“That’s enough.” Shubham snapped. “Go…”
“No!” Chotti shrieked pushing away Tarun and Saddy, “You can’t give up!” She glared fiercely at Shubham, “I won’t give up.” She bent her head over the lifeless form of the little girl, pinched her nose and blew gently into her mouth.
She began pumping her chest.
She jerked away Saddy’s restraining hand and continued in her desperate measures ignoring the muttered whispers behind her back and the fading footsteps.
“Enough Dr. Raizada.” Shubham’s voice was stern but not unkind. “You have to know when to give up.”
“I order you to.”
Chotti didn’t bother wasting her breath. She had to save this little girl. She had to. She was so tiny. So precious. Why did she have to die so young?
Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Chest compression. One. Two. Three. Four. Five….
“Let her go. We tried our best.”
Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen. Chotti trembled and shook with the effort of not giving in to her emotions.
“Come on Chotti.” His voice was soft and the hand on her shoulder insistent. “There are other patients who are waiting…”
Chotti doubled over unable to stem rising gush of emotions. Warm comforting arms encircled her. She clung to him and wept all over him. “It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not done.” She snuffled and mumbled. “It’s not just done. What was her fault? Tell me?” She gathered steam and clutched hold of Shubham by the white coat and thrust her tear-streaked crazed face into his, “Just that she’s a girl? That gives them the right to drown her? And then pretend she fell into a pool of water. Does that make it right? How many more will they kill before they are punished? Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!”
“I would tell you, if only you would stop spitting snot into my face.” The matter of fact tone acted as a bucket of cold water. Chotti stilled and attempted to withdraw but he tightened his grip on her. He withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face and then proceeded to wipe her face. “Blow.” He held the kerchief to her nose. She blew and let him clean her up like a little girl. He put it away in his pocket and dug out his comb and proceeded to comb her flying curls holding her face by the chin. Spent and comforted she let him until she ventured to look up and catch the twitch in lips and the quirk in his brow.
“It’s not funny.” She snapped out of her daze and his arms.
“It’s not,” he agreed gravely “but it is time to move on.” He said pointedly. “That’s what a professional doctor does – do what has to be done, can be done and move on.” He saw the rising tide of mutiny as she glanced at the still tiny body on the bed. “But I forgot, you aren’t a professional are you?” His tone held just the right amount of sneer to rile her and get her juices flowing. This time, instead of collapsing or attacking him, she marched out and accosted the dead girls relatives – and blasted them. An ASR-would-be-proud riot act and insisted the police officer posted there, take immediate action on the medico-legal case.
Shubham crossed his arms and stood behind her. She was so passionate and zealous. No half-measures for her! He turned to look at the policeman who was clearly not inclined to take up the bother of filing a case and the associated legwork not to mention paperwork. Probably had been bribed while they had been battling it out inside, Shubham thought cynically. Shubham caught his eye, jerked his head. Bowing to authority, the policeman sighed and said, “Okay daksahab, as you say daksahab. I’ll arrest them and take them to the PS right away.”
Shubham edged away from the scene sending up a silent prayer of thanks for the genderless ‘daksahab’. Thankfully Chotti Spitfire Raizada hadn’t realized that the policeman had bent to his silent command rather than her vocal demands. Otherwise he would have been in for another earful on the injustices and prejudices against women and how it was a man’s world blah blah blah. All right of course, but he was in no mood for it right now.
“Coffee?” He caught up easily with her as she dejectedly walked back to the casualty. “Oops sorry,” he took another sip, “It’s already jhoota.” He raised the Styrofoam cup in a toast, “good refreshing coffee. You should get some.” He walked passed her, rather attempted to do so when Chotti reached out and neatly snitched the cup from him.
“Hey,” Shubh protested. “That’s mine. It’s got my saliva on it.”
Chotti made an elaborate gesture of taking a sip from the other side of the cup. “It’s ok,” she dismissed, “if you can store my mucus in your pocket,” she took another sip but taking care to avoid from where he had been drinking. “I can drink from the same cup.”
Shubham narrowed his eyes and flicked back his cup. Holding her eyes with his, he repeated her gesture of rotating the cup but to place his lips exactly where hers had been and drained the cup. He tossed the cup into the bin. Someone jostled Chotti and pushed her close to Shubham. His coffee scented breath assailed her senses as he whispered just for her ears. “One day there will be no intervening Styrofoam or coffee.” She looked at him in shock. “Someday.” He promised huskily. Her eyes widened and her lips parted. “Soon.” He vanished into the melee while Chotti tried to steady her racing pulse and ragged breath. Had he or had he not touched a finger to his lips and then to hers? She pressed her lips together and clenched her fists. How could she miss his lips on hers like a physical ache when she hadn’t even felt them ever? What if she died before she felt them?
Bas bas kar Angel bas kar!
Have you lost it completely? Shubham berated himself as he turned the corner. What the hell were you thinking? What if she brought a case of harassment against you?
She wouldn’t do that!
Oh wouldn’t she? She’s the spoilt brat of a millionaire. She can do anything.
Oh can she? Could she save the little girl? Besides I had to do something to drive away that haunted lost look in her eyes.
Kyon? Tere ko kya faraq padta hai?
😀 😀 Clearly I have lost it – go on go ahead and say it! Happy Vishu, belated Baisakhi greetings and Shubho Nobobarsho in advance and all other Indian festivals that I have missed. Do educate me, Thanks 🙂