(This is a work of fiction.)
It had been six months that Nina’s dad had been admitted to the hospital. Diagnosed with cancer some nine months ago, multiple surgeries and therapies were the sole reason why he was living on the verge of his life. The hospital ward had become their new home. Two of Nina’s elder brothers had returned from the States to take care of the family. Standing everyday, waiting in the line for medical assistance and walking down the gray corridors had become a regular routine for her mother.
The strong smell of acid had no effect on her nose anymore. Nina in particular hated hospitals. There was another ultimatum waiting for her family. The surgeons had consulted them for treatment in a better hospital, perhaps the States. A few bits of money could buy life it seemed to her, or the moments in it. One of her brothers was already in talks to get the transfer done in two weeks time to the States.
Once a very strong adherent to smoking Nina’s father had contracted cancer from his habits, the doctors believed.
‘There’s no cure to cancer,’ thought a poignant Nina.
She often wondered why. These questions tormented her like no other. She thought if her brothers thought the same, asked the same questions. If medical science could answer these question pondered upon by many every moment; the answer lied in the waiting.
Nina attended school regularly, not missing a single day amidst the darkening realities of her life. Her parents believed the whirlwinds in the lives should not affect her future, at least not academically. Almost everyday she returned to the big white hospital, the acidic smell of the medicines, disinfectants.
A very disturbed Nina came back that day, talking long steps and walking as fast as she could. The forbearance in her heart had broken down. The masquerade of happiness was over, consumed by the darkness of the reality that lay in front of her like undefeatable feats.
Her feet stopped in front of 203, the room her father had been admitted into, their temporary home. She opened the door to see the known faces, connected by blood and hope.
‘You’re the only reason we’re here,’ she screamed at the top of her voice.
The dismayed faces turned to look at her. Her brother tried to stop her. Behind those faces lay an unanswered question.
‘This is a hospital,’ commanded her brother.
‘I’m aware,’ she said.
An uncanny look on her face stopped her mother from dragging her out of the room. Her fingers pointed towards her father, a figure she had admired 15 years of her life, that could now disappear without any warning. This time no one tried to stop her. They wanted to hear.
‘You’re the reason,’ she said again, her voice softened by the realization.
‘Who told you to smoke your whole life?’ she demanded an answer. The faces lay stunned.
‘Is that a question you’re suppose to ask?’ exclaimed her mother.
‘The momentary smoke of yours has drowned us,’ Nina yelled.
The nurses had already come along to take her away. Her brothers helped her out, leaving the parents alone in their momentary silence. She tried to break them as they dragged her to the lawn. The passersby watched not able to comprehend the scene. She had asked questions that had no apparent answers.
A week had passed by since the incident. Nina was asked to see a psychologist to help her get over the grief before it got worse. Her consultant was a good natured person, who helped her relieve her pain and anger.
‘Life’s too short to be eliciting hatred,’ he said.
‘I just want answers,’ said poor Nina.
‘You can’t change what’s happened,’ he said. ‘People make momentary mistakes that lingers…’
‘I can’t believe,’ said she.
‘And only those who really love them take those mistakes and try to change it, even more live with them together,’ he added.
He could see a glimpse in her eyes, the uncanny look that anyone could distinguish. He smiled. The session was over for the day. She would see her new doctor in the next two days. Waiting outside was her brother. An unconventional look in his face was self evident. He was not happy with what had happened to her. She silently resented the fact that the strings of her tapestry were breaking apart one after another.
Her world was isolated. Anyone hardly talked at home. Lunch, dinners were all within the hospital walls. It was time again for her too look towards her meeting with the doctor again. Someone who could unlock all your secrets, it must be great, she often thought. But what about their secrets? Was there anyone who knew them, who had the keys to open the chest? She wondered.
‘How have you been?’ he asked in his soft voice.
‘Fine,’ she said, no color on her face.
‘Who do you think are survivors?’ she was taken aback by the unlikely question.
She paused for a moment. Her eyes searched for answers within the walls and the objects in it.
‘Some one who survives?’ she guessed.
‘You’re smart,’ he said. ‘There’s something about this word that draws the entire medical people….we’re all trying to survive, help others survive.’ He sighed.
‘But you’re not god, are you? I wish you were,’ she said in a shaky voice.
‘We’re not, and many things don’t have solution that people seek.’
‘Do you think sir I’ll survive?’ she questioned with a glint of hope.
‘Sure,’ he said with an uncharacteristic catch in his voice. ‘We have a lot of survivors here,’
‘Patients?’ she interrupted.
‘…patients too, but also the ones who stick by them radiating their energy,’
She too a long breath, he waited.
‘I cant really say if your father will make it or not, there are worse cases that do, and minor ones that don’t.’
‘Its unfair right?’ she questioned.
‘Sadly we can’t make it much fair either,’ he replied.
She looked down this time, searching for answers. She mustered all her courage.
‘I’ll survive,’ she said, her eyes shining.
‘That’s good news,’ he said.
She walked out of the clinic, this time confident than ever. She had found answers, her eyes radiated the joy of acceptance, the realization that everything could be gone in a fraction of seconds. They had a lot of survivors and she was going to be one, if needed. But she still wondered why there was no cure for cancer, if the doctors did not work hard enough to find the clues. But could that be, there wouldn’t be anyone who didn’t want answers and cure to the aliment. She thought as the vehicles passed by her making the usual noise. She thought harder if the magic hands that could solve the equation was stuck in some world consumed by poverty and war, what if there was someone who had the answers but could not speak, had no mean. She pondered.