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. 

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