By Dr. Anand Prakash
A doctor takes up lots of guilt to the grave due to various circumstances in medical practice accumulating daily. Hence I didnt feel much guilt for taking 2 n95 masks and sitting well protected inside the airconditioned cabin and allowing my residents and interns to do clear up the op cases. Well i am a psychiatrist. I see cases in my clinic everyday and work in Gh in the meantime. I make quite a fortune. I basically like to listen to people’s stories. So i listen to all their problems with patience in split up sessions, so that in the end, they themselves analyse their situation and come up with a remedy . My clinic gave me everything… My car, my house and even i met my wife priya there only. She is a paediatrician and diligent worker. I go to Gh in the morning and then to my clinic afternoon and then go and pickup my wife from gh and return again to my clinic. This has been my routine for long. That day after entering my clinic, i saw him.
I was informed that he was an orthopaedician by profession. By the looks of his suit, watch and shoes he looked more like a professional doctor than myself. He looked young and muscular. His face had that charm but those eyes had definitely seen many sleepless nights and despair. He was kinda restless.
He just blurted out ” i have immense urge to kill… Either myself or her…” I was indeed shocked. I just sat back and started listening to his story.
” Well i saw nancy for the time during my second year. I was practising my fast bowling in ground one early morning session. Juniors came in line to bat and i was assessing them. Suddenly a short chubby girl in tracks and ponytail came to bat with all protective gears on. I was surprised to see a girl coming to play cricket. I decided to go easy on her and bowled outside off in half of my usual pace. She just moved her front foot forward and lofted it over covers for 6. It was a humiliation for me. Next ball i came with full fury and bowled a yorker to leg stump with full pace. She went across and sweeped it over fineleg boundary. Now it became a war. My reputation was at stake. I started my runup with idea of bowling outside offside yorker. It looked like she knew what i was gonna bowl. She went across. I changed my mind to bowl a slower one and she seemed to see that too and went deep inside the crease for that. Finally ended up bowling a full toss and she defended it back straight to me. Nancy and I both felt the connection we had in that moment and both of us were smiling. We knew it was gonna be special.
After the practice session i took all of them to college cafe. I ordered a hot black tea. Being tired, ridiculing my choice, everyone else ordered a cold drink. And there she ordered a hot coffee . Both of us asked for extra sugar . Sainthu sainthu song from neethane en ponvasantham was playing in the tv there. We had a smile on our face. That was the moment. Nothing was spoken. But deep inside we knew. We slowly started hanging out with each other and it became our habit to mix sugar for the other person . Nancy invited me for her bday party and i entered into her world of friends. I introduced my friends to her. Everyone started hanging out. Both of our worlds united. We had lots of fun together.
Whenever depressed, both of us would go for food. She would eat mushroom fry while i munch on chicken. Both of us like the long drive with songs… She likes driving recklessly and im a smooth rider . She listens to lyrics of the songs while i enjoy the tunes. Im very softspoken while she raises her voice for every issue. Both of us dont have pets. She hates birds while Im afraid of dogs. She would always save the best for last while I consume it at first and ask for more.
We were so alike yet so different.”
He was taking a breath.
Seeing the time, I asked then what? she ditched you and you became like this?
“No i ditched her! “
“Okay that’s it for today’s session. Let’s continue in next session”.
I then wrapped up my clinic work and went to pickup my wife priya from her hospital.
“I was so wrong to leave her and go like that. I just want to fall on her feet and apologise and reunite with her” started he on the next session.
Sensing his change of attitude, i just observed patience
” My third year and final years are golden days. We had lots of fun. We slowly became dependent on each other. I would stir her coffee and she would stir my black tea , she made me dress up good while i made her love herself more without cosmetics, she would remember my friend’s bday that i forgot and i would give her the food that she skipped, she taught me how to deal with emotions and i taught her how to deal with morons…. But never knew one day i would be in that list too.
During my internship, i planned a surprise for her bday. I took her for a walk alone and returned to her home where i’ve arranged all our friends to gather and celebrate her day. She was very happy when we took that stroll and when we entered her home, all shouted with a bang. I was very happy that my plan succeeded. But her face became dull. Nancy didnt expect any of them then. She just wanted to spend her time with me alone. I then realised that in the process of uniting our worlds, she lost hold of her own world and instead I became her world.
It was then i started realizing how changed she was. Nancy was slowly inclining towards me. She lost interest in batting. Lyrics doesnt matter anymore in a song. Slow drives became enjoyable. She no longer became angry when someone throws garbage in public spaces. She started trying nonveg cousines. She kinda became weaker in character and letting out emotions often.
She was changed. I held me responsible for all of that. I could not handle that responsibility. It was huge for me. I was always a fan of samantha’s character in Neethane en ponvasantham movie till that day. But for the first time, i was able to relate with jeeva in NEP. I took her to our favourite cafe. I ordered a black tea as usual and she also asked for a black tea. We were stirring each other’s extra sugars when i spoke out that i was gonna prepare for my masters from then so that i could take care of my family. Neither would use the same phone number again nor would see her again. That was it. She was just staring with a shock . I said bye and took off. We havent proposed or committed to eachother officially. Hence i didnt even feel like i owe an explanation to her. She also didnt protest even a word. That was the last time i saw her.
We were so near yet so far.”
I stopped him and asked him to continue in the next session. 1 week later he called for an appoinment when i was waiting for priya in Gh. So i asked him to come over there itself and we settled in Gh canteen. He ordered a coffee and I ordered a bournvita. He asked for extra sugar.
” I just want to see that she’d moved on. I just want to see her be happy. I wont disturb her anymore.” He started…. I had a smile.
” All these years ive been living under extreme guilt. I owe a big explanation to her. Should not have left her like that. Ive spent many sleepless nights thinking of that. Maybe she had not changed at all… Maybe she was opening up to me… Showing her real face to me. I never considered how she must have felt after that. I never thought about her reasons and opinions. Ive done a grave mistake.” Tears started ringing in his eyes while my phone ringed. I turned.
I saw my priya there. He saw his nancy.
I signalled priya to be seated and talk to him while i pretended to attend the call and came far from them. Yes priya and nancy were same. And i guessed it from the first session itself.
I heard the same story when she came sobbing to me for the first time in my beginning days and i consoled her and gave her comfort. I became her dairy. Confession room. Everything. Later we just realized our love for eachother and married. Just wanted to know his true intentions. So didnt reveal to him in first session itself. I purposefully arranged a surprise meet for both of them in a cafe so that they can catch up after long time. He just needed just to see that she had moved on and happy in her life. And i know my wife too. Do I?
Poor guy. Of all the psychatrists , he came to me. Haha. Still dont know why he called her nancy. Leave it. I was feeling proud of myself for deceiving him so cleverly. Oh wait. Of all the psychatrists, why did he come to me? Did he knew already? Obviously. He would have easily traced her back to me. Why did he come? Will he take her away? He made lot of neethane en ponvasantham references…. Yes varun returns back to nitya to take her back after he gets settled. Oh shit. What have i done!. With a sudden sense of panic i came running back to the cafe.
There priya was stirring her own black tea and he was stirring his own coffee. None of them spoke. Priya came and just told “your patient is very silent . Deal with him. Ill wait in the car”. He then came and told, ” thank you for all your sessions. I think Im relieved now.” And walked off. I just didnt understand what happened there. In the canteen cable tv, bagyaraj was saying ,”sire enda kathali ninda manaivi agalam. Pascha ninda manaivi enda kathali agathu”.
Contemplating what just happened, i started the car. I saw his final payment message. Rakkamma kaiya thattu was playing in the FM and it was drizzling. I started humming and beating according to the rhythm. Suddenly ” i never thought about her feelings” flashed across my mind. I saw her silent and expressionless. I asked her to change the song and keep according her likes. She immediately switched off the FM and said “i prefer silence “. There was a thunder and lightning and i drove silently back home. Does she feel any remorse? Had she moved in little too early? Is she feeling guilty for not waiting? No idea. Should i feel guilty for all of this? I just decided to take only one N95 mask from now on.
Afterall a doctor takes up lots of guilt up to the grave…