‘Hi Doctor! Are you ready?’
‘Yes, sir,’I smiled and looked up at the senior heart specialist. We both headed to the operation theatre. Every time the medical staff enjoyed the fun whenever senior most Dr Arjun- the heart specialist, was accompanied by me, mostly because of our contrasting heights.
Dr Arjun was thin, tall, half bald and dark complexion and his shining teeth with broad jaw bone added complements to his personality. He was very popular among his staff because of his descent behaviour. I was really inspired by his devotion towards work and endless effort to encourage his juniors. It looks so funny when we walk together!
Before reaching at the OT, on the corridor he was consulting with me time and again that I must keep patience and brave heart to do a successful operation. Like an obedient student, I was nodding my head with full consent ‘yes sir’, ‘yes doctor’.
‘You remember doctor, the patient is in a little complicated condition. A little mistake could be fatal! So we should be extra careful, right?’ Dr Arjun alerted me softly.
‘Yes. I am not afraid of any complication till you are with me though! Your supervision is more than enough,’I passed the remark politely. He really deserved that. At 70 plus, hardly I had seen any doctor who was so proficient, stable at his work. Sometimes, I felt as if his hands carried magic!
We entered the OT. Everything was ready. The nurses welcomed us with courtesy. The patient was lying down on the operation table unconscious. I felt little cold feet as I looked at the patient. ‘What would happen, if I fail to operate successfully?!’ But I didn't want to show my weakness to Dr Arjun.
He was so smart that out of my slightest eyes expression, he could read my mind. Perhaps he was so experienced, it didn't take much time to study my feelings. ‘Dr Vina! Go ahead. I’ll just supervise you by your side. Well, break a leg!’ he whispered with gesture.
I had no choice! While my heart missed a beat, the next moment I put courage and started the operation under his supervision. Like a machine, my hands were jingling with the instruments. It was over after long three hours! I had no clue where this courage came from!
When I saw the time, it was already 9: 40 pm.
‘Excellent effort, Doctor Veena!’ he said while coming out of the OT.
‘Thank you sir! It's my pleasure!’ I commented.
I was totally drained out. I turned my face to the night duty warden and waved hand. With a glimpse, I noticed her strange look towards me. I had no more strength to ask the reason.
Wishing goodnight to Dr Arjun, I strolled to the parking area. It took half an hour to reach at home. Whatever was left in the fridge, I put it on the microwave and served on the table. Shuffling my mobile, I finished my dinner, put it on the sink and rushed to the bed for relaxation.
Suddenly my phone buzzed. ‘At this time?!!’ I yelled but took the call. One of the doctors was on the other side. I could recognise his voice.
‘What happened doctor? Everything is ok?!’
‘Where were you? We are waiting for you for four hours! Please come, hurry up.’
‘Wait- waiting? For what- why?! I was operating with Dr Arjun today till late night, and have just reached home. But tell me- what's up?’
‘You are with who- whom Veena? Whose name did you say?’
‘I..I don't get you Doctor! Please be clear! You're scaring me now,’ I just exploded.
‘Veena, come to the south Sarania funeral ground.’
‘Veena, there is no time to discuss. Just hurry up or you would miss the last rituals.’
‘But- tell me who…’ I heard the disconnected sound.
My curiosity increased time to time to know who the person among us. However, I drove the car and reached at the funeral ground. At the entrance gate three four doctors were discussing, must be about the dead person. With full of anxiety, I got down from my car asked, ‘Hello, who has passed away?’
One of them said, ‘Dr Arjun passed away! Didn't get the message?’
‘What- Dr Arjun?! Are you kidding me? This is not a time to joke, Doctor, please. Seriously, tell me, who?’
He became offended with my answer.
‘Dr Veena! I am not kidding. Go and check yourself. For four hours, we were waiting for you, only because you were working under him. That's it.’
I was still grinning at them when he said ‘Veena, I am serious! Dr Arjun had gone to Vasai, while coming back he met a fatal accident, and died on the spot,’.
My face left its colour. I trembled and somehow managed to get my voice out.
‘Dr Arjun was with me just three hours before in the OT. He was assisting me in the operation although he didn't take active part. He was there. How can I believe you?! Impossible!’
‘You have gone crazy, Veena! Come- come with me.’ He walked fast, I followed him quickly.
I was taken aback looking at his mortal body lying down on the pile of woods for the last ritual!! ‘There is no way it could have happened!’ ‘If it happened four hours before, then who was with me??’ I prattled myself. I was about to fall down but luckily saved by my colleague stood next to me.
‘Are you ok Veena?’ Dr Sameer, a close colleague, asked me very soberly.
‘No- not at all. I think I would vomit, my head is reeling badly. I am losing my senses. How can it be possible, Sameer? Believe me, he was with me for continuous three hours! Ask the nurses present there.’
Sameer hold my shoulder, shook it and said, ‘Ok, ok relax Veena! I do believe. We will see. Just be normal!’
‘Sameer, you know what? Let me talk to the warden.’
‘Why suddenly the warden? Anything wrong?’
‘Just- just a minute.’ Hurriedly I called her number.
‘Yes, Mrs Jersy, warden of Joshi Hospital. May I help you, ma’am?’
‘Mrs Jersy, Dr Veena speaking. Can you tell me who was with me while coming from the OT?’
‘Oh! Dr Veena, please don't mind. I was surprised who you are talking with! The nurses were behind you and nobody else was there. I am so sorry doctor! That's why I was stunned looking at you! You were gossiping with yourself, Doctor. No one was there.’
No more I could resist myself, thrust down on the burial ground badly, in sudden deep shock and grief! When his last ritual began, I joined my hands, bow down my head and with full of tears whispered, ‘Doctor! You are truly an example of a beacon for someone in need! You are one among millions!’