Saturday, September 15, 2012

No stranger bond - 6

(This is the sixth part of a short story No stranger bond. You can find the full story here.)

On the day of their next session, once both sessions had started, the technician came and told both Shuja and Sharada somberly, one by one that Dr. Vinay Bhalla had asked both of them to come and meet him along with their family members immediately after the dialysis session. The technician had no clue about what the doctor wanted to talk to them about.

It was pretty obvious to both however. It had to be about the fights they were having. Sharada grew worried. What if Dr. Bhalla asked her to leave the unit and go elsewhere for dialysis? She couldn't go anywhere else. This unit was so close to her house and it was convenient for Bala and Madhu to pick and drop her as well. What could she do now? The damage has already been done. All because of that old man! Why did he have to come to this unit at all?

Shuja was more calm about it. He believed he had done no wrong. If Dr. Bhalla asked him about it, he would tell him confidently about each incident. He would even ask the staff of the unit to corroborate. I am not going to let an old hag spoil my life. I will protest. I have done no wrong. I am quite clear about this.

Sharada called Madhu and told her about the meeting. Shuja also let Masih know that he would need to spend some more time after the session.

After the session as the four of them waited outside the unit for Dr. Bhalla to become free, Masih and Madhu started talking.

"Why don't we resolve this right here?", Masih suggested to Madhu. "That way we can tell Dr. Bhalla that we have settled the dispute and promise him that nothing needs to be done."

Madhu agreed. "Yes, definitely. We are all comfortable here. Why spoil things?"

Masih counseled both his father and Sharada. "See Abbu, see Aunty, maybe both of you have some differences. However, you are both mature adults. You must realize that going to another unit is going to be very difficult for both of you. And it is also going to be very difficult for your families. You are now used to this unit, the staff, Dr. Bhalla. Do you really want to go to another unit?"

There was no response. Both looked away.

Madhu explained to Sharada, "Amma, forget about the problems we would have. Think about your convenience. You are so happy here. We don't know what kinds of technicians we will find in other units. I have heard such horrible stores about people getting infected with strange diseases and all."

Masih said to Shuja, "Abbu, you have had enough problems, right? Do you want to suffer more? You are grown up now! You cannot fight like kids!"

Shuja responded, "Ok, so what do you want me to do? Beg for forgiveness for no fault of mine?"

Sharada was shocked. "No fault of yours? What do you mean by that? Along with your kidneys, you have lost your brains also, old man!"

Shuja couldn't imagine what he had just heard. He shouted back, "Lost my brains? And you have lost your character. At least I have that intact!"

Sharada screamed, "What? What did you just say? You called me characterless?"

Madhu yelled out, "Stop it! You will fall sick! You should not get so excited!"

Sharada said, "You heard what he just called me? You heard? Never in my life have I been treated like this. Oh God! What have I done to deserve this? Why did you not take me away also with my husband?"

Masih pleaded with his father to keep quiet. Shuja could not let his anger go so soon however. He said angrily. "God has no place for a woman like you! The Devil would however willingly take you!"

Sharada gave up. She started crying inconsolably.

Masih begged his father to keep quiet.

All the patients and their attenders in the room watched the fight intently wondering how it was going to end. Masih and Madhu felt totally helpless.

Just then, Dr. Bhalla rang the bell and his secretary came out of his room and said, "Mr. Shuja Mohammad, Mrs. Sharada Subramanyam?"

Shuja and Masih went in first. Sharada wiped her tears and Madhu helped her into the room.

All four of them were tense. What would Dr. Bhalla tell them? Surely it wouldn't be anything good.

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