shower. I looked at that father with my eyes asking 'how'.

"He was born with a bad heart doctor and was supposed to die before six. Not knowing what was eating him beneath the cover of a fever, you were the last person to treat him. We don't know what magic your over-the-counter medicine did to our son, he lived up to seventeen. Until the last day, he believed you were a savior. And let me tell you, our meeting today was by no way a coincidence. I was looking for you", his tone was calm and unmodulated.

I had nothing to tell him. But over the distant green canopy of hills, I saw a glittering rainbow rich in colors. 

Jul 5, 2013

He said he was thinking

When the police asked, all that idiot had to say was he was thinking! Although I kept silence, I was literally pissed off by that answer. He said, "I was thinking", and that was all. I would have instantly slapped on his face, had he not been lying on that bed with injuries all over his body, surrounded by medical team and police. I reached for my chest pocket which was torn apart by an enraged auto rickshaw driver. I tried telling him it was all that idiot's fault, but there was no one to listen to me. ('Idiot' was perhaps the most decent word I could find to call him that time.) As far as road accidents are concerned, our people hold a prejudice that bigger vehicle is always the guilty one. When a pedestrian is involved, it's always the driver who is guilty. No one asks whether the living organism in question was walking carefully, or he or she were obeying the road rules or so. You drove a vehicle means you were guilty.

 The police left without giving me much trouble, since this boy had said he had no complaint against me. But I couldn't leave so easily. Who would account for my damages, when I stand completely innocent? What about my shattered wind shield? What about my torn clothes? What about those smashes I received when I was trying to defend my side?

When Amritha called, I didn't say anything. How could I tell her my car hit some freak young boy and had to face a stampede of traffic moral police on road and I am in hospital with the villain! I just told her I am in a mess and will be late. Even after the doctor left, I stayed there. If I can't settle things with him, I shall settle it with his parents or whomsoever comes for him first. When the nurse was doing some stuff with the stitches on his face, I murmured,

"See, it was all his fault..."

She looked at me,

"He was totally careless on road. I was in moderate speed, he just strayed into my way..."

Before I could complete my arguments, I could make out from her expression that that middle aged angel was least interested in what I had to say. So I stopped.

When she left, I saw him lying there with closed eyes. But the movements of his eyeballs were  saying that he was not sleeping at all.

I stayed there constantly haunted by the embarrassing moments I had gone through just half an hour before. Surrounded by enraged crowd, hearing names, being beat up...

I was eagerly waiting for someone from his side to come, when another young boy showed up. He came hurriedly and was panting. When I saw his expression on seeing my villain's posture, I asked,

"You are a friend of him, aren't you?"

Before he could answer me, his attention went to the bed-ridden who had by then opened his eyes hearing us talk.

"Vinu, what was that?"

"It was all his fault", I couldn't resist repeating this.

The second boy looked at me with an expression apparently asking me to stop talking until he takes a close glance of his friend. I clang to silence.

 Vinu asked his friend, "Did it come Joy?"

"Vinu, let's talk about it later. You please take rest now."

"No Joy, I am okay. You tell me, did it come? What is it?"

Throwing a short glance at me, Joy spoke to him after a pause.

"Yes, the verdict has come. The Court granted divorce to your dad and mom."

I, now sitting on a stool nearby, stood up hearing this. I saw Vinu slowly closing his eyes as before. Joy looked at me. I didn't know what to say or do. I felt my torn pocket with my palm once again and just walked away.

Jul 3, 2013

I did see the signs

I did see the signs wayside
Though I never knew you left them
The road hitherto was not smooth
And had stones and thorns all along
Amid the turmoil of feelings
I did see the signs you'd left

In the ambiance of the woods, I waited for a sound
But not a wee sweep of wind I could feel
There were unfathomable ponds along
Where I halted and looked onto for visuals
I couldn't even recognize on the reflections
My own silhouette over the ripples

What kept me going I know not
There were twists along the way
For every unexpected twist it took
You'd left your signs all along
I were never too distant from you
But it took me this long a journey to reach you
I knew not you were waiting for me
But I did see the signs you'd left