“Shakthi, please open your eyes… Shakthi….” Karthik rested his head against Shakthi’s shoulder. He was battling with not only his tears but also with the fear of losing her. Life without her seemed unimaginable. The eeriness of the ICU ward was anything but threatening. Somehow, the place smelt of death – death of his ego. Yet, hope was spreading its wings, bringing the memories of the days of togetherness and joy. Karthik could not believe that it was only two years since he met her on his friend Prakash’s wedding. Shakthi’s grey colored half sari and the messy long hair would have gone unnoticed in the crowd if she had not asked, “What’s wrong with our bride?” overhearing him carelessly tease, “Poor Prakash is trapped now!”
Karthik never believed in love, commitment or marriage. In fact, he was like a bird who feared all of that. He was trying to establish a software start-up company at that time and was frustrated at the fact that climbing the steps to entrepreneurship was anything but easy. But, when he saw Shakthi, the second time while travelling in Chennai’s local train, he knew that she was meant to stay in his life; at least forever.
“I am sorry Shakthi. Please open your eyes”, Karthik murmured again. He didn’t know how much time had passed when he felt some slight movements from Shakthi. When he looked towards her, he noted that she was slowly opening her eyes.
“Did you get scared?” she asked. Her voice was feeble and her doe eyes teary.
“I almost died!” he replied.
“I love you”, she whispered
“Will you do anything for me?” he asked teasing her.
“I love you”, she repeated.
“Will you jump from the train?” he asked reliving that Sunday afternoon when he had proposed to Shakthi in the local train.
“I love you”, she said with a smile which only the feeling of homecoming brings.
“Hey! What do you mean by that?” he asked; once again repeating Shakthi’s response from that Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t know. But I love you”, she said and touched his cheeks.
Meanwhile, Shakthi’s older sister Poorni informed the doctors that Shakthi has gained her consciousness. They came to check her and declared that there is nothing to worry anymore. She asked Karthik to meet outside the ward and said, “She has to be under observation for at least month in the hospital and she would need another six months to get back to normal. There are multiple fractures as you know”, she said in the professional yet compassionate tone. Karthik nodded, silently thanking all the Gods and guardian angels although he was an atheist.
“Karthik, sit beside me. Don’t leave me”, Shakthi mumbled as she dozed off. Her mother ruffled his hair with motherly care and Poorni offered to stay in the hospital that night with Karthik. He just smiled and turned away to look at Shakthi – his life. More memories came gushing towards him.