She could hear hushed voices of people talking in the other room, people close to her, people who she knew cared about her; yet she could not understand what they were hiding from her. She tried to listen hard but the outside traffic and the low rumbling of the air conditioner did not allow her. After some time which felt like ages she got up from her chair. Although her knees hurt a bit making her realize she was not young anymore yet she was strong and bold enough to demand her answers. How much ever they love her they have no right to hide things from her as if she was weak and could not bear the truth. Yet she moved towards the room half afraid of what she may come to know. She crossed the room in 3 swift steps and looked behind the flowing curtains, her heart skipped a beat. Perhaps it was better that she had not gotten up. Still curious she tried to look what or who was under the white sheet; she realized tears had started flowing down her cheeks. She wanted to see and make sure it wasn’t her worst fear coming true but tears had blurred her vision and then suddenly she saw.
Parvati opened her eyes and realized it was just a dream, a very bad dream. She looked at her side and saw the old man with grey balding hair snoring next to her. Earlier when she was young she didn’t like the snores, she was a light sleeper and they disturbed her a lot but these days she was glad for them. She could hear the birds chirping outside, the bells of a nearby temple ringing, it must be morning she thought. She checked the time, it was 10 minutes to 6AM. She knew it was useless to go back to bed now. While brushing her teeth she saw an old and wrinkled face looking back at her. She looked at her reflection and thought how beautiful she used to look once. She saw the creams and facewash her daughters had given her and for a second thought to use them. But then she chided away the thoughts and just used plain water as always. After some time she went in the balcony to listen to her favorite morning music and enjoy her tea with her lovely plants. Parvati was very fond of plants since childhood. In youth she was very busy to invest time in her hobbies and likes but now it was different. In her small garden there were many plants – silver jade, pothos, aloe vera, money plant etc. She treated them like her own children and it seemed they treated her back like a mother. Music and tea were her other passions. She loved soft music, a gift to her from her father and tea, from her mother. Life was like that for her and Shirish, quiet and simple. But they were not a boring couple at all, they had a big friend circle and occasionally went for vacations and although married, their kids always wanted their help in shopping. Life was good but Parvati knew they were getting old. Both of them were diabetic patients staying together alone. That’s why she was lately very particular of their eating habits. This dream of her was actually her worst fear and she didn’t want to think about it again… ever.
And then it happened. It was summer time, Parvati had forgotten about her dream. Her son and his family had come to stay with them over holidays. Aarav was tall and fair with broad shoulders, something he had taken over from his father and they both sounded same. That night was very sweet, with kids running in the playground, Shirish, Aarav, and their daughter in law, Aakriti, discussing politics. She was sitting with them and quietly capturing all this in her mind to relish it later. They slept late that night to be woken up at 5AM by Shirish. He was perspiring heavily and seemed short of breath. Parvati ran and called Aarav and they rushed to the hospital. That 10 mins drive had been her longest journey till date. She suddenly remembered her dream and hated herself for that.
It had been a month after that and still she felt like it was yesterday. She recalled how Shirish had helped her in kitchen to cook variety of dishes and had stocked up the fridge with fruits and ice creams for the kids. How she had worried about the expenses as they were living on pension and he had skided away saying he still earned enough to feed his family. How they had come to the hospital and after numerous checkups doctors had confirmed that they need to operate him for Heart surgery. Their other children had arrived as soon as they heard the news. People all around her were talking about bills, doctors, checkups, procedures but her mind was fixed on one thought – it can’t be true. They still had so many places to go, so many things to see, so many plans to fulfill. Suddenly a loud snort brought her out of her thoughts. She looked besides her and saw Shirish sleeping. A tear escaped her right eye and ran down her cheek. It was all over, she thought. All what was left now was the path to recovery. She saw the time, it was almost 6 but today she wanted to sleep a little longer and so she did holding the strong hands of this man whom she loves a lot.