The Enchanting Midnight

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The Sunrise of Blessings

CHAPTER 17

The Sunrise of Blessings

“What I do now has a reason, everything that I do. I have come here for some promises I made to myself. I have to go all the way long, but you know, I am a loser doctor, and more than that I am a criminal because I was the one who was responsible for everything that happened”, she said, sobbing.

It was 5-30 A.M. That midnight was the one where I had come to know the secrets of the girl whom I had started admiring. It was a midnight of experiences for me, though I had lived hers, not mine. I had come to know that human beings have all those layers inside them, that there comes a time when we are helpless, suffering, struggling with nobody but ourselves.

I sat frozen, a little away from her. I was equally numb. I did not know what to say, though there was so much that I had to say to her. She was exactly as I had thought she might be. The girl of strengths, the girl who had fought back for everything that she did not want to give up for. The girl who lived, loved and gave it all back to everybody, when she did not get it too.

I wondered how she would have felt at losing the one she had loved more than herself. I didn’t know how it felt, I had never known that. I wondered how painful it might have been to lose her parents and being helpless to do anything to save them. I wondered how difficult it must be to survive with the guilt of being the one who made it all happen, though for helping some more loved ones.

More than that, I wondered about her struggle with herself every day, being lost in reasons for everything; and her promise to herself to find out the remains of her past, to find out if she was responsible for something which made her suffer, and all this time she was punishing herself for something she hadn’t done.

I could not stay silent any more as I heard her sobs. I tried to speak but my throat was choked. I realized that it wasn’t easy. I handed a glass of water to her. She looked up at me, with her moist red eyes, and her pink face, more because of what she was going through.

I looked at her in assurance. She took the glass from me and gulped down the water at once. I kept the glass back. She was silent now. We sat in silence through the darkness that prevailed outside, through the darkness that prevailed inside too. But that darkness had to be removed. The time had to come when light would enter that world of hers.

“There is so much that I want to say Mishti. Now that you have told me everything. Right now, though I would like to say just a few things”, I said looking into her moist red eyes,” You were never wrong. Stop blaming yourself. What it was might be revealed later, but you are not responsible for whatever happened. If you ever believe my words, then take this to be the truth.”

I paused for a few seconds. It was going to be dawn in a few minutes. As the first few rays of faint sunlight seemed to enter inside the tent, I decided something, though it had nothing to do with me. But if there was some truth in what I had started believing, since I had met her, then I had to do it.

It was crazy. It was none of my business to enter her life for any reason unnecessarily, but something inside me said that it had got everything to do with me. I had to get her out of all that. Looking back I find, that midnight had brought another world for me to enter and unknowingly it had got attached with my being.

That midnight was the one where I found many more reasons for my existence, where I knew why there were so many things that I hadn’t known till then. Though some of them still remain, eight years later too, but I am glad that everything happened that way with me. I count them as the unexpected miracles for which I will always be grateful to my destiny.

I smiled at her, as I concluded my own thoughts. She looked confused at first, and then smiled back, “I do believe your words doctor and I am sure you are saying the truth”, she said, unaware of my thoughts. I was glad that she had got my silence too.

“Thank you. It is dawn outside”, I said,” and inside too”. She nodded in agreement. I was relieved. I required her assurance more than her words. I did not need her words. I had started getting her instincts somehow, again I don’t know, just somehow.

“Time for another day of work…for both of us”, she smiled at me. “Though I am thankful, yet I apologize for keeping you awake last night..”

“That’s one thing I would not want you to say. We are neighbours you know”, I laughed at her.

“And friends”, she said.

“And friends”, I replied smiling at her.

“Would you like to have a cup of coffee doctor?”, I saw her getting back to herself.

“If that is not a problem”.

“Of course not, any time”, she replied and got up.

I felt relieved to see her getting up to her feet, bringing everything to the table where her kettle was kept and waiting for our coffee to be prepared. We said nothing to each other in those few minutes, yet I knew there was nothing required to be said.

“What time do you start with your work doctor?”, she asked, handing me my cup.

“Thank you. In the next ten minutes”, I replied as I took my cup and looked at my watch,” which means”, I said looking at her,” I’ll be leaving just after this”.

“I know. I have my pending work too…”

“Well, I was saying that it also means that you better don’t start going back once I leave. Take these words from your doctor and not your friend”, I tried to sound a little affirmitive.

“Really?”, she raised her eyebrow and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling, to which she laughed. A lot of pressure was released as I saw her laugh at that petty thing.

“You know, you are very bad at being rude”, she said, “but yes I will remember not to be your patient again. Being friends is enough for me”, she continued as she laughed.

“Thank you again for the coffee”, I said as I got up to leave, “Take care, and one more thing, if there is a problem, I’ll be there whenever you need me”, I said the last few words in every possible aspect; and I hoped that she would get it the same way.

“Thank you doctor”, she said looking at me. The way she looked at me, I knew she had got it exactly the same way as I had wanted her to perceive.

I left from there, trying to ponder upon so many things that prevailed in my mind. There were points which I hadn’t understood from her story, but I had kept them to be asked later. I had to find out many things about them, but before that I had this camp, and in the camp, I had three more days. Three more days with her over here too, I thought. With that thought, I entered my tent to start with a new day, in every aspect.

I called Dr. Reddy and told him that the situation could be handled by me. I also told him that the case was more psychological than some physical ailment, but I did not tell him anything more. She had told everything to me with her trust at stake, and it was something only between her and me. I was obliged that he did not ask me anything more.

My whole day had been busy like my previous days with nothing as a change. The only change being that I had a parallel chain of thoughts with me, which never seemed to stop from growing in every direction.

I completed my regular report by 11 P.M. I was feeling drowsy too, but my mind did not want to be asleep. I wondered if she was alright. After a minute of thought, I decided to visit her.

I stepped outside my tent. The chill had increased since last night, which seemed more like a night long back in ages, ever since I had known everything. For a change, it was a completely moonlit night, and I could clearly see the tents around me.

I looked around because I couldn’t hear the dogs barking or the sound of the insects. I checked the time again. It was 11:10 P.M. I wondered why it was so silent, as if it was midnight or early in the morning.

I had come to know about the atmosphere at every hour of night, since I had come here. Surprisingly, I felt entertained by the thought. I was going to see her, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking so at the back of my mind.

In no more than five minutes, I reached her tent. I could see the boulder due to which I had been caught on the first night when I came there. I was wondering whether I should notify my presence when I heard her voice.

“You are too late for your coffee”.

I turned back. She was sitting on a nearby boulder, with her thin jacket, in the same saree, which I had seen when I saw her for the first time. She looked at me, with her cup in her hand. The moonlight seemed to be reflecting from behind her, which created an impression of an aurora of light, coming from within her. I felt amazed.

“Oh thank you but I had a cup of tea already”, I replied, still gazing at her and then looking down, realizing how stupid it was.

“Never mind. I was going to prepare Maggi Noodles for myself. I can invite you for that”, she said, rolling her eyes at me.

I wasn’t just amazed but felt blissful to see her back again, as she seemed the way I had seen her sometimes, and the way I wanted her to be always. I wondered if she was trying to be that way or if she was really fine.

“Are you okay with Maggi doctor?”, she asked me.

I came back to the present. “Well it is fast food you see”.

I saw her expressions change to doubtful.

“So I would like to have it now”, I laughed at her. She joined me and said, “ I was wrong. You are not that bad. You can be scary sometimes. I thought you were going to give me a lecture about fast food. I used to hear that a lot from mom…”, she became silent.

I looked at her and said, “Oh when I was young, my mother also used to say that”, I looked at her from the side. She was still silent. I did not say anything. Then as if coming back she said, “I am sorry. I got swept away”.

“I don’t think that is something to be sorry about. One should always say and feel what one wants, that releases a lot of load from the mind, isn’t it?”

She looked into my eyes with her moist eyes for a few seconds, as if trying to calculate the possibilities of truth.

“Yes”, she finally said with a smile, much to my relief. I saw her going inside her tent.

I looked around. It was a beautiful night. I checked the time. I hadn’t realized that it was midnight. I wondered if she always thought about what went on inside her, or if she really felt empty, relieved for a few moments. After all, her smile always seemed genuine to me. In fact, everything that she did seemed genuine to me.

I was interrupted by her voice again,” It is ready doctor”, she said, walking out of her tent with two bowls. The steam from the bowls again seemed to create a mystic aurora around her. I took mine from her, “Thank you”.

She made place for herself on a nearby boulder. I looked at her again, trying to make out what she was thinking in that silence, till she looked up at me.

“I don’t think you’ll like it if gets cold doctor, unless that has got something to do with positive health effects”, she teased me. I smiled at it and started with my share.

After ten minutes of silence, as I was wondering what to say, she spoke up, “You were right doctor. We should always say what we feel. You know I try a lot, not to think about mom, dad, that night, that incident and even….”, she added,” about him”.

I had expected her to say that. She continued,” But I can’t succeed always. There are times when all that dominates my mind and times when I am able to concentrate upon my work. I try to get myself involved with all these issues around me. You know Ratna was right. There are so many people who suffer due to the injustice done to them. All that I do has the reason that if I can help even a few of them, I will be able to remove a part of all that remains inside me; that guilt and that remorse. Of course, I will be happy that I justified what I had chosen as a career. More than that, when I have all that I need to get, I will get back to what I really want to do doctor. I cannot let that night go just like that. I want to know the truth”.

I had a certain respect for her, ever since the day I had seen her for the first time. I hadn’t realized why, until that moment. She was the girl of strengths, but more than that she was the girl who never gave up, the girl who was a true traveller, a true warrior. My heart smiled that night, when I realized how I was being made to discover the beauty of human beings through unknown incidents.

I wanted to ask her some more things regarding what I found confusing, but I did not know whether I could, at that moment. I feared that I would push her more into something that she was trying to forget. I looked at her again, as she sat, lost in her thoughts. I knew it had to be done.

“Can I ask you something?”, I spoke after a lot of doubts.

She nodded in agreement.

“You said Ratna told you he was soon coming to Hyderabad to help her. Didn’t he come?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think he came. Even if he did, he never came to us.”

I remained silent. There was certainly more to come.

She added,” I am sure he must have heard of it. But he never did. I know I did not matter to him, but I did matter long back. It would be enough of a reason to go and see somebody, if I had been in his place, or if anybody had been in his place”.

“Did you come to know where he was in Delhi?”, I asked her.

“I had tried to find out when I had wanted to get to him anyhow. That was a time when I did not think about getting anywhere else. I tried a lot, but nobody knew. Later, I did not even try. Not that it did not matter to me anymore, but I did not want to be through it again. And the most important thing, he is less important than what I want to do in the first place.”

She looked into my eyes,” And you know that”.

“Do you trust me?”, I asked her.

She took a few seconds to judge me, before she replied,” I do”.

“Then we have a lot to be looked for and to be done after this camp. I hope you do not find me intruding into your space.”

“I don’t. Why do you think I gave in with you, about everything?”, she smiled at me, looing into my eyes.

Yes, why. I should’ve thought that. And as I sat, under the moonlit sky with her, I knew what I had to do. I knew why I had been sent to her. I knew why there had been so many coincidences which led us to meet and brought us till here.

And somewhere inside, as the midnight seemed to be chanting a prayer for her, for us, I also knew why she mattered to me.

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