As i was about to cut the call, it got picked and to my joy it was her.
"Heyyy..finally you lazy bones managed to attend the call"
"Lazy bones who? one who hasn't called for months or the one who have to eat extra course of medicines just to boost up her energy for this useless phone talk"
"Ok..i am hanging up. bye"
"Stop your nautanki...ok. whats up..how are things your end"
"Nothing much..but for...yeah..we had a baby boy"
"Aahaa..ok mister modest..just because i can't kill you dont take that as an advantage. I am halfway through to the process of ghosthood and you are right on top of the "to be haunted list"..hahaha"
After listening to my troubled silence..she continued "you are still so dumb when it comes to celebrations, arent you? Better take a course on how to celebrate happiness. Congratulations by the way. When was he born. Whom does he resemble? Should i word out the questions or will your royal highness answer on your own?"
I quickly filled her with the details amidst her constant interruptions and giggling at the antics of the new born and at the troubles faced by us, the new parents. She then started her version of "parenthood 101" for beginners.
"Ok..enough gyan for me..tell me how is you" i asked.
"What about me..i am fine..can't you make out from my voice. For a person who underwent chemo last week, my voice is still stronger than you...hahaha"
"Right..we should nominate you for Miss Loud mouth contest. Chemo is no match for all those kheemas you have devoured. I guess after Mohanjodaro and Harappa..your head must've been the most dugged up site in the sub continent. What are those docs saying? where they able to unearth anything at all?"
"Nope..guess the tumour is stuck with FeviQuick. Its not budging for all their cutting and chopping"
"Probably you should be shifted from hospital to Archaeology. Those guys are good at excavating age old stuff and considering that dinosaurs where your classmates, to them you would be golden"
"Shut up..you are several millennia elder to me. I consider my treatment as my contribution to medicine field"
"To me it looks more like contribution to that hospital. Apparently they opened a new block after you started going there"
"Nonsense. Every time they operate, the chief doctor brings in a room full of interns and teach them. Unlike some worthless people who but blade over phone, i am even valuable while being sick"
"Probably its your pea sized brain that they are thinking as tumour? Maybe that's why its not budging out i guess"
"Very funny. Tell me, when i didn't pick the call last time, what were you thinking. Where you thinking i was dead? I wish i could see your face then..hahaha. Don't worry..before dying i would definitely inform you or at least update my status in Face Book. But i should appreciate you for one thing. Despite that lingering question..you still call. Pretty brave i should say. Almost all of my friends have stopped calling me. Probably they too, like my doctors, dint expect me to survive this long. Or maybe they simply forgot. When i fail to recognize people at least i've a reason. With so much digging around at times these idiots cut off some memory cables. Wonder what would their reasons be?"
"hmmm..honestly i don't think you are going to liberate us that easily. I am waiting for that day when you come up in all white to office, stand before our Boss, with one hand extended and asking in gravelly voice "give me my job back..give me my job back"..probably your normal voice and attire would do..that would be as deadly.. no special effects needed. I am sure he would faint"
"hahaha..shut up. my voice is not that bad ok"
"Sure..second only to clawing on glasses"
"I am hanging up now"
"hahaha..how do you kill time otherwise?"
"I read classic novels and watch drama series....i mean..if i am not puking or falling unconscious or not getting operated or under chemo..yadda yadda yadda"
"So Seinfeld is there in the list is it..niceeee"
"Of all the things that i said..you heard only that Yadda part..talk of selective hearing..duh.."
"hehehe....see if one gets operated for first time..it would be scary and second time people might fret ..but for you its as frequent as India Srilanka ODI's. By now those docs must be knowing the terrain of your head blindfolded. Hey..send me pics of your head..Head shots literally..i want to compare it with the contours of the moon"
"Seriously..you just moved to the top slot on haunted list"
"Who were there before me?"
"Those idiots who are trying to cure me of course. They are learning medicine on my money and on me.."
There was a strained silence for some seconds.
"You know..i often want to thank you for calling and for all your stupid jokes. Though they are not funny at all..considering the alternatives in an-ever-crying mom out-crying mega serial heroines and never speaking dad with a forever sad looking face.. and for the main fact that to encourage you to try harder and do better i do manage a laugh..hehehe"
"Great..with your sense of humour..you should probably audition to replace comedy nights show"
"Aaha..now i've a found a way to irritate you. Thank you..Thank you..Thank you.."
"...you are a pest ..you know"
"Of course i know..and thank you once again for managing to try to keep up with me"
"So when are you sending me the pics"
"Your head shots"
"Forget it..send me your baby's snaps na..please"
"I already Whatsapped you lazybones. Check it"
"hmm...ok..time for meds..been such a long time since i spoke..to anyone for that matter..."
"why..why dont u come online"
"Well..my dad cut the internet connection after he found me googling about tumours and getting depressed"
"Dont ever try that..even for me who is fit as a bull..if i read about any disease and its symptoms..everything seems to fit ..all the time for all the diseases!!"
"They may actually be true..hehee"
"Ok..before people pluck the phone from me i better hang up. Got another round of interesting chemo sessions coming up next week" Suddenly in a serious tone she asked "You will pray for me..right"
"What nons..of course. You know"
"...now dont get all senti on me..hey..whether u like it or not do call once in a while..its something that i feel worth looking forward too, at times when i feel like giving up..now dont start your baashan and screw up my mood. Go do some work now..bye bye"
For one who wanted to bring smile to her, i hung up the phone with a smile. That was her speciality. As always.
"BEEP" cried the phone highlighting "1 Message" received as status.
It was from her. "Check your mail"
On my Inbox was a mail carrying a surprise gift from
Stylori , the latest fad on designer jewellery. While we were talking she had silently selected a gift for my child. It was a beautiful Flaming Flower pendant. She had signed off with a caption " From one Flaming flower to another".
Whenever the call to her goes unanswered, an unwelcome dread makes a repeat visit all over me. Even when she musters strength to answer the call, i feel sorry for troubling her, yet with that being the only source to communicate, i have no other option. Sometime, when i muster enough courage, i do hope i can meet her in person. And as much as i procrastinate on the journey, i just pray that there is still more time available with her, for her.
Dedicated to that brave little girl who has been fighting it out against all odds and prophecies by the learned medical masters of Neurology. The iron willed girl she is, I know for sure that someday she would be back on her feet and at her sprightly ambitious best. Pretty soon, if not any early. And my prayers for that.