As she slowly opened her eyes, she heard the continuous beeps of the monitor on her side, and scanned the entire room she was admitted to, plain ceiling, bland walls and lots of machines by her side, and also an LCD hanging on the opposite wall. Immediately, she heard someone saying, “Doctor, the patient is now up, please come fast.” She still hadn’t opened her eyes completely, then came, the doctor, Dr. Sreeram Manchanda she noticed his name written on his coat.
“So how are you feeling, Shirin?” he enquired checking her nerve with his hand, looking at the wrist watch on his right hand.
“I don’t know. What happened to me?” Shirin asked as she moved her hand through her head and felt bandages all over her head and forehead.
“You had an accident, Shirin. But you’re fine now” he passed a bland smile to her.
“Why am I covered in bandages? And why this pipe in my nose?” she asked as she noticed bandages all over her body- legs, arms, even stomach.
“Shirin, it was a major accident, thankfully you’re out of danger. I’m sending in your parents. Take care” and he moved out of the ward.
She noticed the doctor talk to her parents outside, and her mother started crying. She wasn’t recovering, in fact she wasn’t even fine as the doctor had told her. There was internal bleeding, and according to the doctor, only a miracle could save her. Her mother lost all control, she sat on the chair, in shock yet she was hopeful that her daughter will recover. Her father couldn’t believe what was happening to his daughter. They had no courage to go and see their soon to be dying daughter. But they had to. Meanwhile, Shirin was looking through her room’s door as to what was happening outside.
Her mother enters the room and sees her and starts to shed tears.
“How are you, beta?”
“I’m fine, as the Doctor said, all thanks to the medicines - no pain now” she answered
“But why were you crying outside, Ma? What did he say?” Shirin added
“Nothing. You better take some rest now” her mother said as she placed her hand on Shirin’s forehead.
“… You’ll be better soon, and then you can go home with us” her mother faked a smile
As she was about to leave, Shirin stopped her by holding her right arm, “Ma, you don’t know how to lie” she smiled slightly
Her mother broke down that very moment and bent down to hug her daughter “I never thought I would see you like this. It breaks my heart to see you in this condition. You’re my princess, and I’ll not let anything happen to you. You’ll always be with us” she was still crying as she kissed Shirin multiple times on her face and hand.
“Ma.. Ma.. Ma… I don’t understand” Shirin was confused as to what has happened as her mother was crying like mad. The Doctor just confirmed that she was alright.
“The Doctor said there is internal bleeding and a lot of tissues have been damaged and there is also this irrecoverable nerve damage in the brain” her father told all this while he was standing at the door. He removed his glasses and cleared his wet eyes. Shirin judged the thing was serious as she had never seen her otherwise strict and inexpressive father ever cry.
“You mean I am… am I going to die, dad?” she burst into tears
“No beta. That’ll not happen. Doctor sahab said everything will be fine. We’ll take you home very soon” her mother cried
Or that’s what they wanted to believe. They didn’t want to accept the reality that they’ll never see their daughter again. They were not ready to accept that these were the last days of her life with them.
Shirin was on strong medicines and her condition wasn’t improving. The damaged nerves that had stopped functioning were affecting other nerves in the brain to function properly and as a result, her breathing rate dropped and she was to put an oxygen mask on. Her mother was destroyed after seeing her in such a state. Her medicines were changed; however, they were of no use. Shirin was in pain, a lot of unbearable pain. Destiny had her own plans and she wasn’t changing anything.
The next day, Shirin’s friends came to visit her. She didn’t have many, only a few- dear ones. They were too sad and shocked to see her like that. Her head was covered with bandages, arms too. She had dark circles under her eyes and her face had lost all its charm, she looked pale. She could barely open her eyes or move her hands. Yet, she greeted them very nicely and normally and tried to crack a few jokes too. However, everyone knew what was gonna happen. “I think I’m ready for it now” she said bravely. “Shut up, Shirin. Dare you talk like this again!” fumed an angry Priyal, Shirin’s best friend for years now.
They were like best of friends, going strong for a decade now, both knew everything about each other, Priyal was highly disturbed, she felt as if a part of her was going to be cut soon from her body, when Shirin’s mother broke out the truth to her. She burst in tears.
That night, something happened what should not have been, but was anticipated.
The nurse ran to the Doctor’s cabin, it was half past two, “Doctor, Shirin isn’t breathing properly, she’s sinking and is losing her breath. Please come fast. She’s crying in pain!”
“Oh no! This should not have happened this early!!!! Make necessary arrangements immediately, sister. We gotta operate her soon.” Dr. Sreeram quickly ran to Shirin’s room. Her parents were already up and panicking. They asked him what was happening, they were furious, and were constantly praying while the Doc examined Shirin. He quickly punched in several injections into her arm. He concluded that operation wouldn’t do any good but would worsen her condition.
“She’s stable now. But she doesn’t have a lot of time now. Be ready for it.” Doctor broke the heartbreaking news to Shirin’s parents and moved to his cabin.
Shirin’s mother had not had anything for three days now, she looked weak and pale, her father had stopped going to his office, didn’t talk. The thought of losing their only child broke them till the inside, they couldn’t stand it after that. They somewhere knew what was going to happen, they were just not ready for it. Shirin’s mother peeped into the room from the door’s window and admired her daughter sleeping in peace. She kept on crying continuously as she picked out her beautiful daughter’s photo from her bag and admired it. She remembered all the good times with her daughter right from the time she was born. She couldn’t see her in so much pain and discomfort. She wanted all her pain to end, yet she wanted her daughter to be with her.
“Why did we let her go alone that afternoon? You should have gone with her to drop her” Shirin’s mother kept crying as she talked to her father, blaming and holding herself responsible for her daughter’s current state.
A new day came with a new hope. Shirin made her mom call Priyal to come as soon as she could to meet Shirin. She knew her end was near, and she had to do something very important.
“Shirin, are you sure you want to do this?” A shocked Priyal confirmed twice.
“Haan. I know what I’m doing. It is the right time. it’s my last wish, else I wouldn’t die in peace. Will you not do this for me, bestfriend?” she smiled
“Okay, I’ll do it. Only for you.” Priyal smiled back
After an hour, Priyal came back to the hospital with Shirin’s journal and a folder in which she’d kept some personal documents. She placed them on the corner table on her right.
“And now, the final job” Shirin smiled handing over the phone to Priyal.
“Hello? Am I talking to Jai Singh?” said Priyal
“Yes! Speaking. Shirin , is this you?”
“Umm, no. I’m Priyal, her friend. Shirin wants to meet you ASAP”
“But why are you calling from her number? Is she okay?”
“Jai, Shirin is dying. She’s not in a good state. She wants to see you” Priyal cried
Jai’s heartbeat raced. “Tell me which hospital she’s in. I’m coming right now”
Priyal entered Shirin’s ward, “He’s coming” said as she wiped a tear from her eyes.
“… I love you, Pri” Shirin smiled and whispered looking at Priyal
An hour passed, Shirin was given an injection and was sleeping. Jai entered the room and broke down into pieces on seeing Shirin in such a state.
He walked down to the chair near her bed and sat on it very quietly, without making any noise. He looked at her for a few minutes and tears rolled down his face. He couldn’t control himself. He took Shirin’s hand in his own still looking at her.
Shirin woke up, she was probably up, but was waiting for him to come, how could she have slept!?
“Three year, huh?” sighed Shirin as she adjusted the pipe running through her nose.
“….I’m seeing you after three years, you studboy!” Shirin smiled
“Shirin… what… what…. “ Jai couldn’t speak anything. “Priyal told me everything about your accident. I’m so sorry, Shirin” he couldn’t speak anything.
“She didn’t tell you everything, Jai. That’s why I’ve called you here” Shirin whispered, as she had no strength left, she was breathing really fast.
“Shirin, I’m here only, with you. But first you need to take rest” Jai was concerned
“Jai, I’ve waited for three years to say this. Don’t stop me today. I might not get another chance.” Shirin smiled this time
“Shirin, don’t say this. We’ll fight with this. You will recover really soon. I know”
“Jai, you need to know, that all these years that I didn’t contact you, it was because I didn’t want to bother you, I didn't want to be a pile on. I thought you needed time and I gave it to you. But don’t think that anything has changed, I told you, it’s not the normal kinda crush”
“Yes, Jai. Still.”
“… I told you I’d have these feeling till the time I die, and see I wasn’t lying, I wasn’t lying, Jai.”
“Of course, you weren’t, I believed you and still do”
“No you didn’t. And that’s why you left me. And I was so stupid that I let you go.” Shirin started crying.
“No Shirin, I’m stupid. That I walked away from you, from your love. Please forgive me” Jai couldn’t take it anymore.
“Jai… I didn’t want to be a creep, I gave you your space. But you just forgot me. And I’m not complaining I understand”
“No no no. I never forgot you, Shizzles. I was out but I never forgot you” Jai held her hand.
“I missed you so much, Jai” Shirin exhaled and paused for a while. “See.. even the monitor shows how fast my heart is beating right now” she giggled as she pointed at the monitor. Jai smiled a bit.
And continued… “So much that I’ve never missed anyone. There wasn’t a single day that I didn’t miss you. Everything reminded me of you. I know our stint together was short but those moments were so precious to me, I’ll always cherish them. I always smiled remembering you and see how much I’m smiling even now. It’s all because of you. I’ve wanted to call you since a long time, because all these feeling were too much for me to handle. I had bottled them up for so long that I even forgot that I could feel them anymore or not. I’ve always wanted to tell you this, but never had the courage. I thought you’d freak out and mostly because of the distance between us I couldn’t. I wanted to, believe you me.”
Shirin started breathing really fast, the monitor showing her fast heartbeats, Jai panicked. He got up to call the doctor.
“No, don’t. Don’t go.”
“No. they’ll let you out and will give me those meds again. I don’t want them. I want you. Please come.”
“Okay. Okay. Relax. I’m here.” He handed over a glass of water to her.
“I’m really weak, and in a lot of pain I don’t know how much I would be able to say. I might faint. Please don’t go even then” Shirin was curious
“I’m not going anywhere now till you don’t ask me to” he looked straight into her eyes.
“I’ll not let you go ever.”
“Then I’ll not go. Ever.”
“Jai..” shirin started crying and Jai held her hand again now.
“Shirin, I’m sorry that I never understood you. I never wanted to go but you knew my situation. I just couldn’t have hurt you. I cared for you.” Jai repented but nothing could have been done.
“Let me complete now. Jai, I never wanted to be the most important person in your life… I knew it was too much to ask for, I never wanted that. I just wanted to be with you, by your side, to support you in every situation. I knew your situation and that’s why could not have let you suffer alone. I wanted to be with you, to take care of you. Whenever you wanted I would not have left your side. What happened in your past, I couldn’t have change it, but I wanted to make new memories with you. We could have stayed friends, but you never let me come close to you. Did you not trust me? Did you not miss me all these year, Jai?”
“Oh Shirin, don’t say that. I trusted you, and that’s why I shared so much with you. And I missed you, I had told you this before too. I missed you a lot. I miss you.” Jai was so guilty that he burst into tears.
“I don’t want you to feel bad about anything and certainly not pity about this situation of mine. I’m fine and I just wanted to tell this to you.”
Shirin was slowly losing her senses, and was falling asleep. She was finding it difficult to even speak. Jai ran to call the nurse, soon the doctor arrived, and he gave her a few injections and called in her parents.
“Look, Mr. Malhotra, I don’t want to hide anything now. It’s time now. Be prepared.”
Shirin’s father broke down in tears, his world tore apart. Jai who happened to hear what the Doctor said was shattered too. He couldn’t help but feel guilty of his behaviour towards Shirin and there wasn’t anything that he could do now. He looked at Shirin as she slept.
That’s when Priyal came, “How are you Jai?” she initiated the conversation. And Jai admitted and realized how wrong he was. Priyal made him understand that he was unaware. She also told him how Shirin has been all these years without him. What changes she had shown to others and how her emotional side deteriorated day by day. She told him how terribly she used to miss Jai everyday and how she wouldn’t discuss anything with anyone about him. Jai felt bad about it.
“Priyal, I want to make all this right. Please tell me what should I do?”
“Jai, it’s too late now. She would definitely not want any pity from your side now just because you know that she has no time left with her. Just leave it.”
“I’ve to go and spend some time with Shirin, you can go back to your place if you want. We all are with her. When you didn’t care about her back then so why now? I’ve seen her cry and miss you. She would never tell you all this, she’d never complain, because that stupid girl loves you. But realize, what you did wasn’t right. And now you can’t mend things.”
Priyal went inside the ward where Shirin was sleeping. Jai went to the balcony and stared at the horizon, he couldn’t believe what was happening was all real or just a dream and Shirin’s beautiful face was all over his mind, he remembered the time they spent together, all the night long phone calls and all the times that they met. He couldn’t get Shirin’s sick and pale face out of his mind. He couldn’t stop but cry. And then, his phone rang, it was Priyal. She asked him to run to Shirin’s room as her condition was deteriorating and she asked for him immediately.
Everybody was already gathered in the room, she couldn’t breathe properly and was put an oxygen mask. Her parents surrounded her and as Jai reached the ward, he noticed Priyal and stood by her side.
Priyal whispered in his ear that Shirin wants to talk to him. He went on and sat on the chair by the bed, Shirin was breathing heavily, and couldn’t open her eyes.
“Shirin, I’m here. By your side, as you wanted. I’m here to stay” he took her hand in his.
She signalled him to come near her, so she could whisper in his ear. She removed her oxygen mask and whispered very softly.
“Jai, I love you. I always have, and I always will. Maybe in some other life, I could be yours. I wish that day comes fast.” She cried as she said this. “It’s my time now, I’m going but I’ll always love you.”
Jai was shaken from inside, he just stared at her blankly. Shirin handed over the documents and her file she had asked Priyal to get from her place, “Read them, when I’m gone.” And she smiled.
She gathered strength, looked at Priyal and gave her a flying kiss, she also said “I love you” very slowly.
She turned to her parents and smiled. “I love you both, thanks for being there with me. I hope I get you both as my parents in my next life too”
Her eyes started closing as she said, she was going unconscious. The doctor asked all the people to move out of the room but Shirin asked him not to.
“Thank you, Doctor, you’ve been really kind to me. Please be kind to my parents too” and she joked.
“Ma… I don’t want to go. I want to sleep by your side, on your lap. I’m sorry for all the times that I’ve disappointed you and fought with you. I just want to hug you one last time. Would you?”
She opened her arms and both her parents gave her a hug. Jai and Priyal were crying standing in the corner. They both gave her a hug together.
Shirin was smiling, “I’m so happy to have you all by my side, I wish life could be like this. I wish I had more years with me. Priyal, make sure these two don’t cry much, okay?” she said as she pointed at her parents. “And dare you cry, my drama queen” she smiled.
“Okay, Dear God, I’m ready” she looked at the ceiling as she said this.
“Shirin!” her mother screamed.
“Ma… I love you, forever. I love you all.” She looked at everyone in the room and smiled. “Now please don..”
She started breathing heavily. Everyone panicked. The monitor on her side started fluctuating, up down up down went her heartbeat.
For one last time, she looked at her mom, and then at Jai, and that’s when she closed her eyes. Her soul left her body.
The monitor gave a clear signal that her heart wasn’t beating now.
Her mother sat down on the ground in shock, she didn’t react, didn’t cry. She just kept looking at Shirin constantly. Her father couldn’t control and cried. He burst out in tears and went out of the ward.
The doctor gave five minutes to everyone with her before taking her body from the room.
Priyal lost it and sat down on the sofa and she cried too. Jai was in shock. His entire life changed in a single day, he was also crying. He stared at Shirin, went to her and kissed her forehead. “I’ll miss you, Shirin” whispered to himself. But sadly, she was gone now. She wasn’t coming back by any means.
The ward boy came in with a stretcher to take the body, Shirin’s mother wouldn’t let them. She would make efforts to stop them from taking it, but Priyal and Jai stopped her and made her sit and drink water. She cried, a lot. Her young daughter had gone too far from her, she couldn’t control, her loss was irreplaceable. A part of her died along with Shirin. She was left incomplete now. She again took out Shirin’s photo from her bag and kissed it and placed it on her heart and cried.
Jai noticed the package that Shirin had handed over to him and went out leaving Priyal with Shirin’s mother. He opened the diary and read a few pages, those were about him, as if Shirin was talking to him in her diary, it was addressed to him. He wept reading it. He skipped through the diary and opened the file, it had a lot of letters for him along with his photos, as if she knew she wouldn’t be able to say it to him personally so she left him the letters. She had described her days to him, her feelings, how much she missed him, what reminded her of him, which movies she liked and which not, what all she would like to do with him. She had written everything. She had also mentioned his birthday card, which he found inside the file, he opened it, smiled while reading it, and then cried.
Let me tell you that I’m missing you very badly and want to meet you super soon! Today is June 15th, the day we first met, it might just be another day for you, but for me, this day is really special.
You’re a kind of person who can make anyone smile, and what you’ve done to me is beyond words. You gave me feelings I never thought I would ever have, and for you.. It was never expected. You let me know that love is not just a word but a very beautiful feeling. Your experiences, your thinking, your actions, your spontaneity, your humour, and your heart, there’s so much to admire. And I love your voice, I have told that you a lot of times, haven’t I?
I never thought about us being together forever and ever, that’s too long for me to bear with you lol, I want to share experiences with you. I want to go out on a sunny morning, exploring random places, turning up unplanned and deciding on the way where to go, I want to have breakfast with you at Murthal and then evening tea at a roadside dhaba on our way back, I want to write letters to you and then feel excited for getting their replies. I want to ride a bike with you sitting behind and holding my waist. I want to play hide and seek with you in a dark room hitting random stuff and then having you to laugh on it with. I want to tease random guys in the metro making you jealous. I want you to bake your special brownies only for me and then eating them bite by bite together. I want to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces fix back together. I want to kiss you in the rain and tell how much I love you. But more than everything else, I want you. To be with me.
I’ve realized that you’re such an amazing person, but you know that already don’t you?
Plan kar jaldeeee. Call me apne aap se.
Take care and don’t miss me much.
He cried on finding what all he had lost in these three years, and sadly it couldn’t be recovered, no new memories could be made, because the one who could have, was gone now.
His heart was aching, of guilt and loss of the one who loved him the most. He screamed to himself, wept, cried, and banged the floor. But mostly, he repented. He couldn’t forgive himself that day.
He quietly went back home and lied down with Shirin’s letters and cards all over his bed, he couldn’t sleep that night.
Shirin’s mother went to her room, touched each and every thing that belonged to Shirin, her clothes, her accessories, her mirror, her bed and even the walls. She didn’t eat for days, she couldn’t sleep for nights together. She couldn’t bear the loss of her beloved daughter.
They all prayed for Shirin, and that lovely girl, would be somewhere happy looking down upon everyone smiling, as she always was- A Happy and charming girl.