Intensive Care Unit

White lab coat hung loosely over her navy blue scrubs. That was her superhero suit hidden behind her civil wear.

It was after midnight and she was needed. The stethoscope hung around her neck as she ran to tend to her patient. Her white coat almost fluttered like a cape behind her.

“What is sleep?” She wondered as she tried resusitated a failing man’s heart at the wee hours of the morning. But his sickness over came him and the man in black took him away, without a second glance at the woman sitting in white with her hands on his heart.

She quickly got up. Accepted. Took the next steps and tended to the next patient in need.

Time passed by. She didn’t realise. And just like that, it was the end of her shift. It was time to take off her white coat, get back in her civil wear.

Breathe. She could finally breathe.

She fought against death. She saw death. Every day. Yet, she walked back home. Pulled her 3 year old in her arms and celebrated life.

Such is the circle of life.

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The Right Focus

It was a messy day because of a messy project at work. The work came back home with me, with its fingers intertwined in mine. It demanded my attention. It was clingy. It refused to let me leave it alone for more than 5 mins. An ideal messy day that not even a workoholic would like.

So, that evening I sat down with it right in front of me. When this little being of mine came running in. Her anklets tinkling was a dead give away of her arrival. She came squeaking my name. Climbed on my bed. Sat next to my work and started talking. Talking in a language that was clear and apparently coherent according to her. It was babble to me. It was so refreshing and tempting that I wrapped up faster than I normally would.

The kiddie, babble conversation I had with her later was the best part of the day. I had missed the most important part of my day till I narrated all the unwanted “ghory” specifs to him when he asked, “How was your day?” And he politely responded by reminding me how my little being fixed a messy day. In his perspective, I had an awesome day with the best work buddy in baby world.

Vulnerability

She looked forward to the day. The exact time of the day, to be precise, when she would lay her eyes on him. It had almost been an year.

When he called her to announce, “I’m here!” she couldn’t hold back the bounce in her strides, as she walked towards him. And when she saw him, she hurled herself at him, and took the long pending bear hug from him.

Just the thing she needed.

He held the strings that bound her, untangled them gently so that she could slowly breathe. The first breath she took cracked the high wall of pretense she had built around her. She took another deep breath and she found herself unravel in his arms.

Her vulnerability lay bare in front of him.

They sat next to each other on the bench. Leaves crackled as they shifted their feet. The winter afternoon heat warm on their backs. His arms around her shoulder. Her hands resting on her thighs. They sat for a while. Her emotions finally found words and they flowed from her lips. The unspoken, unseen weight slowly lifting from her shoulders.

Trusting that he can take it all, she unfolded. And he did.

Though they felt stillness around them, the time kept ticking. Finally it was time to leave, with a promise to see each other soon again.

As they both walked away in the opposite directions, she walked away with strength and courage to live from him. And he, with a bit of her soul.

Firefly

She had “stolen” the light. She ran away. Stood by the door and slowly opened her arms. A white glow spread over her face. She had the light trapped between her tiny hands. It was hers now.

She smiled. Her curiosity piqued. She turned it up and then down. She shook it left then tried tossing it towards her right. The light still shone bright.

Finally, she clutched it tight and raised it above her head with a happy smile. Seemed triumphant. There was her firefly inside her balled hands.

Listen!

“Look at me”, she screamed hoarse in her head

“Stop looking at the time! And look at me! I’m right here, with you. Next to you. Why don’t you see me?

Talk to me. Distance between us grows because our silence fills the gaps. Set down your phone. Forget your work. Talk to me!

Open up with me. Share your thoughts and ease your mind. I will never judge, for the thoughts that cross your mind. Open up with me!

Words that flowed easy as did our emotions, are now bounded by chains. We are growing with our priorities, I agree. But stop. Let’s stop pushing each other away.

I’ll simply say, hey! pay attention to me. The wouldn’t be much left after we are done.

Let’s not lose you and me.”

The 15 Minutes

Those 15 mins every morning with my mother has come to become the best part of my day, life. The drop from home to her bus stop which is on the way to mine. Takes 15 minutes. Everyday.

She is with me. She talks. She shares. Stuff she wouldn’t otherwise at home. She talks about her work. She talks about her college get-together. She talks about her plans. She talks about her calls with her sisters. She talks.

Though a grown child that I am, I am still happy about the fact that, those 15 minutes she is completely with me. Her eyes for me her ears for me. Her thoughts for me. She is present around me. The lighter part of her day, when it has just begun is also shared with me.

Those 15 minutes that she gives me, is the most beautiful thing anyone can ever do for me.

Time.

A Crush

He stood on the balcony. The twinkly lights draped on the railing of the balcony threw light on his face. He stood, lost in his thoughts. One hand in his pocket. His beautiful digits of his other hand lightly wrapped around the green beer bottle. He took a sip as he watched the city sleep under the yellow street lights.

Light drizzle. He runs his beautiful digits through his hair. Hair tousled.

At that moment, exactly that moment she felt the wind knocked out of her chest. Swollen heart. Unbearable, undefined emotions.

That was it.

Walking with the Differences

They were two individuals.

He loathed some things she loved.

She loathed some things he loved.

Emotionally, both would be on different planes. Always.

Yet, they co-existed and were the best of friends.

They accepted and walked with the their differences with their arms around each other.

Bread Samosa

I was on a vacation in Hong Kong. We had spent the day walking. It was a very good and satisfying day. It was so good, that I had found my old appetite rumbling in my stomach. And that appetite brought this strong craving on my tongue: a strong want to eat India Chat. I had traveled down from India to explore this place, and yet this thing in me wanted to eat desi street food. But, I kept mum. Thinking this isn’t what he would like to eat. And yet, this man, to my great surprise and happiness asked, “Would you like to eat dahi puri?” I was wondering if he could read my brain waves.

There in Hong Kong, when we were eating the dahi puris with some addition of samosa chat, I got hit by this strong wave of nostalgia:

I would wait eagerly for my parents to come back home from work. I would be in the garden with my pupper. Waiting for them to walk inside the green gate, just to run close to whoever comes home first and ask, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?” The day we would have it was like a picnic at home, but at night. Would be noisy, cosy and fun. Like some kind of celebration. The walk with my father to the shop to buy fresh out of wok samosas. Holding his fingers. Walk back home to eagerly eat the hot samosas, flattened and pressed firmly between two breads. And the satisfaction once the first bite was savoured…

I missed it.

Then today happened. We were out, my father, sister and my niece. While each ran their errand, I entered a small shop. One place which came close to making samosas like the samosa shop in the place I grew up. And I had the question in my head again. I turned around to find that my father had followed me in the shop with his cup of coffee. I asked the same question, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?”

He smiled. Maybe the nostalgia had hit him too. And he answered saying he was just going to ask if he should get some bread for the night.

It was a celebration again. This time it was for my new job. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Somehow, the mood was better. Like we had grip on something and that it wasn’t lost. I saw the old me. The old, easy bond I had with my father came back. He was happy. Genuinely happy. Happy to do this. Let his grown up be a child.

We were excited.

My mother was excited when I told her. It made me happy. Somehow the atmosphere felt familiar. It was warm, cosy and celebratory again. Though it was disastrous: the samosas were too spicy for our taste, yet it was the emotions that mattered.

It was about the simple pleasures. Most of the time works like a charm.

The Friend Who Cared

He had met with an accident recently. He had hit his head. It was so severe that he had no recollection, not even of the accident. A month’s worth of memories was blank to him.

I had met him at my workplace. I liked his simplicity and naivety, his innocent approach to the world and the strong hope he bore and carried in his heart about humanity and his trust in them. It was refreshing to see it and let hope take birth in me: A sense of wanting to trust.

His head injury had taken a toll on him. I couldn’t meet him. Rather, I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t sure I could see any human in that state.

Then, one day he messaged. A wonderful surprise. I didn’t think he even had the mindshare to tell me his story of what happened that fateful evening. But he did. Ugly truth and all. He opened up, kept his heart out on the table and bared it all. I was at loss of words.

He messaged me again today. To tell me his success towards recovery. Mentality, emotionally and physically. He even told me he is catching his fears by its horns and marching forward. He’s taking his time, but there he was. Ready.

Now, we aren’t close friends. We are just friends. Who smile, wave and wish each other at work. Maybe have small talks now and then. But not close enough to have this conversation. If I were in his place I would have thought millions and millions of times before I wrote an open heart message. When he told about himself, he sounded a bit like me. Yet, he did take this step, which I wouldn’t.

One would wonder, “Why the heck is he telling me this?”

Some would think, “Wow. This man is strong.”

Some would genuinely wish him well.

Some wouldn’t give two hoots about it.

Yet, he got out of his comfort zone and he shared. All his vulnerability exposed. I know the effort and courage he would have mustered.

He was that friend who cared enough to share. Cared enough not to care what me or others would think of his message.

He cared enough to trust me and share a part of his life with me.