"I am afraid, Diwakar, but you may be fired this time."
"But sir, I mean, can I please have one more chance to prove myself?"
"Look, nothing is in my hands but ok, if you insist I will talk to the MD. But I must say start looking for a different company."
"Don't do this to me sir, I have………"
That was day before yesterday. Diwakar couldn't believe what he was hearing then. Even today he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Always drive with a clear mind. But Diwakar didn't. And the result was in front of him.
Just few seconds ago his bike struck someone down. Though he was born in a jungle named human society, he still had certain human traits left in him. He picked the man up and drove to a nearby hospital.
After all the legal formalities, the man was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as per the doctor's instruction. Diwakar remembered what he had put inside his pocket and he reached out for it. It was the man's card, which had name - Samay Kapoor - along with a phone number.
So he rang up, but no one picked it up. He optimistically checked the phone directory but he didn't get anything out of it. Maybe it's a new connection, he thought.
Since there was no specific address on the card, apart from the street address, after a couple of hours he decided to go to a newspaper agency. Maybe someone will see the report and…. Anyways it wasn't my mistake; I am doing what I can… Oh God what is happening? Why me only?
It was exactly 7:30pm.
* * * * * *The loud noise of the big pendulum clock, kept in the hall of the hospital, woke up Mr.Diwakar Prasad, who had a real busy day yesterday. How can anyone like him have an easy day after causing an accident?
He was 28 years old, a bachelor, working in a local soap company and dutifully giving half of his income to his parents who were living in a small town in Maharashtra. He was a junior level sales employee and was going through a tough time in meeting the sales deadlines. Actually he was topping the list of candidates his boss had prepared. But he was not happy. The list was of those candidates who were to be fired within few days.
I should resign before I am fired. No, no, how can I? I have nowhere to go. I must beg for another chance. His mind was in a complete state of hodge-podge.
It was 11:00am. Diwakar was feeling very sleepy. First the office mess and now this, he thought, something is up against me… but why?
Diwakar had given the news to his journalist friend yesterday and felt happy to see it in the papers. The amount of sleep one has is quite proportional with how much relieved one is. While reading the newspaper he dozed off. Samay was lying unconscious in the ICU. He was fighting death through no fault of his.
At 1:10pm Diwakar opened his eyes. He had to. He was hearing loud cries coming from the corner of the first room on the floor. Someone had just finished his role and left. To get another role on the basis of his perfomance, probably. But without appreciating his last perfomance every one cried! He thought of the accident and how he brought the person to the hospital.
Samay, Samay Kapoor, he thought. It's strange how one minute can save your life and another, can take it! Everything has two faces in this world he thought, be it a coin, time, life or… people.
With all these thoughts his sense of relief was evaporating. His lungs started gasping for fresh air. He went outside the hospital, towards a tea stall. He came back, sat on a chair near the reception.
He started thinking of the dreams he stitched, when he was a child. Dreams of having his own house, living luxuriously, making his parents proud of himself. Still they were very distant from reality.
Though he worked honestly for long hours in the firm but his salary was not that much with which he could change his dreams into reality. But his parents had always taught him to be satisfied by whatever God had given. But why doesn't He give everything to everyone? Why? I have to save my job this time but…
Suddenly he heard a voice, 'Samay Kapoor?' He saw a man of around his age asking the receptionist about Samay Kapoor. He literally jumped towards that man and introduced himself. The man introduced himself as Sudhir Gupta, a struggling laywer by profession. Always struggling to make 'good' win over 'evil'!
Both went upstairs and reached the ICU. No one was allowed inside. So they had to satisfy themselves looking through the small glass opening. Sudhir could only see Samay's hair and shoulders. They turned and had a seat near the room.
With a French-cut and a strong well-built figure, Sudhir, did not look like a person who would cry in front of everyone but still, he wiped his tears.
Oh that thing called 'tears'.
God has given us an eternal friend who may or may not stay with us in the moments of joy but it is there always in times of sorrow and need. Our tears.
When no one supports us, no us encourages us, when we are all alone with no one around us to empathize, these tears come out, they come through us. They come for us. They stabilize us and make our determination more concrete! They show us how to cope with situations and more importantly how to move on in life. They never allow us to get stagnated.
* * * * * *Diwakar was always a chirpy kind of a person but even he was not able to initiate anything. When the silence was about to transform into 'eternity' Sudhir broke it. How did it all happen?' he asked Diwakar. He told him the entire episode.
Diwakar inquired about Samay. Sudhir told him that Samay only had his parents. Other than that he didn't have any relative of any kind. But he had a more precious relationship than relatives, he had friends. He said they are a group of five friends, including him.
He had already informed rest of their friends but did not inform Samay's parents. Both of them are heart patients and might not take the news lightly.
Diwakar turned around. He saw a man, probably in his late twenties, looking for someone. Sudhir waved his hand to him. He started walking faster towards them. As soon as he came he hugged him and asked about Samay. Then he saw him through that glass opening too.
Sudhir introduced him to Diwakar. His name was Suraj Raut and he ran a small business of car parts. After the irrelevant introduction he turned towards Sudhir and said, "Piyush's mother is seriously ill. He is not coming." Maybe Piyush is one of their friends, Diwakar thought.
Suraj looked at Diwakar and said, "Samay was never punctual. He received scoldings from all of us for being late for everything. But I never thought that he would be the first one to part us. Why has he become so extra punctual all of a sudden?" He took a deep sigh.
Meanwhile Sudhir walked towards a nearby window and started admiring the sky as if the sky was made today. He watched the birds flying. Why has God given only humans the emotion of crying when someone dear dies? Why has He given the human heart a dual task of beating as well as feeling the pain when death comes knocking?
* * * * * *No matter what happens to whom on this Earth it was, it is and it will keep rotating. As a result of which it was evening now.
The doctor had checked Samay five times but did not say anything new except that he had to be kept in the ICU for the time being. Diwakar had experienced tough days before but he never witnessed days where a single minute, a single hour would seem like eternity.
He coaxed himself and thought all this happened because of him. He was really cross with himself. His father's words started ringing in his head; his father's words last week when he had called him.
"Life is an enigma. First it attracts you with all the tempting things it has to offer and when you run behind them to fetch those things, it throws you in a quicksand from where it's just next to impossible to get back to solid ground", his father had told him.
Time had to pass and now it was exactly 8.30pm.
"Nirvan would be coming tomorrow from Delhi." Suraj said to Sudhir, as he came back from the reception inquiring about their dinner prospects in the hospital. It was more of an announcement.
"He called you?"
"Yeah, he did."
Nirvan was also one of there friends, a young ambitious journalist.
Turning towards Diwakar, Suraj said, "There is no provision for dinner for visitors here. I have found a nearby motel where we can find food at a reasonable cost. Do you mind joining both of us for dinner there?"
The last line spoken was a perfect example of an unclear mind, something that comes when you do not know a person well enough.
"Sure", said Diwakar and off they went leaving the ward boy behind, who was to look after the patient.
* * * * * *"Cigarette?"asked Suraj.
"No thanks", replied Divakar.
Though he smoked a lot there was something in the air that made him turn down the request. Perhaps not in the air but something in his mind.
The three of them had just had their dinner. They were walking towards the hospital.
"I m really sorry for all this mess", Diwakar said, with a sense of realization.
Sudhir said, "Why are you looking at it that way? We are thankful to you that you at least brought him to the hospital. Who does that sort of a thing these days? You could have easily gone away but you didn't, you didn't run away. That's more important."
"It was just an accident. We do understand your position. Lets pray that Samay gets well. That's all we want", Suraj poured in.
Their talk did have a calming effect on Diwakar. But it also shifted his attention towards something, which he was thinking about non-stop all these hours except for the last few. I am getting fired. No I am resigning. No, not again! Best thing would be to resign before the boss fires me.
But hey, wasn't I running away this time? Wasn't I giving up? What he did with Samay he can do it with his job also. Without running away, just do what was expected of him.
The next moment another thought crossed his mind. He thought he was unnecessarily mixing up two different situations. I have to resign. That's it. Its final. But what will he do after leaving the job, what will he say to his parents? And then there were his dreams as well.
It was 11:10 at night. Sudhir was sitting outside the ICU staring at the ceiling. Suraj was chatting with the receptionist. Diwakar was standing in front of a window whose view engulfed a huge vision. It was pitch dark outside. Everyone nearby had gone to sleep. It was so dark outside, as if no one there ever knew what 'awakening' was all about!
Diwakar was thinking. Thinking is a gift of life. He was thinking about the accident, his job, the resignation, his parents, and his dreams. As if he wanted to think everything that very moment only. He was feeling a fight, a stir of blood within himself, which he never experienced before. He was supposed to resign before he was fired. Then he would find another job.
But now there was a fog engulfing his thoughts. There was a feeling of resilience within himself. Consciously he wanted to ignore these thoughts and go for what he had decided before but unconsciously he was getting attached to these resilient thoughts. He stopped looking at the darkness outside and went up towards the ICU.
He had a look through the glass opening. Earlier he saw Samay fighting death but now he was not there! He couldn't believe his eyes. Samay was not there. He wasn't there fighting 'death'; he was there fighting 'life'.
Diwakar was amazed. He didn't believe his sight. What the heck is going on? Something is up against me. Was he seeing the same thing?
He was seeing the same thing but this time he was seeing it differently. Something changed within him and that too without his consent! He thought, he was not resigning his job but in a way he was resigning to life as well.
If someone could fight life in an ICU then why can't he fight life outside it?
Something was happening to him. He was feeling it in his heart, in his mind, his blood, body and soul.
He went to the washroom, washed his face and came back. Peeped outside the window again. The outside wasn't that dark now, at least not for him. His dreams, his problems, everything was same, except for one thing, his thinking. Thinking, the gift of life! Everything around him was making a different kind of appeal to him or maybe the right kind of appeal. He sat on a chair and fixed his eyes on the open floor.
* * * * * *There was noise all around. Diwakar woke up, startled. He came back after washing his face, looked at his watch. It was 7:15am. He saw Suraj talking to the doctor. Sudhir was no were in the vicinity. Suddenly out of nowhere he turned up with two cups of tea.
"Here, this one is for you", he said as he handed Diwakar one of the two hot cups of tea. Suraj soon joined them and took the other cup.
"I just had it", Sudhir told both of them though no one asked. Diwakar inquired about Samay.
"Good news friends", Suraj said. "Samay has responded well and now he is out of danger. He will be shifted to a cabin."
Sudhir turned towards Diwakar and said, "If you want you can leave, he is out of danger. Our friend Nirvan will be coming today. Three of us will be able to take good care of him."
"Alright, as you wish", Divakar said, skeptically.
When he turned to go, Suraj stopped him and said, "Thanks for bringing him to the hospital, thanks a lot."
"That was my duty", Diwakar said being a touch embarrassed. He left. He didn't decide what he should be doing. Though his heart knew what to do but wasn't brave enough to propose it to his mind. "In any situation, my son, our heart should always rule our mind", his father had once told him.
He went straight to his office and typed a letter. It was not a resignation letter; it was an apology letter for not meeting the sales deadline, taking the entire blame on himself. He asked for one more chance from his boss, to prove himself. Just one more chance, one more opportunity.
Opportunities of life are like tourists going to a hotel. If they don't find a room there they go away and seldom return to that hotel. This time God was happy with him, so he thought, or maybe God was happy with his thought; the thought of fighting 'life'.
Never the less Divakar got what he wanted from his boss, a chance, an opportunity. He went to the office and what happened there didn't allow him to sleep at night. Actually he got what he wanted. An opportunity. How can I sleep now? He needed to plan since something was up for him.
* * * * * *Meanwhile the earth kept rotating, day in and day out. Now it had grown older by twenty-three more years.
Somewhere in Manchester.
"Great shot sir!" Jack cried.
" So what do you think of this game, Jack?" Diwakar asked.
"You mean the game of pool?"
"Oh it's an amazing game. I love it. What about you sir?"
"Well even I like the game. Not because it's amazing but it actually represents the rule of life". " And what is that?"
"You should always know that every strike is an opportunity. An opportunity that would take you closer to victory. Remember when to strike, where to strike and most importantly how to strike actually determines your position in the game and in a way in life as well."
"Amazing sir. Not the game but you."
"Have a nice day Jack."
Diwakar left the recreation room and now was heading towards his cabin. DIWAKAR PRASAD, COO was written on the door which he pushed opened. He sat on his chair with a cigar between the two fingers of his right hand, a nice suit, and a laptop in front of him showing all sorts of business analysis reports on the screen - he even had quite a few grey hairs on his head. In this regard he was yet again thankful to God, as whenever he looked at the mirror he thought grey hairs are better than none!
He had become the COO of the same soap company he had joined as a sales employee. Back then it was just a local company but now it had widened its wings. Ironically so did Diwakar.
In these twenty-three years he not only widened his wings but also traversed quite a lot of the sky, alone. There are two ways of facing one's desiny. Either by acceptance or by resilience, his father had told him. For him the former way was the worst and the later, the best.
Diwakar was in a retrospective mood. Thoughts of the accident were hovering. Its as if everything works on the concept of chain reaction. He had never met those people again. Not even heard of them anywhere. Did they ever exist? Who knows?
All these years he had worked hard. Awards, rewards, accolades, and success he earned everything. And here he was today thinking, thinking the gift of life. He was thinking about Samay, the person who taught him to fight 'life'.
The depth of his thinking was constantly changing the design of his eyebrows. Samay did recover, he thought, but what about him? He died that day. His old self died that day. He met someone else within himself that day. That 'someone else' had ruled his life ever after. He relaxed, thinking that even if he died that day, he started to 'live' ever since.
Copyright © 2005 Novoneel Chakraborty
Visit Novoneel's blog at http://nbconline.blogspot.com/