Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Love Story: Same Feeling, A Decade Apart

We met in a hospital ward. When I looked into his eyes, there was a spark; it lighted up every inch of my being. When we met again ten year later, from that little spark there burst a flame.

I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised, to hear the same voice and see the same eyes
I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised, to hear the same voice and see the same eyes Shutterstock

I was sitting in the hospital ward, crying profusely and inconsolably. It was not just any ward, but the one meant for angioplasty for heart patients. My dad had been diagnosed with 95 per cent artery blockage. Dullness and scare all around me, I sat there contemplating, trying to make sense of what all this would hold in future for my dad. Will he be able to come through all this or…? In that moment of despair, I saw a tall, lean figure standing next to me. His body language exuded concern and sympathy for me as I cried uncontrollably. He waited patiently and then introduced himself as my dad’s consulting doctor — a heart specialist with great credentials, needless to say, in the most premier hospital of Delhi. I did not know what struck me, but I just looked up at him and it was like I could see deep down within his soul through his blank and tired eyes. Though this feeling was just for a fleeting moment, it stayed with me forever. After all, I was too preoccupied with my dad’s illness to be able to grasp anything deeper at that instant.

As my dad was shifted to a private ward in the hospital for post-surgery care, I had to travel daily to the hospital and it had become a part of my everyday routine. I would sit next to him, feed him, talk to him, make him exercise a little and try to pep him up. Amidst all this, I never realised when I started making deliberate attempts to be there at the time the doctor was going to be on his daily rounds. I would wait till he would come and check on my father’s health. Since he was prompt and punctual, most of the days I would be able to meet him. I would be very well prepared with all possible questions he might ask. I did not want to look like a fool in front of this intelligent young doctor. But when he would start with the feedback, I would go blank. Sometimes, his words just slipped off my ears. Sometimes, they would just keep ringing in. Perhaps I was too thrilled and nervous to see him. Words would just stay frozen within me. I remember how I would try to shake off this inertia and try to answer him with all my alertness and right choices of words. After he would leave, I would keep thinking about the exact words that he had spoken and the answers I had given him. No matter how much I tried, I would never be able to recall everything that happened in those 10 minutes we would meet every day. It was like a priceless moment for me. And my endless wait for the next day would begin right then.

One day, I was too engrossed in discussing some financial issues with my father to realise that someone had already entered our room. As I turned around, I saw the doctor standing right behind me, just looking on. Probably, he did not want to disturb me. Probably, he just wanted to be there with me. In that moment, I gathered all my courage to look straight into his eyes. And there it was: A spark. A spark I had been waiting to see all these days. It was as if he was intently listening to me. Maybe, he was just looking at me. I was instantaneously bowled over. Even after he had left, I just could not believe what I had just experienced. It just lightened up every inch of my skin. It was like sparkles falling all over me. Joy and happiness filled my heart and soul.


To tell the truth, somewhere deep down, I wanted my dad’s stay to get a little prolonged so I could continue to see him. And as God would have it, we did have to spend a little longer time there due to some post-operative care requirements. And the routine of seeing him everyday continued without any break. But the day to leave finally came and it was really heart-breaking for me. Obviously, I was full of gratitude for what he had done for my father. But I had completely failed to muster the courage to even convey an iota of my feelings towards him. No words were spoken, no gestures made, no feelings exchanged. And it looked like it was the end of the story.

As fate would have it, exactly a decade later, my father developed some heart complications and we had to rush him to the same hospital. And, again, as I sat there dejected, looking at a blank space, wondering what future had in store for us, I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised, to hear the same voice and see the same eyes. Unfortunately, due to the Covid protocol in place, I could not see his face, but there was an instant connection when our eyes met. I was too ecstatic and thrilled and once again the feelings for him came back to me in an instant. He too looked overjoyed to see me. Although it was a gap of ten long years, it was as if we had just met yesterday. It was a lovely feeling, a feeling that cannot be expressed in words.

I went home and looked myself in the mirror — grey hair and slightly puffy eyes showed off my age. ‘Will it be proper to message him? Have I surpassed the age for such teenaged behaviour?’ I asked myself. I did not know anything about him or his family. But this time I was sure that I did not want to go home feeling all dejected and heartbroken. I chose to send him a message. I did want to know if he, too, had any feelings for me. If he was also happy to see me after all these years. With baited breath, I waited to see his reply. And as soon as I came online there it was. A beautiful reply from him. I blushed. Probably, he too had been waiting to see me again.

(Pooja Kashyap is an artist trained in Kerala temple mural. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Amity University, Gurugram)