She was sitting in front of me, fragile, old and weak. She couldn’t walk anymore. She sat on the sofa with the help of a servant. As soon as she sat, she couldn’t utter a single word for her body gasped for breath. Her condition was deteriorating. But, her green eyes beamed brightly and when she smiled, it brought a smile to my face. Her smile looked beautiful on her wrinkled face.
And I asked her, “How have you been?” I saw how vulnerable and alone she was. The pain due to loneliness reflected from her face.
She had a recent accident and got hit by an animal and came to my city for a doctor’s appointment.
I got up to bring in some snacks and coffee, she held my hand and said, “I don’t want anything, I just want you to sit with me and listen.”
Her green eyes conveyed more than her words, and the way she held my hand was unusual.
I sat there, and with damp eyes she started.
It was thirty four years back, when for the first time I left for Muradabad. I had completed my school studies and left to live on my own for my higher studies. I went to a Medical school.
“Welcome Tarsem, make yourself comfortable. Your snacks are ready in your room,” said my uncle.
He lived in the city and I had decided to live with him for a short while before I move out to rent an apartment for myself. His house was nothing less than a mansion. The beautiful sculptures were carved out on the magnificent white walls and it marked the beauty of Indian ancient art.
“What happened Tarsem? asked my uncle.
I had almost tears in my eyes. I had a piercing pain in my lower abdomen. I wasn’t well.
“I need to go to the hospital now.”
I was crying by this time. No sooner did I say this than my uncle told two of his servants to take me to the hospital. I could see the white walls and people waiting there. My face was almost down with pain, when the servant stopped my wheelchair in front of the doctor.
“I think I have appendicitis.”
“Yeah, let me check.”
“As soon as I heard that voice, I lifted my face up and I froze. Never had I seen such a handsome man in my life. Something happened to me. He was tall and dark skinned. Was almost ten years older to me. I wanted him to touch me. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I just wanted him to ask me more, talk to me and touch me.”
When she was narrating this to me, I could feel how much she missed him, but I was eager to hear her out. I asked her one more time whether she would like to have some coffee, but she refused again and demanded me to sit and listen to her patiently.
The doctor examined me and wrote me a prescription. He said that there was no appendicitis.
“Thank you, doctor, what is your name?”
He smiled at me and walked away, but didn’t tell his name.
“The fact that he didn’t tell his name, it attracted me even more towards him. I came back home and got well pretty soon with his prescriptions. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Finally, I decided to go again and say a thank you to him.”
I walked into the hospital; my eyes were searching desperately for him. I finally spotted him; he was standing in the corridor.
“Thank you, doctor,I am well now, the pain is all gone.”
“I am glad that I could help you.”
Again, I couldn’t stop staring at him, I looked into his eyes and smiled. “Can I know your name, doctor?”
He called his attendant and told him, “Tell her my name.” And then he walked away.
I was getting desperate and I looked at the attendant demanding an answer.
“His name is Dr Jameel Ahmed and he is the senior medical officer of this hospital.”
“Where does he live?”
I quickly put his address on the paper.
“After getting his address, I was sure that I will go to his place over the weekend. For the whole week I prepared, I was just nineteen at that time. I went to the salon, got my hair and facial done and my clothes ready. Then I felt a little insecure, he was tall and I was short. So, I quickly bought a nude pair of high heels for me.”
“Hey, welcome to my place, is everything alright?”
He thought maybe I had a medical emergency because I turned up at his place uninvited.
“Yeah, I am good, I just came by to see where you live; in case, I have an emergency in the future. Now, I have familiarized myself with the place and I am going.”
“No, you must stay here and have a cup of tea with me.”
And then I saw how much she loved him. Her eyes said it all. She was narrating a story that happened years back, but when she was telling me, she was completely absorbed in it and I could see the nostalgia hitting her hard.
“And from that cup of coffee, a long journey and the most beautiful part of my life started. I used to visit him often and I didn’t know how to cook. Everyday, he told his servant to cook dinner for me and deliver it to my home. During my lunch break, I used to rush to the hospital from my university to have lunch with him. He was everything to me.”
At this point of time, I had too many questions in my head. I wanted to know where did this love story go, I decided not to interrupt and listen to her patiently.
“He was a chain smoker and had survived a heart attack once. He had gone to visit his hometown when he got the attack, he told his servant to not tell me anything, but when I sensed something was wrong, I packed my bags and went to his hometown to see him. I still remember once I hid his packet of cigarettes and how mad he got at him over this. I wanted to get married to him. Whenever I brought this question up, he used to keep quiet, he never really answered it. Sometimes, I thought to myself that maybe he was married or had someone as his wife back at his place. I never really had courage to ask him that on his face. But, finally after fifteen years of us being together, he said a yes. And we fixed the date.”
It was the day of my marriage, I got ready and I couldn’t stop myself looking at the mirror. I wore a red saree and a pair of high heels to match his height and I sat in the car with my parents. We were on our way to the temple when suddenly, the driver stopped the and said, “There is an urgent telegram for Miss Tarsem.”
He handed me the paper and it read “Dr JAMEEL AHMED IS DEAD.”
No sooner did she say that than she started crying. It was years since that happened, but the pain on her face looked very fresh and young.
“He died with a heart attack on his way to be my forever, and I decided to grow old alone with his memories in my heart.”