Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win
Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win

Preeti Tal



Preeti Tal


The Last Autumn

The Last Autumn

4 mins

“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”

The hall was jampacked with people from the medical fraternity. It was a big event as Dr. Ravi a doctor of Indian origin working with one of the best US hospitals was being bestowed with a big honour. He was a reputed neurosurgeon who had made a breakthrough in Glioblastoma a kind of brain tumour. Success in this research field had taken Dr. Ravi a good eight years.

As the chief guest handed him the award consisting of a trophy, citation, and cash prize the hall resounded with thunderous applause. He was asked to speak a few words after getting the award. As he stood behind the lectern, he looked sad. Words got stuck in his throat as he got choked with emotions. With great difficulty, he got hold of himself and started speaking.

‘“Firstly, I want to thank my medical fraternity who believed in me, without your motivation I wouldn’t have reached here. Fate played a cruel joke on me, my wife was diagnosed with this disease, and I couldn’t find a cure. Though she was suffering she egged me on and because of her motivation, I reached here. But it is unfortunate that even though I have found a cure for this disease I have lost her.

The doctor, known to be a stoic and no-nonsense kind of person, looked vulnerable. He couldn’t keep control over his emotions. He broke down,

Gulping a glass of water helped him calm down.

It was in theyear1985 that a resident doctor of Indian origin was posted in the Neurology department. She reported to me. Generally, I didn’t mingle much with the resident doctors in my department. Except for work purposes. Most of the residents kept a distance as they found me curt and boring. Reema was different. She was unlike any of the other residents, chirpy and full of life. She loved her work and wanted to make it big in life. Her heart was set on becoming one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.

She would read and research a lot, during her free time interacting with me. She wanted me to guide her whenever she got stuck while making her diagnosis. Being an Indian myself I started talking with her and soon we found solace in each other’s company.

She dreamt of doing something worthy of humanity for which she would always be remembered. Since we started liking each other we decided to take our relationship further. Our families had no objection to our relationship, so we went ahead and tied the knot in mid-1986.

We started life on a happy note. We shared a happy camaraderie. Though both of us were busy with work we wanted to go ahead and begin our family. It was the autumn of 1986 when all of a sudden Reema developed a slight headache and then fell unconscious.

I felt it must be the work pressure, gave her medication, and hoped she would get back to her normal chirpy self. But I was mistaken her health started deteriorating. I rushed her to the hospital where she underwent a battery of tests. Soon the test results came, and she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. I was devastated and could only pray for her speedy recovery. She too got wind of the grave disease she was suffering. She didn’t lose hope. Instead, she egged me on to research the disease and find a cure. She was the wind beneath my wings and helped me reach here.

She maintained her happy disposition hoping I would find a cure for the disease. I would lose heart, but she was hopeful of my success. Before I could cure her, she was gone. ---’ How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and colour are their last days.”

Today I dedicate this award to her, and he looked upward with folded hands.

She may be somewhere among the stars but must be feeling happy seeing me receive this honour. She would have done a pirouette had she been alive.’’

As Ravi came down from the podium people hugged him. The audience had become misty-eyed hearing his story.

"The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go."

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