Chapter Thirty Nine


Miral was sitting on the bed and scribbling something on a blank page when she notices Khushi knocking at the door. She acknowledges Khushi smiling at her. Khushi was a well known personality in the fashion industry. It was a dream for her to meet someone so young and talented. Miral was completely shocked when she had learned that Khushi was Jay’s sister. “Please sit, I am so happy to see you here. Actually, I tried several times to get your appointment but your secretary always somehow avoided my request. I wanted to interview for my website. Your talent really inspires me and many like me who love the fashion industry.”

Khushi takes a deep breath which takes Miral by surprise. “I don’t know how should I say this but, I am glad to know that you really appreciate my work. But, you need to get out of bhai’s life.”

“What do you mean? I respect you but that doesn’t mean you’d just come up straight and insult me.” Miral folds her legs and sits straight looking straight at Khushi. Her voice had now slightly elevated enough to be audible to anyone in the next room. “I know it sounds rude but Miral, this thing you’re doing with bhai, I mean Jay, isn’t looking good at all.” Khushi tries to calm her down and make her understand the situation.

“What am I doing? I am not getting what are you trying to say?”

“I am saying, stop acting like you are bhai’s girlfriend. He is just doing things out of sympathy for you. His marriage is been arranged with Parnika and you are just coming between them.” Khushi conveyed the message in as neutral tone as she could attain.

“Oh, so now that was her plan. She called you to get me away right? How smart of her, she always does that you know? She always acts like she’s the victim of the situation and then takes everything under her control. She’s nothing but one huge manipulative bitch.” A slap straight lands on Miral’s cheek as she finishes the sentence. Khushi seemingly had snapped and lost her desire to stay calm and reason with Miral. On the other side of the door, while working on a project Jay notices the girls. It felt as if they were having a huge argument about something. He was aware that any kind of emotional turmoil might have bad effect on Miral. He shuts off his laptop screen and halts before the door to knock. But something catches his ears that makes him stop and make an audience.

“Parnika was right, you are nothing but a childish natured bitch. You know, she wanted me to turn off the idea of marriage just because of you. She was in a dilemma. If she saved you, you’d just cling on Jay and he being the spineless being he is would never reveal his true feelings for her and if she rejects to treat you, it’d be a tight slap on her professional integrity. But I assured her that I’d handle everything and take care of this mess.”

“I was the one who encouraged Parnika to just go ahead and feel confident about this operation. Do you have any idea how much she’s just giving up for you? No, but you are the one who’s being childish. Everyone who knows Jay, knows about his bond with Parnika. At times I still wonder what’s wrong with that dumbass. He’d crave for her when she’s not here and when Parnika gets close, he just treats her like she was always meant to be there. Miral dear, he is just caring for you out of sympathy. He has always been a emotional weakling.”

“What?! I can’t believe this…. You must be lying right? You are just trying to manipulate me right?” Miral had started getting goosebumps. Miral had been diagnosed with anxiety and used to get anxiety attacks after her first tumor removal. She used to freak out on most minor issues which made her take steps like running away from the family. Khushi now could see Miral shivering and trying to hold something for support. She immediately rushes to her aid. “Miral…..Miral….what’s wrong? What’s happening?.... Are you okay?.... Miral!” Khushi cups her face and tries to calm her down.

Listening to this Jay immediately opens the door and rushes to Miral. “Miral...Miral… everything’s fine… look at me…” Jay pulls her into embrace and hugs her. He rubs her back as Khushi mortified looks at Miral. She tries to grasp what had just happened. But Miral’s condition wasn’t getting any better. Her eyes began to close and she stopped shivering. Jay slapped her cheeks a few times trying to wake her up. Miral’s body was suddenly getting sweaty.

“Khushi, call Parnika, now! I am taking Miral to hospital. Ask her to meet us there asap.” Jay quickly carries Miral over his shoulder and rushes downstairs. Khushi hurriedly types ‘Parnika’ in her phone, trying to find contact missing a few letters in the process. She takes a deep breath and calls her.

At the hospital, Miral was now taken inside the intensive care unit. Jay and Khushi are asked to wait outside in the waiting area. Jay notices Parnika and others rushing inside. The red light glows above the door as a few nurses just continue rushing in and out for a few more minutes. Jay was shocked and broken. He had never witnessed a real situation like this in his life. No matter how emotional he got, he never compromised on acting on it and today was one of those days. He was shocked and confused with the things he had been listening eavesdropping on both the girls. But when Khushi started calling out Miral, he realised something had happened.

It had been now two hours of waiting and constantly checking on the glowing red light. Khushi on the other hand just took her place on the couch. She had not uttered a word until now. I hope she gets well soon. I had no idea she’d get all stressed up like this. But how did Bhai rush in immediately? Was he eavesdropping? Oh no! That’s bad, should I ask him? No, this isn’t the moment. She looks at Jay who was constantly checking on the red light waiting for it to turn off.

One more hour later, Jay notices the red light above the Operation Theatre/I.C.C.U turned off. He gets up and heads towards the room but is stopped by a guard. He walks back to the couch disinterested in waiting. A ray of hope shines on his face as he notices Parnika walking towards him. His smile was maybe just too early for that as he notices that she had no expression on her face.

“Jay, Khushi, we tried our best but we could nothing to help. Somehow her blood pressure increase resulting in bursting the tumor. Initially, we thought she’d be in a comatose state when arrived, but later when scans revealed that she was brain dead. Her heart stopped working after a while, making it evident.” Parnika looks at the floor. Her conscious was constantly making her feel guilt for not being able to help her. She had failed as a doctor for the first time in her entire career. Saving lives and protecting people was something she learned from her father who was Flight officer in the Indian Air Force. After her father’s death, his motto was the only thing that somehow had been etched into her heart.

Just like her father she wanted to save lives and help people. You don’t need to be a soldier to save a life. Her father’s dialogue, that her mother often used to tell her when she was young. Being a doctor was a way to show her father that yes, you can save lives and help others without being a soldier. Jay tries to get Parnika’s attention but she seemed to be consumed in her own thoughts. Khushi places hand on Jay’s shoulder who wanted to follow Parnika. He wanted to tell her that it wasn’t her fault. She had no part to play here. It was just a coincidence.

Khushi and Jay relayed the details about Miral’s family and other things to the hospital staff as Parnika signs in her attendance ledger. She places her index finger on the scanner of the signout machine and walks out. She walks towards her car. She starts the engine heading back home direction. Her eyes were focused as he mind was flooded with thoughts yet she was noticing what’s happening around. There wasn’t a hint of an expression on her face, lips sealed shut, she walked like zombie. It felt as if she was present physically in the moment and absent at the same time.

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