“Am I missing something?” Came the warm and Strong voice, Pathak Uncle. The man had a fine built for his age, His hairs cropped short and his face supporting a goatee . Wearing a simple plain Shirt with Formal trousers, A White coat draped on shoulders and stethoscope in his hand .
He walked inside with his head held high and spine straight . He walked in the room with a small smile which grew bigger seeing dad and Nakul reviving from a Laughter mania .
“Pathak” dad greeted him, dabbing his eyes with his palms .
“Why you Acting as Laughing Buddha ?” Pathak Uncle chimed, His gaze studying the machines and then travelling to the report file .
“Nothing, Just witnessed a tomato” He looked At Akriti “With Eyes and Ears” Raghvir Joked at a scoffing Akriti who turned her head other side .
“Dare you tease My Muffin, Verma, I’m team Akriti” Pathak casually flipped the file pages and winked at Akriti .
“Vir Uncle, I’ve talked Pathak Uncle into Your shift to London” Nakul announced with a proud grin. From the very day Nakul came to encounter the fact That his beloved Vir Uncle was suffering from Cancer, His mind and heart were In sync, saying and wanting one thing, Do whatever you want, But you can’t lose him . Whatever it takes, Save him .
“London? Why? Pathak?” Raghvir was confused, Why does he have to leave?
“Verma, Nakul and Me were thinking to get you move to London, For advance Treatment.” Pathak said in his No non-sense tone .
“You giving up on me, Pathak?” Raghvir raised his brows, Can’t make his mind up .
“Of course Not, Not as a Doctor, and Never as your Friend?” Pathak sound Alarmed, Does Raghvir really think he would leave his side, at this moment, Never , Not in Seven Births .
“Uncle, You’ll get the advance treatment There, and Pathak Uncle will be there too, he has an annual conference to attend” Nakul explained, Sensing that his Uncle was not very impressed .
“Children it’s past Lunch, Go grab something for yourself” Raghvir commanded, Both Akriti and Nakul skeptical, The conversation wasn’t about this.
“Dad?” Akriti questioned her brows frown .
“Indirectly, Get out, Both of you” Raghvir added bossily . He knew both of them, They won’t leave his side that easily .
Sensing the thick air, Nakul signaled Akriti to follow him out, to which she reluctantly followed and left the two best friends alone . Both silent, The only sound was the machine beeping .
“Pathak?” Raghvir called, Demanded his attention.
“Verma, I had to agree to him, We will shift you soon enough, In next 36 hours” Pathak had his eyes averted .
Feeling the his gut sinking, “ Something’s wrong?, I can tell Clear and simple” .
“Nothing’s wrong. The Kid suggested me and I thought, That’s the best thing to do” Pathak still not looking in his eyes .
“Pathak? I am going no where, That’s final” Raghvir was back to his commanding tone, Enough to make a rock talk .
“Don’t be Stubborn, You need to Go, There they will give you the required treatment, Don’t be stupid”
“ I’m going No where, Leaving my home here, I want to breathe my last here, In my Country, Not in a Foreign land” Raghvir cleared .
“Don’t, You won’t talk about Death” Pathak glared .
“Then Tell me What’s wrong?” Raghvir demanded .
“Damn, You’re being stubborn, Speak up Pathak” Raghvir glared .
“Your recent reports, The infection is spreading, Faster than conjecture” Pathak finally uttered, His eyes fixed on Raghvir’s face.
“Both lungs are impair, The cells doubling in rate, The Therapy seems to go phut” Pathak had his shoulders slumped in defeat, His every attempt was likely to go weak .
Pathak blinked, Mind to process everything .
“Medication can keep you intact, But aren’t enough” Nothing is more hard, than telling your best friend about his dying state .
“How many more days do I have?” Pathak whispered, Eyes staring nothing at particular . The walls seems to get closer, Suffocating his breathing. The light blue walls screaming his death.
“Verma, Don’t say that” Pathak yelled at him, He can’t talk about D-word . He can’t leave him. Not this soon .
“I have talked Mr. Rades about this, He said they might fix something” Pathak tried telling him, More like assuring the hearts .
“I trust you more than anyone in the World, Pathak, don’t give me false hopes” Raghvir said, Eyes tearing up .
“Verma, I..” Pathak had to swallow the lump, Can’t speak .
“How many days? One? Ten? How many?” His voice turning stern and eyes Red .
“Or Do I have just hours left? Pathak I need to know” Raghvir pleaded, Will he get to make a final wish? .
“I won’t answer that” Pathak shook his head, Looking at another direction, How was he suppose to tell his Best Friend that he won’t be alive more than a few days, Hardly 72 hours .
Raghvir had his mind bursting with thoughts, Will he die? What will happen? Muffin? What will he say to Muffin? How will she take this?
2 days back when she was told about his health, She couldn’t handle it, She had locked herself in that room for hours, If not for Nakul, She wouldn’t come out .
My baby won’t be able to take this . No, No! Can he just die, Without sparing a thought to her, his muffin? . He had to do something, For Muffin, For Nakul .
Yes, I need to make sure My daughter has someone at her side, A support to her, Someone who would take care of her .
He will be that person, He know. He could trust Nakul . Nakul will be there for her, Akriti, his daughter .
“Verma? Verma?” Pathak screamed, continuously shaking Raghvir out of his thoughts, The machine beeping loudly, Raghvir’s BP rising, His breath sinking .
He shook Verma out of his thoughts, He looked at Pathak with half closed lids, His breathing irregular . His lungs being stressed .
“Nurse” Pathak's voiced bloomed in the corridor. The hospital staff rushed in the door, Akriti and Nakul who were also in the Corridor, heard his Loud Voice, they both ran to the bustling door, But was blocked half way .
The door half open, Akriti could see her Father gasping for breaths, Pathak shaking his shoulders, Rubbing his arms and Trying to calm him down . The machine beeping loudly .
“Dad? Let me go in, He’s my Father” Akriti yelled at the Nurse who stood between her and the door . The nurse had her hold on Akriti .
Nakul was alarmed but had to keep Akriti unharmed . He tried his way to let them enter but guessing it to be impossible, He turned to Akriti who was crying and protesting, making it difficult for the Nurse to keep her there . He quickly turned her towards him .
“Riti, Look at me” He cupped her face . Her tears running down her eyes, vision blurred .
“Calm down, We can’t go in, Please, Please Let them do their work” Nakul wiped her burning tears . She starred at the room .
Pathak giving injections to Raghvir, injecting sedatives to calm him down . The two nurses round the bed, One checking on oxygen cylinder, other one having the report file. The room looked crowded as Pathak commanded attention and tentatively looked at Raghvir . Seeing Pathak Uncle so upright and at front do gives hope to Akriti but Fear and feeling of lose over powers.
“Dad” She squeaked . She looked at those Black eyes. Fear and Anxiety clearly visible .
“He’ll be okay, Pathak Uncle is there. You trust him?” she nodded to which he gathered her in his arms . “Shh Calm down love He’ll be fine .”
He hugged her close, Nakul had seen her broken, Her crying and Even holed up in a room but never this Vulnerable. God, Please don’t do this to Uncle and Akriti. They are my family .
My only Family .