“No please don’t take her away; let me be there for her, please I want to be there; God I love you so much Shreya…” Nobody paid attention to Rohan’s helpless cry that night as he broke down crying on the Hospital floor; all he wanted to do was to be there for his wife as the doctors took her into the operation-theatre. Had he imagined this would happen on their honeymoon; all the plans they made while starting their new-life together were all crumbling down. Every time Rohan would close his eyes, he’d get a flashback of the day he proposed her.
It was a fine Sunday night; on Rohan’s 31st Birthday, he had taken Shreya to Hard-rock cafe; Lord! She was looking just like a princess in that white gown; little did she know Rohan had plans to keep her with him forever and beyond. Her sun-kissed skin would glow in the lights and her eyes had lit up when she heard the live band playing one of her favourite songs of all time “…Lag ja gale k fir yeh hasin raat ho na ho…” and Rohan had dropped down on his knees with the ring. You see they had met at a mutual friend’s wedding. It wasn’t love at first sight for any of them. They had become such good friends over time that spending the lifetime together seemed quite a natural thing to do. Rohan himself never imagined ending up with a girl like Shreya; they were both so different yet so close. Although he had seen Shreya before but that was in college as she was his senior but that night at the wedding they discovered how much they hated being at the wedding and mutually agreed upon how it was too soon for them to get married. That night was the start; after that Rohan would often pick her up from work and take her around for long-rides as they both loved each-other’s company. They fell in love without even realizing it. Shreya was never quite like the other girls in general but that’s what every lover thinks about his girlfriend but in this case it’s actually the truth. Shreya would never make an effort to make guys like her; she was a bit too chilled and comfortable in her own skin whereas Rohan had only dated aspiring models being the college hunk. Their usual dates would be spent watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ marathon or some Anime series over the internet. Shreya was obsessed with Anime; Rohan used to call her ‘Nagisa’ from her favourite Anime series ‘ Clannad’ as their love-story was quite the same; junior dating a senior. So many nights she would rest her head on his chest and cry over that stupid Anime…”no it wasn’t stupid, it was Shreya’s favourite”, Rohan would rephrase it in his head for countless times. Nothing Shreya ever liked was stupid; she looked so innocent while watching that series like they had existed in her life and she knew them by heart. Rohan was in bad shape when they started going out as he was fresh out of a break-up; rejection from a girl whom he had thought his world of; she was all that pretty and glamorous, the one you’d do anything for and even after doing everything for her she’d still let you go. Shreya helped him a lot to put his pieces back together and with her help and support Rohan discovered who he really was and how blind he had become running behind her just like a moth runs towards the fire. Rohan’s ex didn’t do anything for his growth; to make him a better person instead she made him dependent on things that were no good for him.
Shreya was fighting with death in that OT refusing to give up, “I know she can do it, Shreya has that never giving up attitude, she’ll survive. I know”, he’d convince himself again and again.
Their wedding wasn’t any extravagant ceremony rather it was short and simple just the way Shreya wanted it to be. Only close friends and family were invited to the reception party at a well-known property nearby their apartment in Mumbai. The food was excellent and what more could the visitors want? They both were blessed with love and best wishes from both their families and friends although for a few it turned out to be a shock but they were ready to give up on that as they saw how happy they were with each other. There were much discussions about the honeymoon destination but in the end it was decided upon Sikkim; the place where Shreya had spent her 18th birthday. She was excited to visit Sikkim again. For Rohan her happiness mattered the most so he had no input on that.
Shreya was an only child and so was Rohan; both families were more than happy to accept each other as the fact of Shreya being older than Rohan didn’t carry much weight as the whole world could see they were two well-fitted pieces of one puzzle.
“Why would you do this to her Rohan? Why would you let her be alone on the hills; you knew this would happen…”, it took Rohan a while to get back to the present state from the flashback; he saw Shreya’s mother running towards him with tears and rage in her eyes. Before she could say anything more Shreya’s father held her into his arms saying “calm down! It’s not over yet”. Rohan didn’t know what to say or how to explain himself but how would they know that Hills made Shreya so happy; her eyes would light up, she had become a little girl again jumping here and there playing around with snow…once just once Rohan had turned his back to her and that too to find the driver and in that moment she had…!
“Rohan if something happens to her, we will never be able to forgive you,” Shreya’s father said with a heavy heart.
“If something happens to her, do you think I’ll be able to forgive myself? She’s my life. You know how much I love her,” it took a lot of strength to speak those words out loud for Rohan but somehow Shreya’s love had made him strong enough to survive.
“How is she doing? How’s it looking in their doctor?” Shreya’s father asked the doctor coming out of the OR completely ignoring Rohan’s reply.
“She’s barely holding on. Her wounds are more catastrophic that we had hoped for; the height she had fallen from, also the body was lying…”
“Shreya, her name’s Shreya, please do not refer to her as ‘body’ doctor,” Rohan would interrupt.
“Pardon, Shreya’s condition is fragile; we cannot say anything right now. We have done as much as we could now it’s all upto the upper hand.”
“She never believed in Gods or Goddesses; she used to say doctors are the ones who save lives, they must be the Gods and Goddesses,” Rohan murmured and again sank in his previous state of trance.
Shreya loved wearing dresses; she never liked pants, she’d say “It’s trouble wearing them and going to the loo, it’s so much easier when you wear a dress,” she wanted a wedding dress like the ones they wear during Christian weddings; the big, fluffy, white ones; she had even selected one design over the internet which would be custom-made for her and it was supposed to be delivered by the time they got back home from Sikkim. “Will she ever get to wear that? Of course she will, what am I even thinking…” as he became more and more restless with time, the sound from the heart-monitor would pierce his brain with uncertainty.
The night doesn’t seem to be over, somehow Rohan had believed in his heart that once the night is over everything will fall back in place just the way Shreya used to say “Once you see the sun rising from the hills, it’s like the beginning of a new era filled with lights, just like you’ve been reborn into this world. You can do whatever you want. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…and I’m feeling good,” she’d sing with her sweet voice holding Rohan’s hand, resting her head by his shoulder.
Rohan got up from a light push on his shoulder by the doctor; he had fallen asleep but how could he just fall asleep when Shreya was in a situation like that but Rohan felt so comfortable thinking about Shreya’s melodies in his head, “I suggest you to see her once, she’s able to talk, her parents are already in there.” Rohan couldn’t wait anymore, he rushed in.
“What have I done to you Shreya. It’s all because of me. I was careless. I love you so much…” he could’nt finish his sentence as he grabbed her hand and sat down beside her, she tried her very best to smile; in a very weak tone she said “You see, you should have never called me ‘Nagisa’. You know how their story ended.”
“Stop! Please stop Shreya. Our story will not end like this. You will get better, Please get better.”
“But I cannot dear. Don’t you see it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life and I’ve been reborn into this world like I’ve always wanted to be.”
“Shreya what about me huh? You don’t want to be with me?….Answer me darn it…” In the anticipation of her next words he had forgotten about his surroundings; there’s one constant sound in his head coming from somewhere close but perhaps it was due to lack of sleep and a high stress-level. Rohan kept on asking Shreya for the answer “Come on Shreya, answer me, why do you want to leave me…” Until the nurse came and dragged him away from the bed and he saw her beautiful sun-kissed skin was so dreadfully pale, her bright eyes had been closed for too long, her whole body was covered with bandages; it wasn’t his Shreya, he couldn’t recognize her. She had turned into someone else; she was right, she had been reborn.