Sitting on an arm – chair, she could feel the pain in her legs, in her waist & head. She felt heavy for being unable to perform her responsibilities towards her family. At this very age of 25 years, she often complained of back-ache and sometimes mild pain in chest but had never been to a doctor.
As the door bell rang, she streched her legs getting ready to get up & go to the door. As she stood, she heard the second bell at the door & felt a little numbeness.
She was trying hard to rush to the hospital, bare – footed, crossing the lanes on footpath as cars & motorbikes passed by with pain in her chest. The scene before her was darkening. She increased her speed but could not keep pace with her mind, feeling like loosing some parts of her legs, like burring herself in the ground, like collapsing on the road.
Suddenly, her eyes widened with fear. She took some time to realise where she was. It was the room, her bed. OH! I was dreaming, she thought trying to get up but she couldn’t. Her brother, Navin, helped her & then she was told what had happend the previous day. Her brother sat beside her, cross- legged, handling her a glass of water & some pills to swallow, narrating the story that he had unlocked the door with the pass-key he used to keep, that he found her lying on the floor, that he was so nervous to see that he screemed to gather their neighbours, that he rushed her hospital and called their mother afterwards.
After taking a leave for 3 days, Rima gathered some strength & joined her work back. She managed at the weekend to see the doctor herself and discuss the issue. She was told there that she was healthy otherwise than the weekness that was eating her slowly & steadily, that she needed to take care of herself, that she needed to reduce the stress.
Rima decided to take the doctor seriously & work accordingly. Making some changes in her routine, he managed half-an-hour in morning for a short walk in the park, a mile away from her flat & decided not to take so much stress. The plan worked like a miracle and she recovered in a month.
Rima was only 22 when her father got paralysis. She was then doing her masters in mathematics. Rima had a younger brother, mother and father living in a flat that her father had bought out of his saving and some finance from bank. After his illness, Rima had to take his responsibilities. She immediately started searching for a job as her family did not remain with a regular source of income. After struggling for a few months, Rima was offered a post of accountant in a private firm which she accepted without any hesitation. Rima never ever in her life had thought of such a carrer instead, she always assumed herself teaching in the university. The job provided financal strenght to her family but after this she used to give tution to college students for extra income.
Day-by-day, Rima got healthier but the stress in her deepened. She was finding it difficult to manage her father’s medicine, her brother’s fees and household goods with her salary. She found her brother, Navin, who was about to join college never demending to her as both of them used to with their father, never bothered her anything unless it was very urgent. Both of them still hoped that one day their father would recover that once again they would go for an outing, that he would take them to flower show or book fair. But by now, Rima had been so old for such things, atleast mentally if not physically but still she would wonder if the days would be back. Whenever she sat beside her father, looking at him, sleeping, tears rolled down her cheecks as her eyes filled with glances of those days.
Rima had just returned home and was sitting with a cup of coffee when the phone rang. Rima picked up the phone and found her brother on another end announcing that he had got the scholarship for the college he had applied a month before. Rima congratulated hime, went to her parents, telling them the good news and feeling their happiness.
She returned to her coffee, feeling realxed, her burden lessened to half. It was as if she was feeling the whole world lightning with green and blue lights in the sunlight. She couldn’t get if she was happy for her brother or for herself or for their family.
Rima’s father died after a year when Navin moved to college. After a few months, Rima got married to Vivek, but decided to continue to stay with her mother as there was no one to care for her, to look after her. She was often tensed about the vomitting her mother made but as her mother told, it was all about her digestive system that she needed to take a less spicy and healthy diet.
It was another tragedy for Rima when after a few months, her mother died, falling off the stairs, in the early morning when Rima was getting ready for her office. She rushed her to the hospital but it was too late by then. Her mother’s death shook Rima from insde. She abandoned her job for a few months & decided to move to her in-laws.
Days pased by & Rima & Vivek decided to rent the flat that her parents owned till her brother returned. After the agreement was signed, Rima thought of emptying the house in her supervision & shifted the things to a small room in her in-law’s house.
When Rima opened the shelf in her parent’s room, some papers fell on the floor, spreading a husk of dust in the air. As Rima bent down to lift them, her eyes widened with terror, fear & surprise She lifted a file levelled “Cancer Hospital”. As she turned the papers, terror shook her from inside, her legs shaking, her hands numb—–a report from cancer hospital—-her mother had liver cancer. The report dated 6 months before, only 3 months before her mother died. She knew it. Now Rima could understand why her mother used to vomit, bathroom closed, that she lied her that it was digestion problem that she never told her that she lost her mother due to negligence that she couldn’t fulfil her responsibities that she couldn’t save her.