He had never expected that she would say ‘this’. Not even in his dreams. Neither did she ever imagine that she would speak like this with anyone. With him! But such words are not planned and articulated. They just spill out. Like emotions. Like tears. Like an overwhelming surge of a deeply felt pain. The way she didn’t think even for a moment before she ran towards him to ensure that he w...
So I woke up early today and I was missing my story, so I decided to post the update. For now, until my laptop works fine, I will post smaller and frequent updates as and when I am able to write. Apologies for spamming your email inbox, if I do 🙂
Early in the morning, when the sun was about to rise, Anshuman fixed his earplugs and set his iPod to play his favourite Sufi renditions, he was fond of, that he often listened to, to shrug away the worries of his hectic and mostly difficult routine. Brisk walking was his way to gain the strength and stamina he needed throughout the day. Anshuman paced around the campsite before going for a jog.
When he went behind the row of their camps, he found Manasvi sitting quietly at a cool, clean place, in Padmasana – a sitting asana of yoga, breathing deeply, unperturbed as if in meditation.
His feet stopped without his command for he couldn’t move his eyes away from her. So beautiful, so serene she appeared. Her body was in perfect posture as she sat straight and inhaled deeply. Her headscarf was missing. Instead, her black, silky hair was tied in a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her sleek neck was in line with her spine and her eyes were closed.
Awestruck, Anshuman observed her unabashedly for almost a minute before stealing away his eyes, feeling guilty about ogling at someone who was oblivious to his presence around her. With a heart beating hard Anshuman traced his steps back in another direction and went for a long jog, this time with an added chaos over his mind.
‘Did I make a mistake of allowing her to be around me to write a story?
That was such a wrong move. I shouldn’t have been so impulsive.’
He knew that he had encouraged her as it was good for her career but he was still not prepared to work with Manasvi around him. He didn’t want to goof up. He didn’t want to lose his mind. He was known for a stable stance and mature attitude towards work and everything in general. He couldn’t afford to allow anyone destabilizing his peace just by one glance she threw at him.
Manasvi met Krish as a routine. He was able to move his leg today but was advised not to exert himself. He had been talking to authorities and Mr. Mehta and as they were from ‘The Insight’ getting permissions was not a big deal for them. He was anyway there on a work visa given to journalists.
Manasvi asked him to take rest and Krish decided to continue talking to the ward boys of the male ward he had been admitted to. Manasvi left to talk to Anshuman.
As there was no door to knock, Manasvi cleared her throat before entering the small make-shift cabin that was made out of tent material, with one table, two chairs – facing each other, a small stool, and a small bed to examine patients. Anshuman was sitting in the doctor’s chair with a stethoscope around his neck and a medical hammer in his hand. There was a small boy sitting on the stool before him.
When he saw Manasvi entering, he turned to look at her and acknowledge her and then finally gave her a small awkward smile. “Hey! Err… sit!”
She smiled, tapping her pen over her diary, and stepped ahead to sit in the chair facing him. It was awkward for her and absurd for him. They had never talked without reason before. It was always about work. Both of them hoped that it remained so and they continued to talk about work only.
Trying to make it less awkward and a bit casual, he asked, “How are you planning to go about it?”
“Hmm?” Manasvi was jolted out of her thoughts, “Oh? Yeah! I haven’t decided. I usually observe people and their routine, notice the details and write them, and finally make a report about the major concerns, topics that need attention, issues faced, achievements and accomplishments, and stuff like that.” She replied in a detached, clinical sort of way. To-the-point, and crisp.
“Oh!” Anshuman nodded, quite relieved after listening to her approach, and was back to examining the patient without saying anything to her. He hoped that she finished her work soon and was back to her life, her routine, her friends.
He tapped the elbow joint of the small boy of around 14 years injured in the bomb explosion. The elbow was dislocated after the arm was trapped in his cycle as he fell down and shards of burning log fell on him.
“Does he have a history of elbow dislocation since childhood?” Anshuman asked his father. The father of the boy appeared clueless. He dialed a call to his wife to ask about it. The wife confirmed. The elderly man nodded and informed Anshuman of the same.
“Sir, his mom says that twice during childhood, he had his elbow dislocated. But he wasn’t taken to the hospital. Our relative aunt corrects bone problems with massages and oils. She only corrected it.”
Anshuman nodded and said, “I guessed that. His elbow was always weak since childhood, now it is completely dislocated. I don’t think we can treat him with medicines. He will have to get operated.”
“But sir, we don’t have money for the operation.” The father expressed his concern.
“That is not an issue. It will be taken care of. I’m writing a prescription for now. He will be operated after the skin wounds heal.”
The man thanked Anshuman profusely and left. The next patient walked inside the tent and Anshuman turned to him.
Manasvi asked him, “Don’t you feel frustrated by frequent changes in demography? Different countries? Different problems?”
Anshuman replied, “No. Only the temperature and geographical landscaping changes with different countries. People essentially are the same. Similar problems. Similar issues. Same stories of helpless sections of the society, self-medicating and treating themselves as they have no resources and means, amplifying their issues. The same story of over-burdened health care system and govt. with different priorities except health. People who don’t care about human lives and attack them, kill them.”
Manasvi wrote all that he said while he examined the next patient for a ligament pulled while running to save himself. She asked, “I was reading about PBB. It’s quite inspiring that you work mainly with disaster, war or epidemic hit areas, and you are supposed to go to the worst affected countries of the world, some of the most dangerous locations. Doesn’t it scare you? Ever?”
Anshuman was examining the patient and his eyes and focus were on the patient’s ankle, when he nodded almost absent-mindedly, replying to Manasvi, “No. It doesn’t.”
Manasvi observed him keenly and asked the question that was on her mind ever since she had heard about Syria and Israel at the terrace of his home. She cleared her throat and asked in a low voice, “Despite knowing that it will break your mom who was so worried about you that she made you leave the army and wanted you to settle in a corporate job?”
Anshuman’s hands froze for a moment. He took a deep breath, pressed his lips, and closed his eyes. This was the reason he had been wondering if he did a mistake by allowing her to be around him.
Her uncomfortable questions would keep increasing every day. And he didn’t want anyone to knock at his safely guarded territories.
(For some time, I will be posting shorter and quicker updates, till I am able to write longer ones)