Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mazes

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'

The computer monitor cast a glow across Sandhya’s cheeks as she tilted her head to look at her jottings before proceeding to enter the data into the system. She stopped for a second and glanced at the panel next to her desk to confirm that the night arrangement of lights had been turned on.

As she opened her bottle to take a sip of water, her mother’s words from the evening phone call replayed in her mind. Siddharth wanted to take up extra coaching for his board exams.  She wiped her lips with her fingers and thought ‘The bonus should come next week, Appa. Please make it happen’

A beep and a flicker on the call-for-assistance panel indicated  Bed 3. ‘I will check’ Sandhya gestured to her colleague and proceeded to the cabin, her white shoes making soft noises against the cold hospital floor.

Bed No 3 at the Intensive Care Unit of Bharadwaj Hospital was occupied by Divya, aged fourteen. The last thing she remembered was walking back home from school on Friday. Her science project had been selected for display at the Inter school meet and she had been eagerly looking forward to sharing the news with her parents. Divya could faintly recollect the speeding van, screeching of tyres, blaring of horns and being thrown into the air. When she opened her eyes she was in the hospital bed. The casts on her legs were very heavy and a weird looking instrument prevented her from turning her face to any side. ‘Urinary….urinary tube…hurts aunty’ Divya uttered in a feeble voice. Sandhya gently lifted her hospital gown, readjusted the position of the tube and said in a soft tone ‘It should be ok now, sweetheart.’

After giving her a benevolent smile, Sandhya proceeded to bed no 6. Mr Krishnan’s eyes were wide open, unperturbed by the tubes that made their way into his body through his mouth and nostrils. Four days ago, he had been sitting in his rocking chair on the balcony of his two bedroom flat, observing the vehicles that endlessly cluttered at the traffic signal below. It was his first evening after retirement. Moments in his thirty five years of service zoomed past in flashes. He had toiled all along and every rupee he earned always had a need even before it reached his pocket – his brother’s education, his father’s debts, marriages of his sisters, his housing loan, expenses for his children; He reminisced how selfless his wife Sharadha had been. A feeling of intense love and affection crept through his mind as he thought of her and he promised himself that he would spend the rest of his retired life entirely with her and for her, fulfilling her little wishes. Suddenly he became aware of a discomfort in his chest. What seemed to be a minor throb gradually evolved into a sharp pain. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead as he started gasping for breath.’Sha…r..adha’ his voice trailed off and he collapsed.

‘Unable to sleep Mr.Krishnan?’ Sandhya enquired as she checked his intravenous drip to verify the flow.   Despite the high dosages of drugs that were administered to his body, he could not get any sleep especially at night. With the ventilator depriving him of speech, he could only silently observe his surroundings – which held nothing save the equipment connected to his body and a wall clock. He mutely followed the minute and the hour hands as they chased each other, simultaneously pleading with his body and mind to drift into sleep. He would storm through a myriad of thoughts; throught the past- glorious days, happy occasions, memorable moments, family quarrels, arguments, deaths, a few insignificant moments and then through the future - worries about his health and his family. He would look at the clock expecting a huge change while he was rummaging through the scenes in his mind. Only ten minutes would have passed. His boredom and loneliness seemed to torture him more than his physical predicament. His only solace was the half-an-hour visitors time every evening when his family came to see him.

As Sandhya walked back to her seat she lifted the curtains outside cabin 6 and took a peak inside. Dilip Chandran was sleeping soundly, his chest rising and falling in a rhythmic pattern. He  had been brought that morning in a very critical condition. His business ventures had gone totally haywire and he was immersed neck-deep in an ocean of debt. Seeing no means to recover the lost money and repay his loans, the only route he fathomed to escape from his moneylenders and their henchmen was to end his life. He had consumed poison. The emergency unit at Bharadwaj had spent three toiling hours to rescue him from the fatal claws of death.

Sandhya returned to her seat. “Who are these people?” she brooded, “They would have had no knowledge about the mere existence of one another so far. Today they have huddled together here within these white walls; Should I call it destiny?Each of a different age and from varied walks of life bound together in their common struggle; A fight against the odds for survival ;A fight for life; Each clinging on tight to an invisible rope – Hope!”

She closed her eyes and started reciting some verses in an inaudible tone. “Om Namo Bhagavathe” – Dhanvantri(God Of Medicine) slogam(hymn) that Appa had taught her  as a kid. As a nurse she did all she was taught and was supposed to. The prayer was an additional effort from her end as a human being, a practise she had stuck on to from day one. She believed that it helped, that it made a difference, though miniscule, in their route to recovery.

Like a reflection in water struck by a stone, the scene around her at the ICU began to vaporize. Divya, Krishnan, Dilip – they all disappeared one after another.
Darkness crept in. A blue hue engulfed her entire vision. She heard a hysterical voice, very feeble and distant.

“Siddhu, Look! Can you see that Siddhu? Her lips are moving, she is saying something. ” It was a woman’s voice muffled by sobs.

“Yes ma, yes.  We will get Sandhya back ma, I promise” a man’s voice followed.

Dr.Siddharth held his mother tightly, as tears streamed down the woman’s face. He looked at his sister’s frail body nested in the white frame of the hospital bed. Sandhya was in a coma. He desperately longed for the day when he would see her again the way she was – confident yet kind, fun-loving yet level-headed, soft yet strong. So far,there had been absolutely no response from her. Today for the first time in two months she was showing some signs. As the faint green glow from her monitoring equipment caressed her face, she was reciting a prayer; A prayer for the strangers in the night in the mazes of her sub conscious mind.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: C.Suresh, Participation Count: 4

86 comments:

  1. I was confused a bit initially... But reading it for the second time made the story as clear as crystal... A pure story... And this topic by blogadda has proved to give out some touching stories from great bloggers like you! Excellent one! Kudoss!!!

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    1. Thanks a lot Harikrishna. Its a contest at Blogaton, not blogadda. You could check out the details at the Blogaton site :) and participate the next time may be :) (http://blogaton.in)

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  2. Interesting narrative. Initially it was a bit confusing though.

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    1. Thanks for the comment TF. May be because I wrote it with the plot in mind, it never crossed me that it could get a little confusing to the reader when I proofread it. In fact I had removed a few lines I had originally planned to make it less confusing :) Thanks anyways

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  3. Like the others, even I was a bit confused initially but things starting falling in place later.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Rachna. As Satish commented below, this probably required a little slow reading to notice the transition :) In future posts I will keep this in mind... :)

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  4. what a plot!Amazing :-), Though I was initally doubtful of who was lying in coma and who was the one checking on the other patients. Very Nicely written :-)

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    1. Thanks Ashwini. :) Glad that you liked the plot.

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  5. Loved it Jaish...very beautifully narrated....touching and heart shattering...

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    1. Thanks a ton Me. I am yet to read all your lovely posts published this weekend. Shall do soon.

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  6. hey that was a knock at the doors of heart :) and opened...
    may be a slow reader like me would not land in any confusion :)

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    1. Thank you so much Satish. Your comment made my day :)

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  7. was interesting. :) But honestly felt that the ending's cliche -

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    1. Hmm...Thats why I reduced the amount of description there. Did not want to have a cliched end . May be could have done away with the dialogue!

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  8. Uff! Jaish that was not expected. Sandhya in coma, still she recites a prayer which she used to for that Strangers in the Night! I wish she should be back home soon :) Wonderful narration and a heart touching beautiful story! Keep it up.. Good Luck!

    Someone is Special

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    1. Thanks SIS. :) Glad that you liked the post :) Thanks a lot for that encouraging comment

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  9. very well written jaish , superbly narrated ..kudos :D :D

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  10. ..interesting..gripping..very well treated, Jaish! All the best:)

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  11. Brilliant writing Jaish! Such an imaginative plot and so well narrated. Best of luck:)

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    1. Thank you Rahul . Glad that you liked it :)

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  12. Nicely written. I am sure this will have a happy ending and she will be back form coma.

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  13. Jaish, The last part is the BEST....that was lovely, after years of turmoil, hope she finally finds peace within herself. Very hard hitting, but so true. Life need not always be so rosy-rosy!!
    Immaculate narration...

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    1. Hi Panchali

      You have always been very generous with your words of praise. Always makes me elated and happy. Thank you so much :)

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  14. Very touchy scenario built up. A really engrossing pendown.

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  15. wow , what an effortless writing.
    best of luck for bat

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    1. Thank you Rahul and wish you the same.

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  16. Destiny, strangers, meetings, bondings, separations... all these are jigsaw pieces that complete the very puzzle of life itself. The character of Sandhya is very well etched and I love the twists that you give out in the end! Superb writings, Jaish!

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    1. You summarized it very well Arti. Thanks for stepping in.

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  17. i have goosflesh after reading this a fab read i must say :)

    all the best for BAT :)

    if you have time do visit
    Strangers in the night

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    1. Thank you so much Richa. Will definitely read your post. :)

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  18. Woow...nice narration and i really liked your last sentence " As the faint green glow from her monitoring equipment caressed her face, she was reciting a prayer; A prayer for the strangers in the night in the mazes of her sub conscious mind"...
    All the best for BAT 31 Jaish !!!

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  19. Nice write up lady! Slight gaps in our understanding as we had to comprehend the unexpected :)

    Love your writes as always!!

    Do stop by my blog! Kappu

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    1. Thanks dear Kappu. Yet to read yours...Will do so soon.

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  20. Hi Jaishree,

    This was brilliant :)
    In the writer's mind does Sandhya manage to arise?
    Do visit my blog - www.vincimax.blogspot.com

    Thanks,
    Mahesh

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  21. God Jaish, how do you do it? I must admit, like the others I was initially confused as well. Had to read the ending again to understand the link. I am not a very religious person, but I like how you interspersed the shlokas in there. When nothing else seems to help, most would turn to Him. As always, nicely done!

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    1. Thank you Deepa. Hmm, I am beginning to wonder if the confusion here is ok or its something I need to really concentrate upon :D Thank you again for the comment.

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  22. the protagonist here is such a giver...very few found these days...very beautifully written
    ATB for BAT :)
    i could not participate...but u can see my post here
    Karan - Strangers in the Night

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    1. Yes I agree. Very few selfless givers in the world today.

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  23. This was a nice topic to choose--who knows what thoughts crowd the mind of a person who is in coma.

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    1. Yes Indu . No one can tell that . Even those in one I doubt if they would recollect it once they are out of it ! Thanks for the comment :)

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  24. This was brilliant Jayashree! One of your best so far!!

    Best wishes!!

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    1. Thank you very much Deepak . Had not got any comments since morning . This one made my day :D thanks a ton !

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  25. As many have already made you aware of the flaws, the only thing I have to say is : I liked the plot!

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    1. Hi Diwakar

      Thanks for the comment . Glad that u liked the plot . As for the flaws I am still trying to figure out where the confusion had crept in . am still learning anyways :D

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    2. yes, all of us do the same. If I read something I wrote years ago, I feel like prining them and tearing off those printed words..don't mind! that's my feeling.

      And, you write good. Just write more of it. You will surely be able to amaze me someday!

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    3. Hi Diwakar

      I am assuming that was not the feeling u got on reading this one :D (printing & tearing ! ) ha ha thanks for stepping in again :)

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  26. Very different plot and beautifully penned down story..


    Heartfelt thanks for visiting my space and adding colors of encouragement with your words...keep adding them more n more... :)

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    1. Same here Odyzz :) thanks for visiting and for the comment :)

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  27. One of the best posts I have read this BAT. The character you built out of Sandhya is very nice, caring, and strong.

    The part about saying a prayer for others... which in turn brings herself into some sort of consciousness is very beautiful. Oh! I think I loved your post.

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  28. Having read some of the comments, I am a bit confused about the 'flaw' people are talking about. I thought it flowed well.

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    1. And now that I went back and read again, I think there is no flaw. No confusion. it's all clear from my end :) Haha. but a great post Jaish. Sorry for cluttering the comments section.

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    2. Hi Kshitij

      You have left such lovely encouraging comments....How would I take it as 'cluttering' the comments section?

      Thank you Thank you Thank you :D So many of them coz thats how elated I feel after reading your re-assuring words :)

      As I mentioned earlier on seeing the mixed reaction in the comments, I was not sure if the writing style was flawed or whether it required a little more patient reading.

      Having said that every person writing will definitely have a lot of areas to improve and I am taking all those comments as stepping stones for my betterment. :D
      I am so glad that you found this post worthy of such detailed comments! Thanks again :)

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  29. Was confused initially. Had to go back to start to get it. Nice plot :) ATB for BAT 31

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  30. Jaish, didn't understand anything at the end. After seeing a couple of comments, I went back and scanned for a 2nd read and then it was clear...dumbo me...:) you write stories well.

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    1. Thanks FiF . So the good thing about the confusion is that everyone read it twice :) ha ha . Thanks for the comment dear

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  31. wow, now this is a heart stealer! indeed touching :)

    best wishes

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  32. Found in folsom told me abt this post. Good of her or else I would have missed such a wonderful post. Enjoyed it :)Very well woven

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading and for the comment Bhagyashree . And thanks a ton to FiF too :)

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  33. That is a touching story to say the least.

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  34. Gripping narration and touchy ending. Loved reading this :-)

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  35. Gripping as always, Jaish. I have one more story to catch up with. Shall come by tomorrow. I'll get into trouble if I don't hit bed now ;).

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  36. Me being a doctor and a self-confessed writer could not have come up with such an elaborate and emotional account of the ICU.
    well done.
    ratika

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