Being Together18 mins 21.4K 18 mins 21.4K
3rd February, 2008. She ran her fingers on the date which was engraved in her heart. This date hold a bunch of memories for her. She still wasn't sure if they were good or bad. She was trying to figure out the same since then. But, wasn't successful even after a complete year.
Before this date, February was supposed to be her favorite month. She loved it for she celebrated her birthday on 25th day of this month. She loved celebrations - without caring about their categories or type. She enjoyed reunions and her birthday was one such occasion when everyone followed whatever was requested by her: be it a family outing, baking chocolate cake even when it took her mum a couple of attempts to get it done perfectly, watching a movie with the complete family, or celebrating her day in the company of her childhood buddies. Every member was supposed to enroll themself into the preparations from the very start of the month. Hence, there was no reason why she wasn't supposed to love February.
And her maternal-father...
He was the one who used to look after every single preparation. He used to come up with unique ideas of making her day special. It was all because of his efforts that she used to get jubilant about her birthday. And off-course, he was the one who used to get his 'sugar candies' before anyone else! Aditi barely allowed him to leave without filling his cheeks with innumerable kisses, which he loved more than any dessert.
"Nanu you are not helping me here. Your spelling is not correct." She used to complain when he would write a word on her notebook with the wrong spelling, just to check if she remembered whatever he taught her the previous day. It was a routine when the two of them would complete all their works before 7p.m and would sit down for completing their respecting homework. However, he couldn't join Aditi everyday but she used to get delighted whenever he did. She knew that he had to look after his office, his homework, house chorus and other meetings with his friends. So, she never forced him to be with her.
There wasn't any need actually. No one could stay away from her for more than a couple of minutes. Her smile was enough to heal wounds which were considered to have no cures. Her honey-quoted voice helped people to laugh uncontrollably. Literally, she was handling the sole task of entertaining everyone on her miniature shoulders.
As destiny loved to have it, they couldn't enjoy the company together for Aditi's mother was transferred into a different city. She was a teacher in a government school. Hence, transfer was mandatory. She cried her heart out while leaving her maternal parents. She was barely seven years old then.
Now, she was fifteen. And back to where she belonged. But he had left her an year ago, on 3rd February 2008. Today was his first death anniversary. Her mother and other family members had gone to the temple. She was all alone at her place, with teary eyes, glancing at the shimmering sky, which was partly clouded and the sun was struggling to come up in its full valor.
Her maternal father wasn't well since her departure. He had asthma. Also, he had a habit of ignoring things and taking his health lightly for the sake of his family. His condition got worse with each passing day and he got bed-ridden when Aditi was twelve. She was back a couple of years later, leaving her mother. She was staying in Allahabad since then along with her maternal parents. They were her only family after her mother. Her nanu was the only male member in her family. He was the one she looked up to whenever she felt like. It was another thing that she couldn't tell him every single thing for some reasons. Those were the things which broke her from inside and made her weak.
One of the prior reason was... her father.
Since she was born, she had barely witnessed him. He wasn't there to hold her when she took her first breath; He wasn't there to hear her first shrill cries; He wasn't there to support her wobbling hands while writing her name; He was never with her on any of her birthdays to offer her his blessings - which were supposed to be priceless for her. She used to fumble whenever he tried to initiate any conversation. She had no idea how was she supposed to behave with him for she had only seen his angry eyes. She couldn't gather courage to look into those eyes and search a single strand of love for her.
Aditi's childhood was very different as compared to other kids of her age. It was devoid of her father. Not that her parents were divorced but, they weren't together anymore. And she could feel it very deeply. For her, it was a big deal.
She was aware that unlike the fictional stories narrated by her nanu, where there used to be a king, queen and their princess, her story was incomplete. She didn't have her king. There wasn't any kingdom of her where she could do whatever her heart wished to. There wasn't her king to make her feel like a princess. She couldn't rule over his heart and make him dance on her tunes. Everything was incomplete; broken; shattered.
In the next few years, she accepted this bitter truth and learnt to survive without him. It was tough - next to impossible. But her maternal parents helped her in filling that blankness up to some extent. They made sure to not let it affect her anyhow. They were the ones who actually brought her up and never hesitated in showering their unconditional love. She was the apple of their eyes. However, there were days when it became tough for them to close her eyes when she was forced to witness things she never wished to.
At three, she couldn't understand why her father used to shout at her mother without any reason. Why he slapped her in front of anyone and everyone. Why he barely hesitated in using abusive words for her maternal parents and why her mother did nothing except crying.
As she grew up, it became a regular sight for her. There was never a single day when she went in her school without seeing such things. It disturbed her to the core. She couldn't help but hated her father for what he did to her mother. She disliked her tears. She was the one who tried her best in bringing a smile at her face in spite of whatever she was going through. Aditi respected her more than anyone and never asked her about her disturbing past. There were millions of questions which haunted her mind every time she saw her mother. But, she kept all of that safely in her mini heart.
She used to ask her nanu about her father and why he behaved that way.
"Aadi, no one is a born culprit. He wasn't born with that kind of behavior. May be, the circumstances turned him that way. But you shouldn't dislike him. He is your father." He would say with a smile, expecting that her granddaughter would understand his simple words, holding deep meanings. Since then, he was the one who was helping her in viewing every situation with a neutral view. He wanted her to see the good in everything or situation, and keep that up. Both of them used to learn together while were growing old.
Days passed. With each day, Aditi kept learning, watching and noticing people. Things around her were varying at a fast pace, excluding her father. He was still the same: yelling, abusing, hitting her mother, keeping a distance with his daughter.
Aditi never thought of herself and her relation with him. She was habitual of him not responding to her morning wishes; or how he forgot to wish her on her birthday; or how he wasn't even aware of her class. She wasn't expecting any single thing from his side. But, she wanted him to at least respect her mother for what she was doing. She was the one, running their family on her own without any complains. At thirteen, Aditi was aware how much her mother was struggling and how tough it was to be a single mother. In spite of infinite hurdles, her mother was keeping up with all the situations. She desired a better life for her mum. She wanted her father to at least talk nicely with her.
But she failed every time.
There were moments when she felt like screaming and crying her heart out. This was something she couldn't share with anyone. Neither her friends nor family. Hence, she handled all that by herself.
No matter how much she denied, she craved for his love. She had so many things to tell him; she used to feel empty when she saw other children with their father; she felt disgusted for using his surname; she disliked it when anyone uttered something bad about him; she wanted to tell him that he was the sole reason of her existence and she loved him... She wanted to cry on his shoulders. She wanted him to motivate her for achieving her dreams. She wanted him every single second. But he was never there.
She couldn't celebrate father's day... she couldn't celebrate his birthday... he never gave her any chance of celebrating. He never told her what was his favorite color, favorite chocolate, books, movies. He never shared his college incidents. He never told her how unbearable her mom was when things were fine between the two of them. She never watched them together like she saw in the movies or those soap operas! She wasn't aware of who he was closed to and whether he loved studying or reading. She didn't know anything about him. Nor did he know her. They couldn't be friends.
She asked for him on every Christmas from Santa, since her fourth birthday as it was at that time when her maternal father had disclosed that Santa fulfilled everyone's wishes. But then she realized that Santa was too weak to bring him all alone and this is why, her father couldn't join her for celebrating Christmas day.
She never demanded anything from him. She never felt like initiating a conversation or having a debate. She didn't felt like telling him that may be, his hand-writing might be poor like most of the men! Not because she couldn't. But, it felt as if he was a stranger in her life and she was simply using his name. That's it. It was always an awkward moment when he was present. She never had any authority over him... her father. She found that amusing.
Life was tough. But, she never complained about it. There was always a glittering smile on her face, with those honey-quoted words which arrived through her lips which helped everyone around her to sport a smile.
That day, when she was admitted shortly after her thirteenth birthday, because of a tumor which has arrived for the second time within a gap of five months, she was busy in eating the brains of the doctors around her. Off late, the tumor wasn't allowing her to feel normal. Since the last month, she was being gifted oodles of pain, along with a bad taste bud and an anemic body. It made the days and nights tougher for both her and her mother. This wasn't pleasing her at all.
But, above that, she was upset with the timing of her disease. It was her winter vacations when she had plans to meet her maternal parents. But, instead of being in their company, she was counting the number of tablets she had to gulp on a daily basis and the injections which weren't looking pleasing at all. She feared being injected. Blood disturbed her. However, she was all filled with humor since she knew that her mother was upset because of her health. So, she wasn't behaving like a patient at all!
"Doctor what should be done to get admitted during exams?" She asked, with beaming eyes.
"I have no idea! Don’t tell me you like injections more than exams." Doctor shukla retorted with a surprising smile.
He was a reputed specialist of tumors, a man in his late fifties but good enough in defeating his aging symptoms. He had enough experience in dealing with his patients, without letting them feel any amount of pain. Though, he was a serious looking personality. But, he too was affected by Aditi's confidence.
"Science has helped in so many developments. Can't it do something to ban exams? And injections as well!" She rolled her eyes.
Doctor shukla laughed hard and instructed the nurse to get Aditi ready for the operation. Since the tumor has arrived again at the same place, he feared that it might be cancer. However, the biopsy reports cleared everything. There was risk in operation even then because of the complicated place of the tumor. However medicines were of no use and this is why, they were considering for operating her.
"I will tell science to do something for you. You don't deserve such pains." he answered and called her mother to explain her about the operation.
Meanwhile, Aditi was trying to calm herself. She never liked going inside the hospital even for her monthly check-ups. She always distanced herself from that place because she couldn't see other patients. It disturbed her deeply. Also, it was a task to put medicines inside her throat. She disliked them.
Nevertheless for the last few months, she was doing whatever the doctors were instructing her to. She was taking her meals properly, letting the nurses inject her, inhaling all the tablets without judging them on the basis of their looks and sizes. But even then, nothing was working well for her. She was still weak. Her body was pale and the veins were visible. She wasn't even able to take a couple of steps on her own. Each day was making her weak from inside.
She knew about the tumor and also about the complication. Hence, she wasn't able to sleep. The fear of losing her life was haunting her every second. However she was hiding it well beside her smile only for her mother. Situations like this, forced her to miss her father. But then, she was aware of the reality. Hence, she pushed the thought somewhere on the ground floor of her brain.
"What did he said mom?" she asked her mother when she joined Aditi back.
"You are too much anemic Aditi... and..." she couldn't complete her sentence.
"And what?" Aditi shot back.
"And... we need to arrange three bottles of blood. Your blood group is A- negative, which is very rare and there isn't anyone in our place with this blood group." her voice choked.
"So what? There are blood banks na? We can ask from there."
"It will be a long process and if you won't get blood within a couple of days then... you may... lose your life."
Her mother left the room with a tearful eyes and heavy throat immediately after she completed her words.
Aditi, on the other hand, froze on the place. Her eyes stopped blinking. Her brain couldn't process whatever information was passed to it. It was at that moment, when tears made their first appearance. Her knees hit the floor as she sobbed silently. She never liked crying for she didn't want anyone to see her like that - in a broken state.
All her dreams came crashing down. She was just not able to take it. How could she? She was only a child after all. She had to do so many things, she had to concentrate on her aim, she had to disturb her cousins, she had millions of things to do and she wasn't sure of her breaths. Life was indeed playing up with her!
That day, she stood like that - gazing on the ceiling without uttering a word or showing up her glittering smile.
The very next morning, dr. shukla arrived for her routine checkup along with a couple of nurses, who offered a smile at her. She just gave a wry smile in return.
"We have got the blood for you. But since there are three bottles, so it will take time. You will be operated tomorrow." he informed.
The nurse put on another injection on her left wrist, from where, the blood droplets made their way to her veins. It was hurting her a bit more as compared to the glucose water. She complained the same.
"Yeah blood is a little heavier than water that's why." the nurse explained and left after that.
Aditi was surprised to see that. Surely, the pain wasn't allowing her to rest her head on the pillow. However, she was happy that at least she wasn't going to lose herself so soon. However, she had no idea about how the blood was arranged. And so was her mother. The doctor refused to tell them anything. But then, Aditi was too stubborn to let it go like that. She was trying to count all the names in her list who could arrange the blood of her group. Lots of names were popping up but she had no idea who was the real helping hand.
"Aditi you stay here. I am coming in ten minutes after getting something for you." her mom said and left.
It wasn't much cold as it was the start of March. But Aditi felt cold as she was trying to cover her body with the bed sheet. As she wasn't able to lift her right hand since it was injected, she was pulling the bed sheet from her left hand but she wasn't able to do that.
Moments later, she felt another pair of hands doing that for her. She looked up.
"Papa? How come... you. Here?" she was surprised to see her father as her eyes fell on him. She wasn't expecting him there at all. She wasn't aware whether he knew about her illness or not. They hardly shared anything. Yes, earlier, she did blabbered things but as she grew up, she distanced herself from him. It was only limited to morning greetings and disclosing the results of her final exams. That’s it.
"You both don't even consider me worth sharing this? That you are having a tumor for the second time? And... And you needed blood? And you could..." he fumbled and put his eyes down. Though, Aditi could clearly saw tears in his eyes. But then, she wasn't able to believe if he was crying because of her. Men don't cry like that. She knew.
Did he love her for real? How come he got to know about her being not well? And was he around the hospital since she was here? And if he was, then why wasn't he with her? And this means, he has arranged blood for her! Her mind screamed.
"You arranged blood...? For... me?" she asked. Her voice quivering.
"Yes. Your nanu told me everything last evening. After hearing about you, i contacted every single person who could donate his blood. Your blood group is rare and no one had it. So, we borrowed it from the blood bank after donating ours." he explained.
Aditi was still processing whatever her father was pouring out. She still was confused if it was really him or her eyes were fooling herself.
"Now you will be fine. Don’t worry." he said, taking her hands in his, rubbing the palms genuinely.
It was at that moment, when she felt that her cheeks were wet because of tears. Her father... he was finally there for her. The best gift she could ever ask for. It was then, that she got to know that she always had him. That, he cared for her. How couldn't he? She was his blood; a part of him. It was right then, that all her pain disappeared.
"Where is your mom?" he asked after a few minutes.
"She is out to get some breakfast for me."
"Papa, can i ask you something?"
"You love me right? You do care about mum, i know. May be, you don't like showing and may be, you have your reasons to not talk to her. But, i know you feel for us. Then why can't we live together? Just like everyone else."
Aditi questioned and tried to get up from her bed for sitting. He supported her and adjusted the pillow behind her back.
"Yeah i am fine now. Answer me." she said again.
"Aditi, this can never happen. I don't love or care for anyone." he replied in the same manner he used to do before.
"I am not satisfied with your answer. You are lying."
He took a deep breath, as if, preparing himself to face something which he didn't want to.
"See, when two people are meant to be together, and then they will always be. You can't control anything, not even your life. It is controlled by someone else... someone, whom we call god. But then, we do have right over our life and we choose how and what we want to make of it. I didn't do any justice with my life. I did all the wrong things. And i never felt or apologized or tried to correct myself, even when, i could have done that very easily." he paused.
"At the time when i was married to your mom, i was totally spoilt. Your maternal father tried his best in helping me out of my drug addictions and many other things i can't tell you now. I ignored him. I thought everyone was against me. Then you were born. At that moment, i realized that you were a new life and i shouldn't affect you in any ways. So, i tried to distance myself from you. Also, i knew that your mother could bring you up all by herself as she had her parents and there was no role of mine. I am not giving explanations for running away from my responsibilities. But yes, i don’t deserve you."
"You are my father. You complete us papa." she spoke innocently.
"No, i am not. Father’s don't run away."
"You didn't! Why can't we be a family now when we can solve things?"
"It is too late. And this isn't our time. May be, we were destined to be like this in this life. We will be a family someday... in another life. surely." he said.
“And yes, i want you to not feel sorry for using the surname you are using right now. It’s not mine; it's ours." he added and rushed out of the room without waving or looking in her direction.