That summer night we had a heated discussion…which was quite unnerving and taxing on us both…we were on the phone till day-break.After about a few hrs,we talked again…unable to sleep…and restless…But suddenly he hung up.I got infuriated and tried his phone.He didn’t answer.I tried again..and again…but each call was going unanswered.I knew he could never do that.No matter what he never stops talking to me.I got worried.Kept trying his phone again and again..but still no answer.I was losing my mind and wasn’t able to know how to reach him.Just needed to hear his voice.I was waiting and crying and praying and kept trying his phone.Then after about an hr and half..he received and said.. “I’m at the hospital and would call once home” and hung up.I was shocked..and baffled.What…Why???I was now feeling bad and guilty for last night.All i wanted was to have him back with me…safe and smiling.And all i could do then was to wait.I knew he would call.I knew he would.
After a while,he called me and said that he got a sudden attack of Asthma.And had been given emergency treatment.I burst out crying.I was just beyond myself now.All i wanted was to be by him..his side..to hold his hand.All i needed was to see him…and i knew all he needed was me.
I just couldn’t know what to do…Should i visit him? Can i visit him? How will i manage? What will i tell at home? I don’t know the exact location of his home even.I had never been to his home all these years…neither in school…nor till now…What do i do?? That day was the auspicious Ratha Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath.Also that being a state holiday,everyone was at home.How do i sneak out?What do i tell everyone? I called S..my soul-sis..my all time saviour.And she suggested she would be pick me up with some excuse.But now the question was ‘my going to his home’ !! Now that his parents already knew about us and this would be the first time they would meet me.I called him…Amma picked up the call.I gathered myself up and enquired her about his health.She said he is sleeping now and sounded worried.There was a moment of silence between us…like something unsaid was being held back.I took leave and hung up.But i was so restless.How could i be here when he is not well..when he needs me..when all i need is to be by his side.I was pacing my room to and fro…restless…worried…desperate.I just grabbed my phone again and dialed his number again.Thankfully it was Amma again.I heard myself saying.. “Aunty can i come home ? ” and held my audible breath..when she replied “Yes dear i think u should.That would be good.I was also thinking of asking u.Please come.” I was so relieved and felt so blessed..tears rolled down my face.
I waited for him to wake up to take directions from him.In the meanwhile S picked me up from my home with some ‘friendly’ excuse.And soon i was standing in front of his house.S left wishing me the best just when his younger brother came out to greet me.As i entered the main gate with him..I was so touched to see Daddy waiting for me to greet me..to take me across the threshold.I touched his feet and he blessed me whole-heartedly and took me inside the house.Just in,his elder sister came forward to reach me.I had met her before as she had helped us meet a few times at her place.It was a relief to see her there.As i greeted her..Amma came to me and greeted me affectionately as i touched her feet for her blessings.They all seemed so happy to see me but the underlying tension about his health was very evident..in them and in me.So Daddy further led me inside to the room he was in.A few steps more and i would see him.And when our eyes met..we couldn’t take our eyes off each other for a moment but i then diverted my gaze,aware of everyone around us.The room was packed with relatives.All were there to see him.Daddy asked me to sit on a chair right opposite to his bed.I could know he had not taken his eyes off me since he saw me.I could know how relieved he was..How much he had wanted to see me.Aunty was sitting by his side..caressing him..and fanning him..for proper ventilation.He gestured me to come and sit next to him.I was reluctant.He asked me again now quite openly.Aunty too smiled at me and made space for me to sit near to him.As we 3 sat on the bed..he introduced me to her.And now most of the people had left the room when Amma came in and took all the kids and everyone out of the room and saying “U both talk”..she pulled the door curtain and went.
Now when i looked at him…he reached out for my hand..and held it firmly and with all his love.I tried to hold back my tears.Neither of us were concerned about whatever had happened last night.We felt so much at peace now…together..by each other’s side.He laid down by my side curling up his head next to my lap like a small baby.I gently caressed his hairs to relax him.And now i could feel he was at ease…now that he had me with him.And then his younger brother rushed in saying “Let’s play Chess ! ” 🙂 🙂 And i felt so comfortable now with all those people i was meeting for the first time.His cousin sister came to me and said.. “If u cry..who will take care of him..” She has been a darling always 🙂 🙂
Surprisingly,in a few moments,our dear friend R dropped in..just like that.He had no idea about the day’s events.He had just come to meet him casually as always.He was surprised to see me and gave us a mischievous smile as we all settled down to long happy talks reminiscing school and friends.R being my dear friend too asked me “So tell me how does it feel to be here..the first time ! ” and i replied… “Feels like Home” and we all laughed happily 🙂 🙂