“Preha move your ass here and tell me how do I look?” Raghda was shouting from my room. I shouted back from the kitchen and said “I am coming just don’t get so high just let me finish the cake, or do you want your birthday to be celebrated without a cake?” I grinned at the thought. I went back to my room after approximately five minutes and the room which was a total mess, not a single thing was on its usual place. She was in front of my mirror in all her red dress glory. I laughed hysterically, “God ragu you are looking like a damn rose.” She was damn attractive without her make-up already but all in all she was looking sexier with her hair open, touching her waist height back, curled from the tips. I thought if only I were a guy, I would have married her. I was snapped out of my thoughts when she hit me with a pillow “ouchhhh! That hurts.” I cried. She grinned and said “Snap out of your dirty thoughts and get ready tonight’s an important night.” Gosh, why everyone is telling me this again and again, yeah I understand it’s her birthday but what’s the big deal in it, it’s not that she’s getting any younger. “I know ragu today is your birthday and all that stuff, but why are you making all such fuss, is everything all right?” Now it was her time to get lost in her thoughts, and damn I saw she was grinning, I know that grin. Something is going to happen tonight, I know that. It’s like a Deja-vu so I caught the moment and threw the same pillow to her face. Payback. “Ouchhhh” she groaned, “What’s wrong with you, little insomniac”.
Well it was true that I was an insomniac, it all started after I shift here from my home. The first few months were a total disaster and I was really depressed about leaving everything and coming in this total strange city so more I think of this strange place and the more I miss my old home the more I get depressed. It followed many sleepless nights until Ragu became my roommate and I started reading literature books. Reading books didn’t make any difference but now I enjoyed those sleepless nights while reading and sometimes hanging out with my best friend-my sister Raghda.
She stood up and her dress was falling to her knees and she looked like a cherry on the top of the cake but five-six tall and much sexier. She walked to my wardrobe and started throwing the ironed clothes out on the bed one by one. I yelled, “What’s the matter with…” She looked at me and silenced me with her mere angry looking face. I abruptly stopped talking and I knew that look she had enough of me. She chose one of my party dress and walked towards me, Damn she walks like a hot-model I thought and unexpectedly she gripped my wrist with her left soft warm but steady hand, leading me towards the washroom, holding my dress in her right hand and nearly shouted “Go get ready or I’m calling him that your lovely dove isn’t coming to your party tonight.” she smirked. Rolling my eyes, I shouted for a millionth time “Ragu how many times I have told you that I’m no one’s lovey dove so shut the crap out and just wait right here, I’ll be back before you even know it coz I’m not doing any kind of girlish make-up on my pretty face.” I slammed the door in her face.
Opening the door of my bathroom I said, “Come on ragu just lets g…” I stopped; I was stunned at what I saw. I wasn’t in my room, there was no sign of ragu neither anything related to my room, this was a grim place and this place was dark. “Ragu” I whispered in a hush voice. Not a single voice answered me. I cried again with a little bit of courage but with a steadier voice. “Ragu, where are you?” There was a pin drop silence not a single tick of clock or the noise of students from the corridor outside neither the hum of any kind of machinery nor any buzz of any traffic. I gathered my whole courage and started walking following the light of the moon coming from one of the windows. All the room was dark with no furniture like it was closed for 100 years. This grim place looked like it belonged to Frankenstein-era. I’ve never been here, I thought, I don’t belong here. Finding the door of the room, I walked out of it and I was walking so slowly afraid of bumping into something odd. As I stepped outside I couldn’t see anything except the fog. It looked as though I was in a forest even the light of the moon was diverted by all the fogginess. I walked for almost an hour in a foggy and dark place looking for the sight of something familiar, I walked and walked and walked and with each step, my heart beat was getting higher, I could hear my thumping and my footsteps on sandy pebbles but all the struggle led me to nowhere, suddenly I stopped, realizing that it’s the same place, where I started walking.
Everything was so peaceful except if I know where was ragu, which would at least lessen my worry. I heard someone laughing and my heart came into my throat. I turned around abruptly following to the sound of the laughter. I tried to catch and follow the dry laugh of something with my tired-tiny and fearful footsteps. I walked and suddenly a door appeared out of nowhere in this foggy night hell, approaching it I heard silence and the sound of running water like on the beach, gathering all the audacity I thought I didn’t have and with my trembling hands, I surprised myself and opened the door.
I was completely horrified and amazed with excitement with what I saw. I never saw something more beautiful than this, like standing on the door of heaven and the feeling that scenery gave me, I never experienced this odd and awesome feeling before, for a fraction of a second, my brain was filled with these horrific thoughts, I belong to this side of heaven but how is it possible? Am I dead? This cannot happen because I didn’t feel any pain. Is death that easy? No it can’t be because I watched my elders die with great pain, anxiety and resentment. No, I’m not dead, but the last thing I remember was getting in the bathroom and this thought brought me back to my senses and I became more agitated about ragu. So, what is it, where am I and where is ragu?
There were mountains on all the side of this heaven touching the sky. There were small houses on the steep path of every mountain and it was just amazing. I had always wished to live in this sincere and calm place. This whole place was illuminated with the light of millions of stars and between the two adjacent mountains was a waterfall, like in the middle of those sky touching mountains and It looked as though the water was coming from the milky way of the sky. What really took my attention was, between the waterfall was a round wooden table with two old school chairs. The table was decorated with white roses, as I love white roses. I walked towards those roses and I saw something on the table from afar, I gulped hard and slowly approached the table, it was a cake and I realized something familiar about that cake. Oh my God.
That’s the same cake which my mom made on my very fourteenth birthday but how can I remember that, but that memory seems like thousands of years ago. It was the same three layered cake which my mother baked for my all birthdays till I was off to college. The bottom layer was White raspberry with chocolate which my elder brother liked, the middle layer was coconut and lime which my eldest sister love and finally my favorite, the one with the pink champagne on top. I remembered that birthday very well as I nearly died if it wouldn’t have been for the safeguard who rescued me from drowning.
It was one of the winter nights and I was with my friends. We all were hanging out on the beach after I gave them my birthday party. It was nearly four-degree Celsius minus. I have always been known as a loser and a shy person both in high school and in college, but I don’t care what others say about me. All my friends betted on jumping in the water. I knew that they were just kidding and messing around and neither one of them want to jump in their death. Without thinking or noticing anything I plunged into the water. The freezing water hit me like sharpening needles sinking and deepening in my body. I heard my friends shouting behind me. I could hear the fear in their voices. But nothing mattered to me at that time. It was as though I wasn’t even myself, like something came over me. At first that hellish water shook my soul and after a while, I became easy and started trying to swim even though I didn’t know how to swim but I tried and very much got successful. My body became numb but I went on swimming against the tides. For a fraction of a second I feared of death, I feared that I don’t want to die like this. My lungs were full of water and gasping for air, my hands and legs were tired, my whole body was tired, every inch of it, telling me to stop and give up. But there was something, something inside me which kept on saying to go on, to go farther and to travel towards unknown. That inner voice kept me going. I knew that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone neither do I care what other think about this mad and crazy thing I just did, but in all this I felt peace. My arms and legs stopped and I closed my eyes and I don’t remember what exactly happened after. I woke up the next day in a hospital room, with numb eyes I saw my parents watching and crying me impatiently, and they told me what happened after I faint. A bodyguard saved me from drowning, my lungs were filled with water and I was almost dead but I didn’t hear what my parents were saying more about last night. I was thinking about that feeling I felt, that inner peace.
There was something else standing on the table something flashy. It was a birthday card with balloons and cakes drawn on it with hands. It looked as though a child has drawn it, bit of rough, scattered and unfocused. I took the card in my hand and instead of ragu’s name I read my name on it and I put it back on the table in that same position. That’s odd I thought.
I looked all around before opening; I hesitated not to open it but could not help myself with the damn curiosity. I slowly took that card in my trembling hands and opened it. There was written with a very neat and adult-like handwriting. That writing looked very similar but I couldn’t figure it out nor was I focused on it right now because of what I read next, it was written in French
“Blow the candles and make a wish but don’t open your eyes until you make a wish, you are meant to be here, LOVE YOU”
Fear got in my every nerve. I don’t know how to read even a single word of French but how is this possible? What does it even mean? What am I supposed to do now? I thought for a moment and wondered at the surrounding. At least I can wish for something good something to get me out of this freaking place. I closed my eyes and blew the candles hard and made a wish, “Help me God, I am having a bad feeling about this all stuff and I…” I heard footsteps behind me and startled, I turned back and just then I was interrupted when someone jerked me from behind my waist. The card falls from my hand and I jerked back and tried to come out of that person’s hold but that grip was getting tighter and tighter as I tried to untangle myself from that tight gripped hand and release myself from that fierce pain. I half screamed as he jerked me tighter. I screamed again and my voice echoed all around that place but nothing seemed to move from its place. He was firm as a stone. I hit him hard with my elbow with full strength in his ribs. He groaned and then he released me and I fell at the ground but I managed to sit up immediately without even realizing the sharp pain in my waist and my knees which were clearly bleeding badly and I started to run without bothering to see his face but as soon as I started to run, he yanked me hard by my hairs and again I fell back on the ground my face first. My nose started bleeding but he didn’t care. He started dragging me away from this hellish heaven and the soft ground was replaced by the sandy pebbles which were deepening in my thighs and feet. I pleaded, I begged him to stop dragging me to stop hurting me to release me from this pain. I tried hard to free myself from his intense grip but all in vain, his grip on my hair was hurting me, it was beyond bearable and then abruptly he stopped.
I knew something bad is going to happen to me but I was more focused on how to get away from this man of whom face I haven’t seen yet and wanted to know why is he doing this to me. I have, my whole life, stayed conservative only to myself and not harming a single soul not even a single ant. I don’t know what was happening to me and why was this happening to me. I heard tides of water and I tried to see my surrounding and realized it was my friend’s house and the beach just across her house, where we use to spend most of our summer vacations. I was just then struck with the grim feeling of anxiety, because I watched my best friend die right before my very eyes in the exact spot where I was lying and felt a single tear rolled down my cheek and I threw up.
I heard the crack of opening a door. My heartbeat stopped, I tried to look but it was blurry. I tried to focus and rub my eyes but nothing seems to make it clear. I could not just hear the laughter of the people from the other side of the door but also some soft music and clipping of glasses like there’s a party going on in the middle of nowhere. He started dragging me again towards that door. As he opened that door my eyes were filled with tears and joy. I saw my family, all of my friends, friends from my neighborhood, from school, from college and from university in that holy room talking and laughing with one another. For once I thought I am safe, I yelled, screamed and cried for help and shouted their names but no one listened as if I was invisible in that room, I was in a trance at that moment and couldn’t think of anything, that same bloody person started dragging me out of the room to some other unknown place and no one care to look at me. Fear took all over me. I felt something consistently hitting me inside my head and blank.
Startled, coming back to senses and the constant hearing sounded like the thumping of the heart. I couldn’t figure it out for few minutes, what was going around me or where I was, everything was getting clearer and visible. I saw a fan and that place was dark, there was not a single ray of light except the light coming from beneath the door and I saw some familiar posters of imagine dragons and one direction on the wall. It was my damn hostel room in which I’ve been living for the past two years of my psychology studies. With a sigh of relief, I thanked God that it was just a horrible bad dream. But there was something wrong with this place.
As I blinked again to clear my vision, there, in my room, were people around me, they were wearing masks; they looked like mad-doctors. With so many equipment’s and what’s this smell, I couldn’t yet figure it out but It was so odd and hospital-like. I heard one person said to another “Sam”. I sat up with a shriek and there was nobody around me. The constant banging was coming from the door as someone was pondering hard on it. It was ragu because she was shouting my name so hard. With a relief and hurriedly I opened the door. She was all sweaty, and she was crying and trembling. There was a very fierce pain in my throat. I ignored the pain and tried to speak but all it came was a dry and fail attempt. Without saying anything she gripped my hand so hard and pulled me out of the room with her. She started dragging me towards unknown direction. As the steps were getting fast and my surrounding was moving faster than we were walking, my hostel building started to change into something different, something peculiar, to a different building. It was a Hospital.
That horrible smell came back again and I felt something. That place seems so familiar. Those walls those doors and people; it was all very familiar like I have been here before. An unknown feeling struck in my stomach and I can’t quite put a finger on it, it was either pain or fear. It felt like I was about to lose someone closer. I again tried hard to speak to use my all strength. I merely whispered, “Why we are here in the hospital?” but she wasn’t uttering a single word and I don’t know whether ragu listened it or not. I had enough of the dragging and my fear was dominated by my anger.
I snatch my wrist from her hands and turning her face to me I shouted with all my might, “God, Ragu would you fucking tell me what is wrong?” she yelled back with more effectiveness, “why don’t you ask yourself huh, don’t you have a fucking idea, because of you he’s dead, just because of you” I was stunned; Who was she talking about? I don’t have any idea. I yelled back with equal intensity, “Are you out your mind ragu I didn’t do anything in fact I was the one who was dragged by you just now and now you are giving me a lecture on how I got someone else killed?” I thought she was high, “Preha it’s not a right time for your imagination, snap out of it! Don’t act like you don’t know anything, if you hadn’t fainted in the washroom and hadn’t got your head banged on the sink, he would have been here with us alright, with me and you just spoiled my birthday, my date and my perfect life, my everything!” I was dumbfounded after she filled those blank spaces. When the hell I tripped in the bathroom. Oh my god, my head, now I know what I got hit with. So, it wasn’t a dream and that man, that dragging… Shit shit shit. I said in confusion, “I was tripped, when? But I was in my hostel the whole time, sleeping. You yourself came banging on my door, you saw it for yourself.” “Don’t give me excuses if you wouldn’t have tripped, he wouldn’t have to ride that fucking bike in panic because of you. In hurry, he got hit by a bus all because of you.” I was exhausted by all this fuss. Now it was my time to interrupt her, irritatingly “Who the hell are you talking about?” I yelled at her. “Saif got in an accident, are you happy now to somehow let my fiancé get killed in a bike accident and it’s all just because of you. He was coming to help you and now look what happened” I closed my eyes and couldn’t believe what I just heard and after a while I couldn’t hear ragu crying so I opened my wetty eyes and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
There were two lovely children lying on the floor, for a moment, something came over and I felt relieved. As I walked towards them to see their faces and suddenly I saw blood on their clothes. A man came running towards me, shouting and tried to choke me, I heard a gunshot and that drunken man suddenly backed up and went pondering on the floor with a loud thump then what I saw I couldn’t believe it. I was… I was a holding… there was blood on my…. my hands and clothes and also a gun. I suddenly threw the gun away thinking that what have I done and have I… have I killed those innocent children and this man who suddenly came running and started choking me up? I faint.
I could hear the gentle drops of rain falling on the soft grass, but I couldn’t open my eyes. The sweet smell of tulips filled this place. My eyes were so high. Everything was so peaceful here. When I opened my eyes it was hard for me to gather up my senses, everything was blurry at first. The first thing I saw was the TV on which silent news were running. Gradually the room started to fill its objects. The shutters of the window were down so I couldn’t know it was whether day or night. There were posters of new born child, blood pressure controlling techniques, symptoms of Diarrhea. I sensed that I was in some kind of a hospital room. I tried to sit up but couldn’t lift neither my hands nor my legs. I forced to lift my hand but in vain. Fear came all over me. From the corner of my eye I tried to saw, to my horror my hands were tied as well as my legs. I couldn’t believe it and then I, with all my might, started screaming and tried to pull the tied belt from my hands. A man wearing a lab cot came running to me through the door and I yelled and screamed to get me out of this misery. To get myself free from the belts, my wrists were bloody and the faces of those two innocent children struck me. I became paralyze for a moment and the doctor gave me an injection which made my movement slow, my anger and my pain slowly fade away.
I was in the same room, when I woke up. I abruptly saw but my hands and feet were no longer tied. I was wondering what am I doing here. I was feeling dizzy and then I saw two same children one boy and a girl sitting on a wooden table with four chairs. A dog was sitting beside them on the floor whose name was Pluto as I read it written on the name tag. Those children were saying, “mommy we are hungry, give us something to eat”. I didn’t understand why they were saying me mommy because I’ve never been married in my life neither do I had any children. I heard someone calling my name, I looked at the children and they were talking to me but I couldn’t hear them. It just looked like as they were just lip-sing it. I again heard someone calling my name and someone was saying, “Come back Pri, come back “. Everything started filling with fog and I rubbed my eyes hard, but it keeps on foggy, afraid of this I closed my eyes. Startlingly, when I opened it I saw two people staring at me. One of them was the same person who gave me morphine and the other person was a lady wearing round spectacles like she was a school principle. They were saying something but I couldn’t figure it out what they were saying, then the lady left and I was conscious again, the doctor, wearing a humble smile said, “you’re alright and now in safe hands, get some rest as I can see from your face that you’ve many questions but all will be answered but first get some sleep”. As I tried to speak, all I could utter was a gasping sound and then he suddenly said, “Don’t try to speak just take some rest”. And first time ever, as long as I can remember, I slept like a child.
“She’s back again but I could tell from her face that she has a lot of questions, Aisha.” Doctor said. “I understand your concern but she just came back to the senses after so many time just let it be and don’t utter a single word coz it will just put her into depression, do you feel me saim?”, wearing round spectacle lady, Aisha replied with a real concern. “Yes I understand, I’ll try to resist myself from answering her all questions”, saim replied with a relief but irritated grown. “And moreover I still have to go through some tests to check whether she’s out of the danger or not, do I have your permission?”. “Do whatever test you want but just don’t utter a word, I don’t want her to go back to that stage again”, Aisha said with a warning look. “I understand because I know her stage very well” Aisha said with a sigh of relief. Gathering her backpack, she flew away and Sam knew where she must’ve gone in such hurry at this time of hour. FOR CIGGARETS when she’s relieved! (Got to fit somewhere)
It was autumn but I couldn’t tell for sure because I was still feeling that same dizziness. From the room window on my right, I could see the trees; they all looked like they lack spirituality and filled with empty soul, without any leaf. But it is always peaceful and serene, looking and observing nature. As far as I can tell I’ve always admired nature. I remember all my long walks in the woods just at the back of university. All other students were afraid to go there but I always selected woods because they are so peaceful and filled with nature. No matter the weather, my health I always took my walks on Sunday mornings. I was wondering that whether I’ll be able to walk again but I was more concerned about where, why and what am I doing here. A nurse came to my room and adjusted my vitamin drip. I asked her that where I am? But she without giving a single fuck went outside (that’s my fav line. Lol remove it after reading it). For a while I was thinking that what was wrong with me and tried to remember all my dreams, well it seemed like a distant dream now but it looked real back then. But I thanked god for giving me rest from that misery where I don’t even know what was happening to me. I was about to go into a deep reverie but a doctor came and I figured it out that he was the same. I wondered, does this hospital have no other doctor. He was smiling and maybe he knew what I was thinking because he said with a wide grin, “don’t think too much, I’m the same doctor who treated you”. I wanted to say that, treatment? But before I could say, the doctor which, who told me his name is Saim, read my expressions and said with some amusing proud as he knew me not for days but for years and years and years,” Oh pri, I’m sorry, I was restricted to talk anything personal. It’s not a time to ask questions just rest a little bit and when Aisha will be back” he stopped after seeing sudden strange look on my face, he continued, “Oh Aisha, she is the head of this asylum.” He instantly regretted that, “Shit I wasn’t supposed to tell you that either. Damn me, well, all your questions will be answered tonight so just rest and nothing else and just forget what I said to you”. It was like this doc exactly knew what I was thinking because before asking anything he was answering all questions on my mind. So instead of asking anymore questions I went back to sleep because I sensed that I was in the safe hands.
The five years of medical were a period of bliss and ultimate excitement for Saim. Since childhood, he has been addicted to biology. All the time he spent on studies, divided in two equal parts, consists of all other syllabus subjects and half on biology. He was so fond of this subject. He just didn’t study from his course books but he also took online lectures from scholars and had bought dozens of other books in this field, both botany and zoology which were mostly written especially for bachelor’s level but he read it anyway. He always believed that there is no thing as division of a single subject into different fields. Everything is as a whole or nothing. The most fascinated thing he liked about the subject was the word and its meaning, biology; the study of LIFE. He wasn’t an overall A grade student in his class at school, in fact he was considered as a mediocre student, but he scored 100% in biology and seeing his interest he got admission in Government college university in pre-medical. The time at gcu was the most exquisite and lucky time for him. Whenever he passed through those college gates, he always read a saying written on the entry door by one of the founders of the institute, and this always inspired and motivated him to do something for this college,
“Everyone is a hero in his/her own life, but when these heroes came together under one roof they are called Ravian’s”
The atmosphere at Gcu was like as though there is Heaven on earth near another gate of Heaven, the great King Edward Medical University, the most prestigious and elite institute for medical. Getting admission in KEMU is the dream of every pre-medical student. He always wanted to be a part of this medical university. And he knew that dreams aren’t easily to get fulfilled, he’d to work and work hard to achieve his dream his desire. Soon KEMU became an obsession for Saim. There is always that one person, who came as an angel, behind every successful student who brightens their inner light. In Saim’s life that angel was, Sir Inam-ul-haq, who enlightened and widened Sam’s range of knowledge in biology which proved much handy in near future. As it was also Sir inam-ul-haq desire to see his most significant student in KEMU. It was also Sir Inam’s dream to see Sam sitting on one of the benches of KEMU. Because Dreamers are each other mirrors. Nothing lasts forever, he didn’t want to leave gc after two years of education there, he wanted to get admission in gcu and wanted to study his bachelors and most probably after it, teach there, to teach what he learned but because of his old professor request, he went to KEMU and scored 92% marks in the entry level test which helped him to get 70% scholarship there. He still thinks about his heaven-like life at gc and those precious memories always brought tears to his eyes. But he knew that it’s not the time to regret or miss anything as he has a better future ahead. He worked hard; he fought hard against such tight competition in KEMU. He specialized in neurosurgeon. He made many references there as it helped him to get a practice job in Sir Ganga Ram hospital and a full time job in Gulab devi. After working there he wanted to move on to help others as it always has been his utmost desire. Then, One Day…
Aisha was an orphan at the age of ten and not because of the reason that her parents died. She was the only child of her parents. Their marriage was a wreck just after Aisha was born; everything was perfect before the birth of Aisha. Her father was a cab driver since he dropped out of college with her mother after they instantly married without the blessings from both the families. Working as a cab driver, that’s all he knows so he couldn’t fit into any other job. As Aisha was on her way, He couldn’t handle the responsibilities and her mother always complains about it. Her mother started working as a half time house-maid in couple of houses, to complete the necessitates of herself and her child. Due to the progressive needs of Aisha, her mother instead of taking intense care of her started hating her. Maybe her mother loved Aisha while she was inside her, but when she popped out she was neglected by both of them. In fact, they really wanted a son, even before their marriage. Because of the whining of Aisha and financial problem and her marriage failure, brought her loads of frustration and anxiety. As Aisha grew up with time and tide, her mother used to beat her all the time to get away from her frustration for a short period and next day it all started again. Her father not able to stand the beating usually stayed out of the house most of the nights spending time in the company of other girls and drinking in the pub. Her mother knew that, so instead of discussing the matter with her father, she beat the hell out of Aisha. It went on, unexpectedly, for ten years from worse to destruction of their marriage before Aisha’s father quit and left both of them without any notice. This is when her mother also left her to an orphanage after 2 months. That’s where Aisha spent rest of her life until she was 18. She was a blessed girl with exceptional skills. All she needed was appreciation and that’s what the sisters provided her with. School and College flew so quickly without even realizing by Aisha. She went to university to study psychology and left the orphanage with some sorrow because she was scared of the outer world and also she never stayed a whole day without seeing her sisters and mothers. But now she must go 150 miles away to study. Mother of orphanage always forced her to go and see the outer world and experience it worth a while. They supported her studies until she was able to pay and take care of her own self. She completed her MB, BCh and MSc from Ain Shams University Faculty of Medicine. As she had worked in a hospital as a part time worker and also had made clients she was playing in money so she further studied M.D, Ph. D in Psychiatry from the same university. She does her house job in Lahore psychiatrist hospital. She became so attached and fond of the hospital that she decided to work there after the completion of her practice. From then on she became a permanent part of this hospital and the hospital a part of her. Since then she’d been working and progressing step by step and now she’s the director in charge. She has faced so crucial and delicate patients in all her career but on one fine day she faced the most difficult patient in her life.
One Day, a regular patient came to him and he knew her for so long, since his internship days, he remembered her specifically because she had no child in her life and she always looked sad and un-happy. She always treated Saim as her own child. He always advised her to stay happy but she always silenced him with saying, “all this possession, all this life, for who?” She always came alone, so he got emotionally attached especially with this patient.
But today it was different because she was crying and nearly had a panic-attack sitting beside him, Sam calmed her and asked what the matter is and then she opened up as she no longer had more power to hide it. ‘They both had a son who was born abnormal and had died just yesterday. When he was born and doctors told him that he always will have this mentality disease and maybe only with great care this disease can be lessened. With this hope of light, his husband wanted it to be private so they admitted him to an asylum.’
He was shocked after hearing it but didn’t complain about telling him before because he respected their privacy. He gave her some anxiety and sleeping pills and advised her to take care of herself and her husband, then he called her driver to take her to home. When Sam reached home, he fell into reverie and deep thoughts about their son and he picked up the phone and started dialing.
The roads were clear as Sam set off from his house, Gulberg-1, towards Defense-5Y. It would’ve been difficult to reach there in his old VW beetle courtesy to his roommate, who lends him his Mercedes CLK, and just in time he reached there to the hospital where that child was admitted for 19 years ago.
It was a five story office home-like building, all around glass, crystal clear, perfect architect’s utilitarian fantasy, with Lahore psychiatrist hospital written on it in capital bold letters over the glass front doors. There was 20 miles of greenery as far as Sam could see and over the horizon was a thin line of sun just sailing its boat in the Ravi River. It was so calm and serene that no doubt that from such peace and far from maddening crowd, patients are treated and treated well until they are fully recovered, Sam thought, that’s why the ratio of more recovered patients are growing as the years moved on the chart of best asylum.
Its quarter to seven when he arrives greatly relieved that he’s not late as he walks into the enormous-glass, steel and white sandstone lobby. Behind the solid sandstone desk, a very attracted, groomed, blonde young woman, probably in her early twenties, smiles pleasantly at Sam. She’s wearing the lightest of the dress with white shirt and black jeans. She looks immaculate.
“I’m here to see Ms. Ayesha for Muhammad Saim.”
“Excuse me one moment, Mr. Saim.” She arches her eyebrows as I stand self-consciously before her blazing eyes. I almost felt shy. I wished that I’d burrowed something more attractive from Ali before leaving the house than coming here wearing a trouser and a polo T-shirt with a hood over it and ankle length boots. My hair was a total mess as was my beard. I just hope she doesn’t just judge me from this dressing of mine.
“Dr. Ayesha is expected. Please sign here, Mr. Saim. You’ll want the elevator on the right, press for the top floor” She smiles kindly at me, amused no doubt, as I sign in. She gave me a visiting card.
There were two guards patrolling the elevator who, seeing my card let me pass through. These two guards were wearing a full black suits looking like FBI agents with perfect hair and beard cut. I was faced with complexion for a moment until I pressed the top floor button of the elevator and the door closes.
She was a middle aged woman but not that attractive, maybe because of the fatigue and stress of work led her to this condition, but still had a pretty face. She had a somber but strict face and she looked tired. I told her about my intentions of coming and wanted to know about my patient son’s profile and enquired about his past conditions. Aisha told me everything after knowing that I just wanted to help his mother. After hearing the miserable condition of child, tears came into my eyes and I cried in front of her that death was a blessing in disguise for him. Aisha understood and handled the condition very well, as she was used to these types of conditions and did let me cry my heart out.
When I settled myself down, I asked her that I want to work and serve this hospital all my services and the people admitted here, with my soul. Aisha’s eyes burn into mine. I don’t know what she saw at that instant and asked when do I want to start.
That was when they started working together for the hospital. Aisha and Saim were working that hard for the first time. Soon they became deep friends and also started working on a charity for the asylum, in fact their asylum and the people they serve. This was when Sam understood what his professor told him in college about having feelings for your society and how much we can do for them by just devoting not our possessions but ourselves to them. And just the thought of his professor bring tears to his eyes.
Pri woke up with confused eyes, everything was spinning and out of focus but after a while everything became clear to her as she remembered that she was in a hospital. She still had a lot questions because she didn’t know where she was. She tried to stand out of the bed but with a bam fall to the ground. That’s why they tied me, Pri thought. Her knees hurt and her eyes burnt like someone have put stinging drops in her eyes. She after a while again tried to stand and this time the result was positive. She went to the door and opened it with nervousness and a little afraid of what she may saw. With great hesitation and passionate curiosity, she opened the door.
What she saw made her head spin and she vomit in the corridor. There were people doing all kind of crazy things like they all had gone bonkers. A female nurse saw her vomiting in the corridor and immediately came to help her up and called the caretakers to help her to get Pri up, to take her to her room. She buzzed Sam to check her up. Sam came hurriedly and checked her blood pressure which to his satisfaction was fine. Pri abruptly asked him thousands of questions while he was checking her blood pressure. He didn’t answer any and remained quiet. When she was silent and out of breath, he calmly told her that Aisha is coming right here and she’ll answer all of your questions. As he said it, Aisha came streaming from the door, and took a seat beside pri’s bed alongside saim and remained silent.
The room was silent except for the tick tock of the clock and the buzzing of the tube-light. After a while, just to get out of this awkward situation Aisha broke the ice by saying, “how are you feeling?” Pri burnt with anger thinking that I’m getting out of my head and she’s simply asking how am I feeling? She controlled her anger and told her she’s feeling better. Aisha seeing her anxious face, told her to ask as many questions as she like to both of them. It was there and then when Pri’s anger came all over her. She asked with fury, “where am I, what is wrong with me, why there are crazy people outside this room and where is my friend, Ragu?” They both were quite for a moment. Pri was losing her control and asked them “why the fuck you aren’t saying anything to me?” Aisha silently gestured Saim towards the side draw of pri’s bed. Saim, instantly understanding, went to the side of the bed and fetch the mirror and nodding to Aisha, gave it to Pri. Pri watching Aisha’s nod, confusedly grabbed the mirror and looked into the mirror. What she saw, she nearly lost conscious.
She dreadfully looked right in the eyes of Aisha and halted for a moment, she lost all the words and questions she wanted to ask. She looked outrageously in the mirror and shrieked with all her might. Saim, handling the situation, went to calm her up but she pushed him backwards and then she screamed,” What the fuck have you done with me, what’s wrong with my face?”
Pri’s face wasn’t of a 20-year-old girl, it was of 45 years old women with wrinkles under her eyes and her facial muscles were wobbly. Aisha was calm as she knew and estimated that it would happen.
She said with calm accent, “what did you remember the last of your memory?”
“I was in a hospital with my friend Ragu and she told me…oh my god, she told me…that… that her boyfriend died because of me.” Pri cried with a restless face. Saim was concerned about her because he feared that she will go back to the previous stage again.
Aisha let her calm up and then said with deep frown, “I’m sorry to hear that but that was, that incident was 25 years ago.”
Pri couldn’t believe what she was listening and fell into a deep trance, looked into the mirror with no expression on her face and threw the mirror right into the face of Aisha with such fierce force but fortunately she missed her face from miles.
Aisha had enough, she continued “when your friend brought you to another hospital, they checked you up but couldn’t find any symptoms of the disease so they had discharged you after 4 days as the injuries to your head weren’t that deep. After…”
Pri interrupted her saying with a frown of irritation, “symptoms, disease, what kind of symptoms, symptoms of what… what disease?”
“I’m afraid to tell you that when you came to us 15 years ago, we found symptoms of mental disease, schizophrenia.” Pri wanted to die at that exact moment without hearing more of it, without asking any questions. She just wanted the earth to swallow her alive. Saim was standing in the corner watching pri’s expression agitatedly.
Pri said with a sign of relentless, “but you said that, before that the memory I had of my friend was 25 years ago and now you’re telling me that it’s been 15 years since I got here, why the hell you’re not telling me precisely what have I been doing for the last twenty-five fucking years and I couldn’t remember a single fucking thing.”
Aisha looked at saim then at pri and with a couple of deep breath said,” After you left the hospital 25 years ago, you went back to your normal life with a regret of your friend’s boyfriend death. You completed your bachelors and afterwards you got married to a friend of yours who studied with you in master level. You had a happy life for first couple of years and you had twin children too, a boy and a baby girl. Everything was going just you imagined it to be until your husband lost all his money, property and everything he had, in gambling. He became a drunken person from then on and didn’t come home even for weeks. He was jobless and angry when he came to the house. He started beating the kids and when you tried to stop him he beat the hell out of you too. As he didn’t have a job so you started working in a hospital. But the beating didn’t stop and one night you thought you had enough. You…” Aisha stopped and with a sob said, “You… Killed your… your children while they were asleep and when your husband came home, saw the gun in your hand and tried to choke you to death, you killed him too. When police brought you into their custody to ask you questions, you didn’t remember a thing and starting screaming that, my kids are waiting for me in the house with their drunken father and that is when the police brought you to us 15 years ago. We ran through some tests and came to a result that you’re facing schizophrenia. Since then, doctor Saim has been treating you he’ll explain it to you about your illness as he knew about it more than anyone other person.”
Saim with some hesitation said, “We’ve been facing quite some delicate moments with you right from the time you came to us. We thought about many times that now you’ll get better, that your disease is cured but it always results in vain. Sometimes we thought you were, ummm, like you know, we didn’t get your pulse and we thought you were… dead, but your inner power always saves you and this always amazed us. This is the first time we saw more aggressive positive results in last 15 years and I think we’ve pretty much recovered your disease, that’s why we were vacillated in telling you your life story. We feared that we may lose you for this time, forever but till now you’re holding up pretty remarkably.” Pri took a long moment to absorb all her life story from two strangers which she met two days ago but they are those kinds of strangers who knew her more than herself.
After a long while, Pri asked with ambiguity about the last memory she remember, “What happened to my friend, Ragu? And my parents, do they know about me? Where are they? Do you have any contact with them?” They both looked at each other and then Aisha whispered, “As for ragu, she came to visit you many times here but when you fell into coma, she… she took her life… I’m so sorry.” Pri started sobbing loudly because ragu was the only person she remembered and she was the only person she had as a family and she abruptly asked her about her parents, “your parents came to see you entire their life until they were killed in an accident” It was difficult to absorb these miserable details and it hurts her that the only family she had, her parents, ragu, was now gone and she is alone now in this world full of strangers.
“Do you have any more questions, Pri?”
Pri looked at Aisha lifelessly, she quickly remembered, “So does that mean, I’m in…I’m in a… all those crazy people in the corridor, am I in a mental as…” Preha got her answer watching sudden change of face expressions of Aisha.
Before leaving the room, Aisha stood up and took Pri hands in hers and said with a remorseful voice, “Everything would be fine, you’re in safe hands and now if you trust yourself even a little bit, you’ll be better like you used to be and then you can have your life back again” Pri hardly gave a smile but Aisha knew that this girl won’t give up easily, she’s stronger than anyone, gave her a loving smile and left the room.
Preha was a God-gifted-smart girl. Since childhood, she had a unique way of reading others mind. At first all her family thought it was just sweet coincidences but Pri had other thoughts about it. She had a happy childhood with all her siblings and parents. Pri was very different from her siblings in a unique distant way. Her thinking towards stuffs were different, her dressing was odd right from the start, she wore dresses very similar to the tribes in Africa, with long ear-rings, fingers full of rings, eyes pitch dark with mascara, wearing Weskh Collar around her neck. Her parents thought it was just some early teenage fashion. But as Preha grew more and more into those kind of stuff her parents got worried and they discussed that was exactly they were afraid of and they knew that it was time to tell Preha about her real parents before she heard it from someone else. She was sixteen at that time.
They summoned her one night and told her everything about her real mother who gave birth to her during civil war in Nigeria where after her birth her mother abandoned her outside adoption house but she was caught red-handed and she was forced to sign in all her details and reasons behind this horror of this innocent child. That was there they flew to help the poor kids and adopted Pri. The nurse warned them that she was a gypsy daughter but in spite of believing in genes affects they both adopted her and loved her more than their own children. Preha took this very calmly and said nothing other than, “no matter what, you are my real parents and I love both of you” she wasn’t curious about her real parents nor does she enquired about her real parents, which seemed odd to her adopted parents, and the matter was buried right there and then. Pri continued her life the way it was before as if nothing serious happened. But she cried everyday inside for two years and after two years, she left her family to pursue her career, her passion. She moved to other city for her bachelors where she met her roommate Ragu. She still sometimes visits her parents and siblings. They love her very much and she in return to them.
Saim remained with Pri for the rest of the night trying to comfort her. They shared their life stories with each other and Saim told her time here in this asylum. It was a complete rewind of her previous fifteen years. Saim told Pri about his family, his education life, his hobbies. Pri was feeling relaxed with Saim, they both talked about their past as pri don’t have much so mostly saim talked and Pri, with a smile on her face, listened with full responsiveness and sometimes also gave out a mini laugh. She told Saim about her birth mother how she abandoned her but she doesn’t care it anymore about her real parents because they had their reasons and moreover she believed that everything happens for a reason and it was exactly the reason that she had a happy childhood and loving parents back home. They run every tests on pri to which she happily agreed and all the results show no sign of any disease. Between the whole procedure of tests, pri and saim had a very good and affectionate time which they both feel deep down in their hearts. They discharged Pri after two months from asylum, after her recovery. These two months were hard on Pri and sometimes she was lost in such deep thoughts that it was impossible for her to come back early. It was Saim who took care of her, talked with her. They became so close as they shared same literature and music taste. They both loved and admired Paulo Coelho, F. Scott Fitzgerald and other classic writers. As they discharged her she didn’t had a place to live and she didn’t want to see her adopted family so saim gave her a place to live with him. They were already so close with each other and they knew everything about each other and precisely nineteen days later, they married.
The marriage was very short as it consists of only close relatives and friends of Saim and as Pri was concerned she knew nobody other than Aisha at her wedding. It was the happiest day for both of them. They were so happy and joyful.
The next day they flew to the north hills to enjoy their honeymoon. There they spent the time of their life with such a serene environment and living between the mountains with perfect weather that’s what they hope for. They stayed there for a whole week and then they moved back to the city to their new house. It was white washed exactly the way Preha requested Saim but it wasn’t yet completely furnished because they planned it to do it together when they move in to their new home sweet home.
For saim, the married life was that he had never imagined and dreamed of, for Pri it was a new life, a new road, a new Beginning which she took it very happily and thanking Lord for giving her such a caring husband and a beautiful life.
It was risky for Preha to give birth to a child so they adopted a beautiful baby girl together and they named her Shan-e-Fatima because Saim always wanted a daughter and wanted to give her that name, Pri was more than happy to name her whatever her husband wanted to name her. Saim still worked in the hospital with Aisha. He was working more hardly then before and pri always told him to take some rest from the work as it fatigued and made him weak because he didn’t care about his eating habit as well as his health. He was growing weaker and weaker but as pri was faithful and loving wife; she took care of her husband, his eating habits and his health. She always packed his lunch for work with her daughter’s lunch for school. As far as for Pri, her time flew so fast that just now Fatima was all day in her lap then she started toddling and then she started speaking words, sentences and even started conversations, then walking and then school. It all happened in a blink from the lap to the school that whenever pri looked at her daughter she often thought that how big she has grown. Fatima was in second grade and was far ahead then her class mates. Fatima’s teachers often called Pri and Saim to tell them how aggressively she’s progressing in the class. It was a proud moment for both of them and they both cried happily in front of the teacher with a wide grin across their face.
On the Valentine’s Day, their fourth valentine together as a couple, Pri made arrangements for the romantic night to spend with her husband. She cooked Saim’s favorite food, decorated the room with red and valentine day’s special balloons. She also dropped Fatima to her grandpa’s house after her school. She was waiting desperately for Saim to come home later that night. She was almost bored as there was nothing special on television; suddenly she saw someone’s reflection in the television standing behind her. She abruptly turned, saw Ragu standing there with a gun in her hand and there was blood all across her face, her dress was all bloody and it was tripping down to carpet but the carpet was clean and had no spot of blood. Pri froze for a moment, she was shocked to see her in such a nasty condition, she thought that she may vomit any time now. Pri gasped for breath to speak to ragu but couldn’t find any space so she stood up and said with her mouth open, “ra…ra…raguuu… wha… What… didn’t you di…?” Ragu shrieked so hard that pri had to put her hands to her ear but still her ears were so much hurting that she thought her ear-drums would burst open.
Ragu said with dry uniform and in a whispering voice, “You did it. You killed me and my husband. Now you have to pay for it.” Pri was shocked that what she was saying. Preha stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, she heard her heart beat in her hears. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem. She fell into a deep trance and she thought that how could she had lived so happily when she had destroyed two lives. She didn’t deserve this life, this beautiful life then she thought of her daughter and it was then she feared of dying and she cried mercifully saying, “stop it ragu just stop it put the gun down, just put the gun down, I have a daughter, not for me but for her sake please forgive me, just put this gun down. Just listen to me calm down.”
Pri heard Saim’s whisper from the kitchen door. Saim cried out loudly saying, “Pri, what are you doing? Put the gun down? Where is Fatima? Pri just tell me what happened? Just put that fucking gun down?”
Pri looked towards saim and then towards Ragu, she was still standing in front of her. She kept begging for mercy from Ragu.
Saim cried shockingly, “who are you talking to Preha, just put that gun down, you are not yourself. We will deal with this later Preha, just give me that gun.”
“No she will kill me Saim, please save me from her saim please, she will kill me and our daughter” Sam run upstairs towards Fatima room and didn’t find her, he searched whole house but could find her daughter nowhere. He ran with panic downstairs and enquired with a shout about Fatima but he stopped abruptly, seeing Preha putting the gun in her mouth. Saim looked into her eyes but couldn’t find her, he begged her to stop. Preha placed the gun in her mouth and said in a dry whisper more to herself, “It is better to die like a human than to live like a monster”