“Wasn’t it your dream to be a doctor and serve the people”, inquired Priya.
Manisha sat quiet. She didn’t react. It seemed she was numb. Since, they were in the hospital Priya kept her voice down and restricted herself from creating a public scene. She held Manisha’s hand and took her in the Ladies washroom.
” what happened to you”, screamed Priya. Still no reaction. She got baffled. She turned on the tap, collected some water in her hands and threw it on Manisha’s dummy alike face. The splash did wake her up. She took some deep breaths and met her eyes with her best friend.
“Why are we here?”, she finally uttered. Hearing those words Priya felt a bit relaxed.
They took the admission in the medical school together and as a matter of coincidence, they ended up getting the same room in the dorm too. And in those five years of togetherness, it was the second time Manisha was zoned out. First it happened when she flunked in the anatomy subject. But after that she studied hard and always topped the batch.
” what happened to you? Will you please tell me?”
Remembering the moment that just happened few minutes before in the ICU. She felt suffocated and held Priya’s hand. Priya hugged her and rubbed her back. She took out the water bottle from her bag and made Manisha to drank her. Water calmed her down.
It was their last week of the internship. And they were just about four days behind from becoming a Professional Doctor. And the statement from Manisha that she didn’t wanna be a Doctor put Priya in utter shock.
“You know who I met there”, Manisha said softly, wasting a hell lot of Priya’s time and energy.
Getting the vibe of seriousness Priya’s normal state was back. As having a conversation with Manisha with no sarcasm was never on the cards.
Priya only used her hands and eyes to proceed the talk.
Having get those two words from her mouth, the land beneath Priya’s feet skipped right away.
“No..no…no..you can’t be serious at this..”, shivering Priya said after gathering her little bit of courage.
And now it was all making sense to Priya that why Manisha was dumbstruck.
” did she recognize you? Did you talk to her? Why is she in there? Is she alright? “, Priya flooded these questions to her.
” she is on ventilator “, Manisha said.
Having getting those words in response and that too about their missing gang member can put anyone in stress.
” and”, eerily she asked.
Manisha having been in the ICU seeing her in that condition was saturated to get in more of those ill feelings. She had her lot.
“I read her reports”, she uttered. Priya’s eyes staring with full consciousness at her.
” and…”, Priya shouted.
Manisha shook her head having no courage to speak of her demise.
Tears fell from both of their eyes. They hugged tightly, sobbed and hugged even tighter.
Few more moments passed. They stood there. Having no words to exchange. Having not enough strength to talk of such a disaster.
Mirnali dropped out of the Medical school after first year. Although getting into a renowned medical school and graduate from there was in her wishlist, but still she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She took her chances and dropped out. After that where she went no body was aware of. She just flew away. For a year long, her parent got involved with the police and even hired few private detectives to find Mirnali. But she was found no where.
And now after four years, Manisha and Priya meet her, lying on her death bed. It wasn’t new for Manisha to see people taking their left out breaths. From past six months, everyday she met two to three people who bid their last bye on this planet. But today she encountered her own friend in that condition.
“Did you tell her about it?”, Priya asked.
Accumulating what was left inside her, Manisha spoke out her conversation with Marnila to Priya.
“She was excited. She was happy. She seemed delighted. Her eyes were sparkling. She was smiling. She recognized me and was elated to meet me before her last voyage. She told me she knew she was about to die in this bed only. All the doctors said that she can be saved. But it was her sole decision to leave this place with peace. She hated the idea of living artificially with the aid of machines and souless medication.
Before getting here she was on her mission to climb Mt. Everest again for the third time. But on her way from their bus met with an accident and that is what booked her seat here.
She told me that after dropping out she went to Sikkim and there she took climbing lessons and set her path for climbing the mountains all across the world. When she told the climbing school that she had no place to accommode and she was all alone on this journey, they helped her in living and offered her a job at their camp. Later she started organising treks and climbing camps to help climbers explore the beauty and find themselves.
In the past three years she climbed all the ranges of India, two times Mt. Everest and now after climbing it for the third time, she was all set to leave for the left out ranges across the world including her stay at North Pole and South Pole.
But now nothing can be done. And insted of being sad and unhappy, she feels happy that all that happened. She was sure that she would die in mountains, but Life never goes as we plan it. And that is why she was on the top of the world. Because once again Life showed her something she wasn’t expecting. And she was not overwhelmed by it.”
Absoring Manisha’s words, Priya was distressed. She was relaxed to hear that story, but was still in conundrum what it had to do anything with Manisha.
“But why you want to leave this internship?”
“Because this is not me”, confessed Manisha.
” but it is just a matter of couple of days..and then you will be a Doctor and then you can pursue your thing..”, Priya uttered.
“But once the Dr. sticks to my name..I won’t be able to move out..then I would be in more puddle..I guess I was meant to meet our lost friend today..a few days before our Final showdown..because I still feel what she said..”
“What she said..”, Priya intruded.
She said, ” on this death bed..I feel fortunate enough of not having any regrets..I did whatever my Heart felt like doing..be it boring or tedious work..be was it to be the sweeper at a MNC..be was it to volunteer for free for the Old Age homes..be was it to build camps for the refugees in Kashmir..be was it to teach climbing..be was it to sit idle and do nothing for moths at the prohibited areas of Himalayas..be was it to take a bath in the Ganges..be was it to set fire to the dead bodies at the Ghats of Banaras and sit there and see them turning into ashes..be was it to drink with the locals of Tribal people of Meghalaya..I don’t regret anything.. I lived fully..I never demanded this life and never expected life to bless me with all these adventures and now I can die peacefully..”
“And what are you gonna do..”, asked Priya.
“We all gotta die one day and none of us can stop that..but what we can do is stop that death bed turn into a regret bed..and I won’t let it happen..I will quit right away and Live..”