It was technically supposed to be our last date before we got married…to each other.
I had come on a short leave of about a week to buy everything that I could have needed to look “pretty” – shoes, shirts, suits, ties, some indo-westerns…what else?
Parul, on the contrary, had been shopping since the last eight months !
It was a pleasant October Monday morning in Chandigarh. I borrowed my friend’s car and like all good friends do, fell about a kilometer short of the nearest petrol pump and reached Parul’s PG an hour late.
She was still getting ready.
“So, what’s the plan?” I asked her as she sat on the pillion and her idyllic aroma overwhelmed my senses.
“Well, got an appointment at the boutique, need to pick up some sandals, your churidaar must be ready so we need to have a trial and…hmmm…let’s start moving first, I’ll tell you.”
I just loved the way she plans everything, leaves only the driving part to me…much easier !
“We need to see a friend of mine in Sector 21. Won’t take much longer and then we’ll move for lunch, OK?” she said after a couple of hours of shopping. We drove to Sector 21 and stopped in front a big red-bricked house.
“Healthy Happy Smiles Clinic” the board adjacent to the gate read. I had my sixth sense playing rugby inside my gut. Parul’s “friend” was a dentist – a lady dentist and I knew what was incoming for me but kept on hoping against hope.
“So, shall we have a look?” the dentist-cum-friend asked after the courteous congratulatory talk. Parul had a smile on her face as she looked at me. We let our eyes do the talking for a while.
“You should have told me.”
“Then you won’t have come.”
“I feel embarrassed….so embarrassed !”
“Don’t worry, it’s just a treatment. A quick sitting and you know you need it.”
“But a lady dentist ? And that too your friend ?”
“She’s giving us discount !” her eyes gleamed.
…and I lost another argument !
I needed a root canal treatment for my left upper molar, scaling and filling for some of them and detailed advisory for likely gingivitis i.e. bleeding gums.
“Oral hygiene is not genetics that “if my mother had bad teeth, I am also born to have those” or “my bad breath resembles my father’s”. Oral hygiene is a practice one must understand and adhere to. The thing with oral hygiene is that it won’t show alarming signs when things are in the process of deterioration, but the unbearable pinch would come when things would’ve gone overboard,” the friendly-dentist explained to me.
“We don’t realize how much we put our oral system through every day. It’s a continuously working system and if we introspect how much we put behind the maintenance part, most of us would not be acknowledging the hardwork it does.” She sounded so right.
“Brushing your teeth twice daily with a good toothpaste like Colgate Total, rinsing your mouth after meals preferably with a good mouthwash and believing that you need to regularly see a dentist to have an expert opinion and likely treatment are some simple basic rules to follow towards a good oral hygiene.” The only thing left for me to say was “Thank You so very much.”
“Do I have bad breath ?” I asked Parul as I received my complimentary ice cream after the visit to the dentist.
“Nope,” she replied. “You smell good enough for me to decide getting married to you. I just don’t want you to keep your fake teeth on the bedside next to my photo after, say, fifty years. Let there be only turn-ons and no turn-offs between us!”
The plan sounded good enough and worth having some time dedicated for my oral hygiene. Afterall, it’s a short life and lots of love to make.
Healthy Happy Smiles to you all !
He was hardly breathing when we reached our medical aid post. Youngest in our team, Sepoy Rajender volunteered to be the Scout number two of our leading platoon that night.
No matter how hard you train, the very instance it happens, you can never predetermine how your body and emotions would react. Everything happened so fast that night. It started with the initiation of a trip flare and ended up with us overwhelming and bringing down two insurgents. Sepoy Rajender received a bullet wound that grazed his neck opening a big gash. The nursing assistant did whatever he could and we carried Rajender’s body five miles across the jungle to reach the nearest helipad. It was a long night.
I woke up in the middle of night with an excruciating amount of pain slashing inside my left wrist. I felt as if I dreamt of the bleeding body of Rajender and that it woke me up. But no, it was not the reality or the guilt. It was plain and simple pain. It started the night we got ambushed. While taking cover, I fell hard on my left hand. It was numb when I lifted Rajender for five miles. It was numb every now and then after that incident. Perhaps, it was the curse which I had to live with. Perhaps, it was my sacrifice.
But for me – this pain had a name. My condition of numbness in my fingers and lingering pain in the wrist was diagnosed as “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”. What had really caused it was never a reason for me to find. A decorated soldier with nothing more to prove, I had the option to call it a day and go for a table job at staff headquarters. But I had a debt – a debt I can only pay in the field.
When I checked in at the Apollo Hospital, Delhi I was told that the reason for the numbness, sometimes burning sensation and pain was due to the median nerve getting compressed at the wrist.
The doctor had the Durkan test and the Phalen’s maneuver performed in the next two days. On a scale of ten my condition was kissing seven. I was oriented with my condition in a detailed sitting and politely informed that due to the quantifiable confirmation of median nerve de-nervation an early surgery was recommended.
Surgeries and the poignant pessimism of the human mind !
It was my call. The carpal tunnel surgery was performed under local anesthesia by a team of three doctors. I was awake throughout the procedure and it took exactly twenty five minutes before I was rolled out of the operation theatre. Wide awake.
After eight weeks of physiotherapy and a couple of visits back at the Apollo, I went back to my battalion in the field area. The very first person to come and greet me was Sepoy Rajender of my platoon.
Whatever happens in life, it always encourages making you stronger. But there would always be instances where you would look back and thank a couple of hardworking people who made the difference.
I am a soldier…and I owe a lot to an institution known as Apollo Hospitals.
(This story is my entry for “How does Modern Healthcare touch lives?” contest.
Click http://www.apollohospitals.com/cutting-edge.php for more info)
As the cold winter night approached, the gruesome battle between the two armies came to an end. Battered bodies of hundreds of soldiers lying everywhere. Some still breathing and some long dead.
A young soldier – badly wounded and profusely bleeding was searching for something in his torn pockets with his broken hand. He took out a small silver bracelet with two little hearts – one blue and one pink – from his bullet ridden uniform.
The bracelet was given to him by his wife whom he had married just three months back before the war broke up. The young soldier kissed the bracelet and remembered her beautiful face. He was sad that perhaps he would never see her again.
Just then an angel appeared in front of him. The angel asked the young soldier, “You fought bravely as you had sworn. But you promised someone to come back too. How are you going to keep your promise now?”
The young soldier had no answer.
“I will give you a new life. You can go back to your wife and have a life you had promised her. But I need to take your soul with me. Your body and life would be spared. Do you want this, O! young soldier.”
“What would I do with a life without the only thing that completes my love, “replied the soldier. “I have loved my wife with my soul only.”
….and the young soldier closed his eyes…in peace…and still in love.
As you walk out of my dreams
Glowing like a new life, every time
I feel like the morning dew kissing your feet
You – my heartbeats’ twinkling shine
Walking on the aisle of my immortality
Draped in the aura of a sanctimonious chant
The love we make completes our prayers
One “forever” the Gods will surely grant
Tamanna had always found solace and a purpose in writing. It was not a mere hobby anymore. More than the art of writing it was the want of writing which used to motivate and guide her urge and skill to weave a subtle, bright and meaningful ensemble of words and thoughts.
Her blog was much appreciated as well. Her strenuous efforts of presenting the smallest of emotions in the most sincere and realistic manner had her readers falling in love with her every post.
Today, Tamanna felt weird and disappointed like never before. She had put her heart and soul in writing her first book – a delicacy of selected short stories which had already been highly appreciated and reviewed by on her blog. But inspite of all this and six months of knocking at the doors of many publishing houses, there was hardly any chance she was getting published.
Everything she had done for the past five years felt meaningless. Undesired. Unappreciated. All her writings felt of no use.
At that very moment, she saw a small butterfly flying effortlessly against the wind. That fragile creature had so much might in her gutsy wings that she was able to challenge the strong breeze that flew head on.
Tamanna had a smile on her face. She realized that it won’t matter how strong a hit you get, but if you know where you belong to and what lays inside your soul, nothing is impossible, nothing is the end and nothing would ever be against you.
Life has its own way to keep you hooked onto its blog !
I woke up in front a white painted wooden window. The bright white light filtering into the glazed verandah had a sudden but soothing effect.
In a while…I realized that it was time and I started walking.
It felt as if my consciousness knew where to take me. Slowly opening the door, I let myself in.
There she was – gracefully calm, glowing with élan and so beautiful – just the way she always had been.
I caressed her hair like the way I used to. She knew it was me.
She greeted me with a smile but didn’t open her eyes. She knew it was me.
“I always believed that you would come for me. I always believed it when you said that before leaving,” she said.
“I’m sorry but I couldn’t think of a better line!”
She smiled again….and I knew this was her peace.
When Jai died ten years ago, he promised Aparna that he would come back for her.
…and he did come back for his love of fifty blissful married years.
Here they are,
my gutless fellow humans.
Floating in un-confessed misery.
At some corner I see
a homeless old man dying.
So what ? People die.
But excuse me,
this phone call is too important for me.
I curse the system
and the society
when women get raped.
but I never reported
those eve teasers down the road.
Small children begging,
a pathetic site I hate.
Never out of concern, though.
Their faces disgust me.
Don’t tell anyone,
my maid is just thirteen.
I turn the pages of newspaper,
same old stories
of women getting beaten up.
I am a man and my wife
must bloody well oblige me,
Here they are,
my gutless fellow humans.