Chapter Twenty


Parnika pushes the keycard into the slot and opens her hotel door. They were back from a remote tribal camp after 3 months. Their next destination was in remote villages and forests of congo. She sighed as she dropped on her bed hanging her legs looking at the decorated ceiling above her head.

It was a tedious yet quite a wonderful learning opportunity for her to learn more about the advanced medical science and practices and teach them to local doctors there who used to treat villagers with locally available herbs. It was that efficient in curbing the widespread diseases but good enough to get rid of some basic flu and other illnesses. She had no experience to this culture before this trip and now its been 3 months in the village which almost was in wilderness. They used to live in makeshift huts and had set up medical camp for all the villagers who had been suffering from mass-spread diseases.

They had been vaccinated with the required amounts of doses to keep them safe from the diseases that they were expected to cure the villagers from. Everyone was on the team was best in their portion of work and was from every other part of the world. In her team there were 2 girls like her from Germany and Italy as well as One guy from Florida. Others were from different countries, most of which were either europe,USA, Canada. There were a few of Indian origin but born and brought up in other countries. It was a whole new world open at her doorstep. She could explore the world around.

She initially was so excited when a year back Dr. Chunawala, her senior had informed her about this campaign. Initially Dr Chunawala was invited to join but due to health issues he was unable to join. Hence he asked if he could send Parnika as his replacement. She’d been working with him for quite a long time now and had learned a lot from him. He proposed the idea to Parnika once the hospital’s council of senior doctors approved it. She was so happy to get the news but there was a catch. She had to give a small test before she could be selected to prove that she was the one good enough to replace her senior as it was a matter of reputation for the Management. It had to be the one specialist India was sending to the WHO medical camps. It had to be a year long and possibly could extended a few months if the things didn’t get in control. Hence the timings were something she wasn’t totally happy with.

Initially she wanted to tell Jay and others about it but she wanted to wait for the results of the test she’d given soon after the council had approved her.  She had a hunch that she’d have to leave Jay for a year and he’d create a fuss about it. She still remembered the day when they were just teenagers and she had decided to pursue medicine as a career option. Jay sadly wasn’t able to crack the exam but she did and had been offered scholarship from one of the top institutes in Aurangabad.

Everyone was so happy for her apart from Jay. He was sad because she’d have to live in hostel away from him for course duration. He was so mad at her that he didn’t speak with her that whole week. She tried to make him understand that she’d be back in vacations and holidays but he wouldn’t listen at all. But when she left waving goodbye in car, he cried waving bye from the terrace. Thinking about it still brought smile on her face. But then this time, it was different. She wanted to tell him but then Shriya came in his life. It felt as if she was replacing her in his life. It felt so effortless that it felt as if Jay wouldn’t care even if she left this time for long period. That night was the one she’d never forget. Smile had disappeared from her face and tears began to form in her eyes.

She wiped the tears with edge of her sleeve and layed back on the bed thinking about Jay and Shriya in India. It had been long she had talked to him or had any form of communication so far. It felt as if he didn’t even bother to contact her. She was so angry at that day, she decided it’d be better if she left her phone there itself. Images thinking about Jay and Shriya in bed were plaguing her mind and getting her more depressed. She felt it was better if he just didn’t keep him in touch for a while.

Thing she didn’t realise was it had been 3 months now. They had spent all these months in a place where there was hardly any electricity. Solar powered light bulbs and fans were at their rescue from the killer heat of the african savannah. She had been provided with a satellite phone as being the team leader. Team members had walkie-talkie radios that were used for communication with one another. At times she wanted to call him but she stopped and gripped her emotions.

There was a knock on the door as she gets up and opens the door. Room service was there to give her the food she’d ordered while coming back up. She gets the food placed on the table and goes for a shower. Later she opens up her laptop and connects it with the hotel wifi. There’s a rain of notifications and emails that goes on for an hour till she finishes the dinner. She opens up to find mails from Ma and Pa. She had sent the emails using the opportunity whenever she found a network connection. She hadn’t opened a single email from the inbox. There were a lot of emails from Khushi, Ma and Pa, her friends at the hospital, her senior, the management and even a few from hitesh. But none from Jay.

She shuts her laptop screen and lays down on the bed pulling blanket over. The room was air-conditioned and it was really warm bed. Even after being cozy and tired she was unable to sleep. She gets up and places laptop in her lap. She opens up the email account and reads the emails one by one. She decides to leave ones from Ma and Pa and Hitesh and Khushi later. She wanted to keep her thoughts away from Jay and thinking about him would remind her of that night again making her unhappy.

She smiles at the emails from her friends and replies back to them with the pictures they had captured while being onsite. She shared the pictures from the safari that the had been on just a week before when the work was over. She had never imagined being loved so much from these people around her. But the one she craved for was still missing.

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