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Mouna M

Abstract


4.8  

Mouna M

Abstract


Orphan

Orphan

11 mins 284 11 mins 284

Sneha was an orphan by birth. She was found in the village temple by the priest, Shankarappa. Since then, Shankarappa had become her caretaker as he too was an orphan. As years passed by, Sneha was sent to the nearest government school by Shankarappa since he could not afford to send her to private school. Sneha became a very close friend of the village head, Rajappa's daughter, Sapna, who stayed very close to the temple. Every day, after school, they used to immerse themselves in play till so late that Sapna's mother used to come and take both of them to their house where Sneha used to have dinner with Sapna. Sapna's mother, Sharadamma, had a selfish motive behind it too as Sapna never used to eat her meals properly except dinner, which she used to enjoy having with Sneha. Immediately after dinner, Sapna's mother used to give food to her father, Shankarappa too, which she used to carry it home happily.

Exams were nearing by and Sneha was highly intelligent in comparison to Sapna. Sneha always used to help Sapna in her homework and, in fact, sometimes used to do the homework for her. That evening, Rajappa came home early and saw that both were sitting and studying for exams. He was amazed at the way Sneha was making Sapna understand the math problem. He told his wife, Sharadamma, about it, but she felt bad that he did not appreciate her daughter, and instead, appreciated Sneha. She kept numb and walked away. That night, Sneha had to suppress her hunger as Sharadamma was not her usual self when serving both Sneha and Sapna though her daughter told her to serve Sneha a bit more. Sharadamma packed little less than usual to Shankarappa. Sneha could sense something wrong in her behavior, but kept quiet thinking about her house condition. She handed over the parcel to Shankarappa and as usual, he tried to give the first bite to Sneha, which Sneha refused saying that Sharadamma had given her more food today and that she was full. This continued and Sneha could feel that the parcel was not enough for Shankarappa. So, she used to save some in a cover when Sharadamma used to go inside and carry it home. Sapna felt bad about that, but she had to maintain silence in front of her mother.

One day it so happened that when they were having dinner, Sneha got up in between and told Sapna that she was having stomach pain and carried the parcel given by Sharadamma home. On the way home, she puked everything. She took the parcel packet and went inside the temple. She cried in front of the deity as to why she had to make her an orphan, instead, if she could have died, Shankarappa would not have faced financial problems. As Shankarappa had forgotten to lock the gate of the temple, he had come just in time when Sneha was crying her heart out to the deity. He mourned in his heart and called out for Sneha. He told her that she was not an orphan and a blessing from God, and that he was feeling very hungry. He took the parcel from Sneha and gave her the first bite. Sneha would not open her mouth, Shankarappa felt something fishy as the stale smell was coming from the food. He found out that the food was stale. He just wrapped it up and put in the dustbin and took Sneha home.

The village wore a festive look the next day. The village head, Rajappa, came on time to the temple along with his family members. Sapna was waiting to see Sneha and wanted to show her, her new skirt. He was shocked to see the temple gate locked. Rajappa immediately went towards Shankarappa's house and found it locked too. He found a bag there which contained the temple keys and few new clothes, which he had given it to him for the festival. Rajappa felt a little awkward to find out the reason as to why Shankarappa had left the village without even informing him. His wife, Sharadamma, felt ashamed about herself because she was the only one who knew the reason for Shankarappa's leaving the village. Sapna started crying and tugged at her mother, pulling her saree, but she failed to notice the tears flowing from Sharadamma's eyes too. Rajappa immediately appointed a new priest, but still could not take out Shankarappa from his mind.

Sapna could not fare well in studies without Sneha's help was asked to stay at home by her father. Sapna used to miss Sneha's company every day, especially during evenings and refused to eat her food, which had become a big headache for Sharadamma. She too started cursing herself for having committed the blunder, but somehow used to manage to feed Sapna. Sapna grew up soon and was married to the neighboring village head's son, Rajesh. Sapna became busy in her life after the birth of her son. She used to visit her parents once a week. Rajappa's health was off and on and he used to visit the city hospital every now and then. That night was a nightmare for Sharadamma as she had to call her son in law to take them to the city hospital as Rajappa was complaining of severe chest pain. He was rushed to the emergency ward immediately. The service doctor in charge told that a specialist doctor could only save Rajappaa and that he would try for that doctor, but since it was midnight, he was not sure if the doctor would come and attend the case. Sharadamma collapsed on the chair. Her son in law, Rajesh, told her to take some rest and that he would take care of the rest. As Sharadamma was tired, she dozed off on the chair. The service doctor told Rajesh that luckily, the specialist doctor had agreed to come and operate on Rajappa and that things would improve. Rajesh could see the doctor from far entering the OT as he had gone out to get the medicine as instructed by the duty nurse. Rajesh came back and handed over the medicine to the nurse, which she straight away took to the OT. Time was ticking away and Rajesh was walking on and off the hospital corridor. He had to take care of Sharadamma too. He sat next to her and since he was fatigued and feeling drowsy, he rests his head on the armrest.

The nurse woke him up saying that Rajappa's operation was a success and he was shifted to ICU, still waiting to regain consciousness. Rajesh felt happy and woke Sharadamma and told her the news on hearing which Sharadamma looked up and thanked God. Rajesh told her that the specialist doctor had operated Rajappa in the midnight because of which he was saved. As Sharadamma had skipped her dinner the last night, her stomach was growling. She told Rajesh to get her some food, to which Rajesh nodded a yes and moved towards the canteen. There was a stretcher being brought towards the OT and on seeing the big tummy, Sharadamma got to know that it was a pregnant lady who was about to deliver. Sharadamma heaved a great sigh after eating the food. Rajesh was called by the nurse for filling up the hospital formalities. Sharadamma felt bored and started walking through the corridor. She saw a few people and hospital staff surrounding an old person who was draped in orange sitting near the OT. Out of curiosity, she walked a little closer to catch a glimpse of that person, but could not see with her blurred vision. She cursed herself for having not gotten her spectacles. Rajesh called out for her stating that they could now go and see Rajappa as he had gained consciousness. Sharadamma went first, and Rajappa gestured at her that he was feeling a bit better. Sharadamma felt relieved and told the same to Rajesh. Rajesh wanted to have a look at the specialist doctor who had operated on his father in law. He went in search of the nurse to find out the same.

Sharadamma walked close towards that old person as the crowd had subsided then and as she approached him closer, his face looked familiar to her. She narrowed down her eyes. It was him, Shankarappa, her heart started pounding faster. She walked away from him as she feared where her heartbeat would wake him up. Rajesh came near her and on seeing her sweating asked if everything was alright. On hearing his voice, the old person woke up. Sharadamma tried to hide her face with pallu. Rajesh apologized for waking him up and moved to give the walking stick to him. The old person blessed him and walked towards the OT. Seeing the old person walk, the duty nurse came running and helped him further. Sharadamma told Rajesh that she needed to go home and freshen herself to which Rajesh told her that the duty nurse had told them to stay until the evening so that if any complications arise, Rajappa may have to be taken to the district hospital. Sharadamma did not know what to do. She was dying of guilty and at the same time did not have courage to apologize to Shankarappa. She skipped her lunch to thinking all the while about Shankarappa. She was reminded of Sneha too and the treatment met by her from Sharadamma. She cried, but then her ego would not let her go to Shankarappa and find the whereabouts of Sneha.

The nurse came and told Rajesh that the evening shift duty nurse had come and that he could talk to her. Rajesh straight away walked towards the nurse cabin and spoke to her. He could not believe his ears. He walked back in silence and sat on the chair. Sharadamma went inside the ICU and found Rajappa much better than the morning. Sharadamma wiped his tears and asked the nurse if she could give him water, to which the nurse refused. Sharadamma assured Rajappa that she would stay till night and looked around the ICU. She found the same lady who was crying in labor pain on the bed next to Rajappa. She wanted to go near her. The nurse sent her outside the ICU. Rajesh told Sharadamma everything that the nurse told him and went inside to see his father in law. On seeing him, Rajappa smiled at him. Before Rajesh could leave, the evening shift duty nurse came inside the ICU and told Rajesh that the lady who was sleeping next to Rajappa was the doctor who had saved Rajappa's life. On hearing this, Rajesh turned back to have a look at her face. She was sleeping. Both of them came out and the nurse told him that due to pregnancy complications, she had to undergo C section and the baby was kept in incubator. Rajesh felt agonized and told his mother in law about it. Sharadamma wanted to go inside the ICU, but she was not let in as the time had lapsed. She had to wait until the next morning to see that doctor. In the meanwhile, she was worried about Shankarappa where he would recognize her and tell Rajesh everything about her.

The next morning, when Sharadamma and Rajesh went to see the specialist doctor who had treated Rajappa, the nurse told them that she was shifted to the ward along with her baby. Rajappa was also shifted to ward. Sharadamma went along with Rajappa to the ward. Rajesh went to the ward and personally thanked the specialist doctor. Sharadamma also wanted to see her because in spite of being pregnant she had operated on her husband and had risked her own life for the same as she was immediately admitted to the hospital due to complications. Since Rajappa was sleeping, both Rajesh and Sharadamma went to the doctor's ward. She had turned her back towards the door as she was nursing her baby. Sharadamma had bought some fruits to offer her as a mark of gratitude. On hearing their voice, the duty nurse told them to sit. Sharadamma was checking her purse for the money to give it to the newborn as it was a tradition in India to give money on seeing the newborn. She could hear the walking stick coming towards her. She slowly raised her head and felt a choke in her throat, which made her cough. Shankarappa slowly moved towards her and offered her water, which she took it with shaky hands. She gulped down the water and saw Shankarappa moving towards the bed. Thank god, Sharadamma thought, he could not recognize her. Her eyes now moved towards the lady, on the bed, as told by Rajesh, was none other than the specialist doctor who had saved her husband's life. Guilt-ridden, she stood up from the chair, all the fruits from her bag fell down. Rajesh started picking them up. On hearing Sharadamma speak, Rajesh got the surprise of his life. She fell down at the feet of Shankarappa and apologized for the blunder she had committed due to which they had to leave the village. There was no response from Shankarappa. Seeing this, she went and shook the specialist doctor who was none other than, Sneha. Sneha did not even turn her face towards her. Each word of Sharadamma caused discomfort to Rajesh. He gave the fruits cover to her and walked off from the ward. Sharadamma came running behind to stop him from revealing everything to Rajappa before she could utter any word, she saw Rajappa walking towards Sneha's ward. Rajappa held Sneha's hand and told her that she had saved his life by risking 2 lives, both hers and her child's. Sneha replied that had they not moved out of the village, she would not have become a doctor and treated him. She called out for Sharadamma and thanked her for the same. Sharadamma could not ask for more, she started crying on Sneha's shoulders. She kept the money in newborn's hand, which was dropped on the floor. On seeing this, Sharadamma was wondering who was the real orphan, she or Sneha.


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