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Inseparable Strangers

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'

‘Just a kiss... only one kiss.’ Ankita pleaded with childlike cuteness. This was the first time she had forgotten my birthday.  This was the first time in fourteen years that she wasn’t the first person to wish me in the midnight, neither did she come early morning to go to the temple with me. Fourteen years, such a long time, our relationship had seen many hurdles and withstood against all odds. She was a person who would celebrate each of our milestones, like the day we met for the first time, the day I had proposed her, the day we argued and fought over a petty issue for the first time and the day we kissed for the first time. This was not all, she had also started celebrating the day she had caught me smoking, amid my protest the celebration continued for two years, she would wear a florescent yellow dress (the colour I hate to the core) for the entire day to mark her protest, until I left smoking.

‘Come on Abir, this was the first time na. One mistake can be forgiven.’ She said. We were in my room, I was sitting on a chair and she was standing in front of me, wearing that half sleeve blue T-Shirt, I had gifted her on her last birthday.

‘First time huh... Had I forgotten your birthday...

‘I would have killed you.’ She said under her breath interrupting me, then raised her pitch. ‘See, I am your sweetie baby na, can’t your forgive my just one mistake... Now give me a kiss.’ She pleaded again tilting her head to one side. She had that amazing quality or perhaps I had that biased weakness for her, I could never keep my anger for a long time, but this time I was determined that I would be angry with her at least for one day.

‘Just two months are left for our marriage and you have started forgetting my birthday, I am not sure what is going to happen after our marriage.’ I said distracting myself from looking into her enticing eyes for a long time and get hypnotised by them.

‘Oh my sona is angry with me. Look at your face; you are looking like a chimpu.’ She said pulling my chin. She looked into my eyes for a few seconds, and then sat on my lap. ‘Do you really want to know what will happen after our marriage?’ She said bringing her face close to mine. I could feel her uneven breaths mixing with mine. I could listen to her heartbeats echoing with mine. Her fingers were lost inside my hair, she pulled my face towards her, and our lips were locked. The kiss went deeper and deeper, until my phone rang. It was a call from the hospital, perhaps some emergency. ‘I love you more than you can ever imagine.’ She whispered in my ear just before breaking the embrace.

I was a doctor in the local city hospital. After completing my post graduation in medicine, I took this job. There were many offers, extremely lucrative, but I had to forego all of them because they wanted me to leave the town, which was not acceptable to me, not because I loved my small town where the walls of your houses are so thin that even the whisper inside your house is heard miles away. I was in this town only because of Ankita.

Ankita was always worried about me joining Medical. Aren’t medical student vulnerable to fall in love with their classmates? But that never happened with me, in fact with the time my love for her became more profound. But, my love was not enough to annihilate Ankita’s inferiority complex, which rather kept on growing since my rise and her unexpected fall in the studies. She was a good student but even after her genuine efforts and my unconditional support, her performance could never improve. Her inferiority complex or perhaps her insecurity rose to a level where she never wanted me to be away from her easy reach. Phone Calls late in the night were becoming regular, she complained many times that she was having sleepless nights. There was only one solution to all this, to get married.

Ankita, though was excited after the date of the marriage was finalised, her situation didn’t improve. She started worrying about many things now. She was living under a continuous fear that there were evil forces working against us and they will destroy our marriage. At times all this would frustrate me. I ignored her and that was my mistake. A mistake that was unpardonable. A mistake that would turn into a sin, which could never be purged.

On the day of our marriage just before I was about the leave my house with the barat, I received a call from Anikita’s father. Ankita’s missing, he had said with a shaky voice, she had gone to collect her marriage dress but didn’t return.

***

‘Hi, Doctor, why am I here?’ Ankita asked with a heavier voice.  Her voice reflected the confusion and uncertainty she must be feeling inside.

‘ohh.. nothing much. You are perfectly alright, I will discharge you tomorrow.’

‘Why tomorrow, I want to go home now. Mom must be waiting for me.’ Her voice started shaking. She looked around. Sunrays filtered through the netted veil of the window fell on the ground and made a square of light. ‘You know doctor, with those lights on the ground; I can make many figures with my hand.’ She looked at the square of light for some more time. ‘What has happened to me doctor?’ She turned her face.

‘Nothing... Nothing at all. Did you finish your breakfast?’

‘No I don’t want to eat. I am dieting you know. Aruna, my friend, she has gained so much of weight; everybody has started to taunt her. I don’t want to be like her.’

‘No, you should eat whatever the nurses offer you, otherwise how will you become healthy? We may find it difficult to discharge you. You want to go home, right?’

She nodded. The nurse came and fed her. The breakfast was served in a fibre plate, an exception in the entire nursing home where the meals were served in steel plates. Once she was done, the nurse wiped her face with a wet tissue.

‘I want to see a mirror.’ Ankita demanded.

‘You are looking very beautiful, I am telling you. What is the need for the mirror? Abir will be very proud of you.’ The nurse said after combing her hair and left. The name Abir brought strange changes to her facial expression, it was perhaps shyness mixed with anger.
‘Doctor, you know Abir’s my best... friend, but I am angry with him. He didn’t come to see me today.’ After sitting quietly for some time, she said.

‘Oh really, then why don’t you make me your friend. I will prove to be a good friend, I tell you.’

‘hmmm... But you are too old.’ She said with a smile.

‘So what, a young lady like you and a bit older... okay a lot older man like me can be friends. I may not be able to replace Abir, but I assure you, I will be a great friend.’

‘Don’t take his name, I think he has forgotten me. I am not sure when was the last time we met; I don’t remember his face clearly.’ Her nose had become red. She was angry, really very angry. She agitatedly turned her head and started looking towards the square of light again. She was sitting quietly with her expressionless face for a long time, as if giving herself time to heal her own wound. ‘You know Doctor, our life is like those lights falling on the ground. When you see them early morning, they are soothing; they have so much of life in them. You can see various particles floating carelessly. But as the day progresses, the lights start becoming strong and with some more time they fade away. I always want to be those early morning lights, full of life.’

‘Yes, you are full of life, you should not change.’

‘Full of life, bullshit... ohh Sorry.’ She bit her tongue.

‘Its okay, I am your friend, remember.’

‘How can you be full of life sitting on this hospital bed?’ 

‘Okay let’s go out to the lawn.’

Ankita came out of the room looked towards the sky and raised her hand as if to embrace the whole world within her delicate hands. She took a long breath and closed her eyes for a few seconds. She removed her slippers and started walking barefoot.

‘It feels so nice to walk on the grass barefoot.’ Ankita said.

‘It’s good for the health as well.’

‘Come on, stop talking like a doctor now, you are my friend here, not a doctor.’ She smiled.

‘Okay, you have accepted me as your friend. So touched I am.’

‘Yeah, you should be. This privilege is available to very few of them.’ She slightly tilted her head to one side and winked.

‘Doctor... Doctor.’ Somebody was shouting at a distance.

For a few minutes after that, Ankita was walking alone, unaware of many things. Her attention span on anything didn’t last for more than a few seconds except for the boundary wall. She gazed at the boundary wall for a long time as if she wants to be free, she wants to explore the unknown world beyond the confines of the nursing home.

‘Ma’am, its time to go inside.’ A nurse said.

‘Ma’am? Do I look so old that you will call me Ma’am?’ She said squeezing her eyebrows. The nurse smiled and guided her to her room. Later, lunch was served in the same fibre plate.

‘Doctor, where were you for so long time?’ Ankita said. She was trying to concentrate on reading something after finishing her lunch.

‘Here only. I was just a call away, but you never called.’

‘Ohh... My mistake... I should have called. I was feeling lonely. I am unable to read this magazine. Loosing concentration too frequently.’ She said. Again, the voice was shaky, as if an unknown fear was rattling her from inside.

‘You must be thinking about your boy friend.’

‘Boyfriend?... I don’t have a boyfriend.’ She winced.

‘Hmmmm... Liar...  I know Abir is your boyfriend.’

‘Who told you? That’s just a rumour. I know Aruna must be behind this. That fatty can’t keep anything inside her stomach except for food.’ A fake anger adorned her face for some time.

‘Okay, I don’t trust the rumours. You tell me the truth.’

‘Hmmm ... He isn’t my boyfriend, but...’ She paused for some time, scratched her face than her head, and then continued. ‘Yeah... I like him though.’

‘See the truth is coming out, you said you like him.’

‘I said I like him, that doesn’t mean he becomes my boyfriend.’

‘Then, what does that mean?’

‘It means I... like... him... nothing else.’ She said stretching each word, in her trademarked cuteness.

Just before the sun was about to set in, the sweeper came to clean the room. The occupants were asked to wait outside for a few minutes. Ankita in her curiosity went near the sweeper’s trolley parked outside the room and lifted a broken mirror piece.

‘Ankita no,’ came the voice, but it was too late. Ankita had already seen her face in the mirror.

‘Doctor.’ Ankita shouted. The consecutive shouting of two people had alerted the nurses. She was helped to reach to the bed.

‘Why am I looking like this, doctor?’ She said pushing words outside, her throat was chocked.

‘Nothing to worry, you are looking just a few years older than your current age, but that is only because of illness. You have now started eating as per my advice; you will be perfectly alright in a few days.’

‘Are you sure? You are holding my hand, you can’t lie.’ Stream of tears rolled down her cheek, genuine and uncontrollable.

‘I am your friend. Wait till tomorrow, you will see the change.’

‘I don’t know what will happen if Abir sees me like this.’ A few attempts to control herself had failed.

‘He will like you, in fact he will fall in love with you.’

The mention of the word love worked as a magic. Her crying started subsiding.

‘Never, if I look like this.’ She said with a faint smile.

The nurse came to serve dinner. Ankita’s dinner was served before the sun sets in.

‘I will not leave doctors hand, you need to feed me.’ She said to the nurse. The nurse smiled and fed her, wiped her face and combed her hair again. Along with many doses of medicine during the entire day, one additional pill was added in the evening, a high power sleeping pill. The pill starts working within a few minutes.

‘See doctor, if Abir comes after I sleep, don’t allow him to see me, let him see me tomorrow. You have promised I will look better tomorrow.’ She said. The faint smile still adorned her face. ‘Whenever I hold your hand like this, I feel like I am holding Abir. I feel so protected.’ She paused. The smile vanished. ‘Why can’t I remember his face properly?’ She said with furrowed brows. ‘But you know doctor whatever I remember, I think he will look like you once he reaches your age.’ She said. ‘No I think he will look better than you.’ She winced. She closed her eyes and allowed the sleeping pill to work without any resistance.

She was still holding my hand. A lonely teardrop rolled down my cheek. For seven years now, the day would end something like this. I can never tell her that I am her Abir. It is completely left on the mercy of a miracle that one day she would remember me the way I am, and she would accept herself the way she is now. But I know, such a day might never come.

On the day of our marriage, after getting the call from her father, I searched for her everywhere. After three hours, I found her sitting on a broken concrete wall at the extreme end of the city bus stand. She had lost her bag and mobile. When I called her name, she gave me a blank look as if she was trying to recognise me. I went close to her and hugged her, she didn’t reciprocate for some time, then started crying.

I correlated everything that was happening with her in the past and the result sent a shiver down to my spine. I silently prayed to the God to prove me wrong, but no, he didn’t listen to my prayers. Being a doctor, I cursed myself for ignoring the symptoms for so long time, but I couldn’t do anything more, nor could anybody else do anything for her, except for delaying the completely predictable future. Ankita was diagnosed Alzheimer, an incurables disease that was eating a bit, a little bit of her memory every day, every second.

Initially, she was losing her memory on random occasions, but slowly the situation started deteriorating. Amid protests in my family, I married her after three months, just before she was about to enter the next phase of the disease.

Today, after seven years, she had lost her entire memory gathered after the age of fourteen and even the earlier memories are too blurred. Each day of her is a fresh day, she doesn’t remember anything that had happened a day before. I am just a doctor for her, a friend whom her mind forgets but her heart remembers. But that is only during the day, when the sun sets in, even her heart surrenders in front of her ailing brain. She becomes aggressive or at times gets scared with the human presence nearby. I had tried on earlier occasions to calm her down but it didn’t work, even my presence didn’t work. It is difficult for me to accept that she is unable to recognise me. I would sit all night near her bed and watch her with an expectation that one night she will wakeup, look at me and whisper, “I can never forget you, I love you more than you can ever imagine.” That moment never came and I could see that expectation dying every passing night and on the date of the funeral of that expectation I realised that the person sleeping on the bed was not Ankita, she was a stranger, a stranger whom my heart adores in this life and perhaps on all earlier lives.   

The destiny is so ruthless, two people who were inseparable a few years back, became just good friends during the day and strangers in the night.

'Hello Doctor, why am I here?' A new day begins.


The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: Reading Suresh's post on previous topic, Participation Count: 1
PS: This story is a work of fiction, any resemblance is purely coincidental.   

50 comments:

  1. I started reading this as a love story and you put tears in my eyes. Heart Touching story.

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  2. Amit,

    A heart touching story. I wish Ankita could recognise Abir someday! Hopefully she should! I loved your narration and language.. Keep writing! Good Luck for the crown!

    Someone is Special

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  3. A very heart-rendering post. Nicely done. Best wishes for BAT.
    PS: At the risk of getting a backlash, and this is no way meant as an offense, but you might want to check some spellings again w.r.t. to the context you've used them in. Same thing with incurable decease. I am guessing you meant Alzheimer's as a disease - so it would be 'next stage of disease' instead of decease - unless you really meant death. Same goes with millstones - milestones? Just a note. Please do not mind. Hope it helps! Otherwise a beautiful post!

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    1. Thanks a lot Deepa for reading the post and more than that telling me the mistakes. At times Auto-correction sucks when it commits unnoticeable mistakes....

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    2. I agree! Auto-correction should be able to understand context too, wouldn't that be cool! :) But then it would take out all our hard work! I once had someone send an email to a client that he was friendly with saying - What are you doing working on a Sunday? You should be at a beach chilling out with a bear! :) I broke into laughter imagining him chilling out with a bear! Its beer people for God's sakes!

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    3. Yeah I agree, tech goof ups are at times funny and embarrassing. What if, in ur example, it would have changed the beach to bitch. :)

      There is a site www.damnyouautocorrect.com where you can see many such examples.

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  4. Touching twists and turns. Really excellent command to plug the readers mind. Kudos

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  5. Touching twists and turns. Really excellent talent to plug the reader. Kudos. Keep them coming

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  6. Read your story from beginning to end and felt saddened by the plight of Abir.

    Well written. A little long but the impact remained intact. Good job!

    http://ektakhetan.blogspot.com

    PS: The word verification haunts me and I am sooo de motivated to comment :)

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    1. Thanks ... The length was a bit intentional, is it distracting?

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  7. Reminds me of 'the note book' by nicholas sparks...touching..very touching

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    1. Thanks you liked the story ... When my friend read the story, he also took three names, Notebook, 51st dates and U me aur Hum (some Ajay Devgn - Kajol Movie), frankly I haven't read the book or seen the movies. Its a sad co-incidence for me.

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  8. Interesting interpretation of the theme and touching narrative. It reminded me of movie 50 first dates.

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    1. Thanks TF... As replied to the comment of dreamer, there is similarity with other book / film as well, but I haven't read the book or seen the movies, but I hope only the plot of Alzheimer as a disease is same, not the entire story. I can't dare to think I can replicate the work of these great writers..:)

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  9. great take on the theme. amit. Your impeccable narrative made the reading very easy...! i would like to read a sequel...more interested to know about abir.:))
    All the best!

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    1. Thanks Panchali... Well! I haven't thought about the sequel, but it seems a great idea.

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  10. very well written. the whole story is bound well and written fabulously :)

    all the best for BAT :)

    if you have time do visit Strangers in the night...

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    1. Thanks Richa ... Would definitely visit your post.

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  11. This is sad yet beautiful. Love endures all.
    All the best for BAT..

    ❤Not Just My Allegories❤

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  12. very moving...heart felt pain..thought it was a love story...but such a pitty
    ATB for BAT :)
    i could not participate...but u can see my post here
    Karan - Strangers in the Night

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  13. 50 first days is where is comes from. Good one!

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    1. You can say anything ..51st date, Notebook, U, Me aur Hum ...

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    2. yes, and you are a good writer Amit. Why to re-tell all such stories? I want to know..in case I understand your reason, I can write some stories on these too!

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    3. Hi Diwakar, I am not getting the argument. The way you and everybody else is saying, I guess all murder mysteries in this world have been re-told because in all of them the central theme is murder. Similarly in all these stories the central theme is Alzheimer. I would appreciate if you point out some other similarity. I don't think anybody would have brought the reference of any such movie or book, if I had written, Ankita met with an accident and lost her memory, I was not required to change a bit of my story. But I didn't do that. There are 27mn people suffer from Alzheimer, it is predicted that by 2050, one in eighty-five will suffer from this disease. So you and everybody else is free to write countless number of such stories, it will create awareness in our country where many would not have heard about this disease.

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  14. I could completely relate to the first scene where the couple fight because she forgot his birthday, however I would never have guessed that you would take such a simple set-up to such a complex, emotional crisis. Very well penned, and yes there will be a lot of comparisons with the movie 50 first dates etc. but this theme has been explored by multiple writers so you don't have anything to worry about. ATB!

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    1. Thanks a lot Sandy, your words mean a lot to me and certainly brought a relaxing smile on my face. It was getting a bit frustrating because of comparison, more so because I have neither read the book nor seen the movies.

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  15. Lovely story, Amit! You do what every writer aspires to do - make the reader feel what your character feels.

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    1. Thanks Suresh, a praise from you is like a jewel in the crown...

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  16. Very well written Amit. Yes it reminds one of the movie but ur plot is unique in it's own way and it's not fair to keep referring to the slight similarity . Good luck :)

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  17. A) I love your blogs name!!
    B) This is such a lovely write! loved the love dripping in it to bits!
    C) am following you right away!! :)

    Do stop by my blog! Kappu

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  18. Beautiful story. reminded me of the film 'The Notebook'. All the best for BAT

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  19. Very beautiful!

    The tear almost rolled out..haha :) I was reading the comments, and I do realize there are comparisons to other works. I have neither seen those movies nor read that book.

    And if you say that you have not either, I trust you!! So - this would be a terrific coincidence.. ;p

    Don't get bogged down by criticism. Every one's justified in his her own way.

    Coming back to the post: I think it fit the theme bloody well. Though it was long, I had a smooth read. The best part was - the moment I realized the doc was Abir, you disclosed it a couple of sentences later. So, the timing was perfect. I did not get enough time to act smart... like "I know what this writer is up to". LOL.

    Very good post buddy.

    eep writing buddy.

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    1. Hey. I came back to check your response to my comment. And reread what I wrote - the sentence about terrific coincidence is not reading the way I intended in the first place. I meant all good buddy.

      I loved your post.

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    2. I took it in good sense Kshitij... thanks again...

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  20. The concept seemed a lil cliche. Also, it should have been more crisp, it was too long. Nevertheless, good effort. You have potential and will only get better.

    ATB for BAT 31.

    Here's my entry.

    CRD - BLAME IT ON THE DARK

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    1. Cliche??? Anyways thanks for criticism... will try to improve in the future.

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  21. Although it's a simple story, I think, it has been told beautifully.

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