Third episode of short story collection – Payoff.
The next day, early morning as suggested by the doctor, Sharada reaches the hospital with Shalmali, totally perplexed. Aman joins her as she called him to know whether he is the one who’s found the donor and if he is not she still wanted him to be there as a support. But he is not the one. They meet the doctor in a while. Doctor confirms that the person helping will arrive soon. The doctor couldn’t discuss more as he had to go for his routine checkup round. Sharada and Aman feel these moments heavier and more sluggish to pass by.
About a quarter an hour passes; the hospital is not crowded yet. Doctor calls upon Sharada and Aman. She enters the cabin with hasty feet. There is a young man sitting in the chair. Sharada takes another chair nearby. Doctor introduces the man as Mr. Kartavya Raychand, a lawyer. He is the son of Mr. Satyendra Raychand, one of the most distinguished and successful lawyers in the city. Kartavya is here as a legally authorized representative for donating his late grandmother’s cornea for Shalmali. It was Mrs. Ambika Raychand’s wish to donate the eyes after her death. She has died at the first blush of the morning today; her cornea must be donated within 06 hours of her death.
After this brief introduction, doctor asks Sharada if she is ready for this. They need to admit Shalmali right now. Sharada is unable to respond. She finds this man an angel to light up her daughter’s life. Aman takes the charge and tells doctor to start the procedure. They take Shalmali to get admitted. Sharada and Aman are sitting out of the operation theatre after an hour. Kartavya could have gone but he is still here to confirm that everything goes well and he is concerned about it to be successful also. Sharada walks to him.
Sharada: “I am sorry for your grandmother. I don’t have words for what you have done for us. I only can bless you and thank your family.”
Kartavya: “No need to thank us aunty. It was her wish to be alive forever after she leaves. So, we only are helping her to stay with us!”
Sharada looks at this young man with eyeful of gratitude. She thanks God for giving few such people to the cruel world to make it a place worth living.
The operation is successful. Within a few weeks Shalmali gets an improved vision too. Kartavya has met Sharada once or twice after that. Sharada’s life goes about to be on the track one more time. Her days are cloudless and nights are partially radiant. Kandarp sometimes surfaces but Shalmali stands by her mother holding her firmly. After Shalmali’s sight has been restored, Gautam’s mother has asked for an apology and has requested to let Shalmali be her daughter-in-law as Gautam still loves her. But Shalmali refuses the proposal, moving on in life.
Aman has met police several times almost reaching the person responsible for the accident. Time really seems to be changing.
One evening, Sharada just has reached home after office. Doorbell rings, there’s Aman. He is heavy in his head. Looks little disturbed.
He starts slowly: “Police has found the convict who has killed Kandarp…”
Sharada listens composedly.
Aman continuing, “…You won’t believe if I give you the name. He is…..”
To be continued…
You may like reading this short story collection also.