Ramesh and Maya were happily married for almost five years now and were aptly regarded as the ‘couple with best understanding’ among the friend circles. If Maya was tall, slim and beautiful, Ramesh was handsome and well built. That had made them a perfect photogenic couple. Sanjay was one of their common friends who they shared their secrets with. Though Maya had met Sanjay only after her marriage, his honesty and decency had put him in the good books of Maya. Maya had a traditional approach towards life whereas Ramesh was a new generation character with manly desires.
In between the aura of contentment in their lives, there was a shadow of gloominess spread. The main reason was that despite their heart-felt efforts Maya’s was unable to conceive. In the initials years of their marriage, Ramesh used to tell Maya that he wishes to have a junior Maya in their family. ‘Maya Memsahab’ was the title he had reserved for their daughter. But the height of his desperation for having a girl child had unfortunately led him into the murky shadows of despair which Maya had felt many times. They have seen the doctor also and Maya still remember doctor hinting on the possible weakness from Ramesh side.
Radhika was also a colleague of Ramesh and Sanjay whom Maya had met for the first time in the party hosted by Ramesh for his friends immediately after marriage. Beauty has bestowed herself generously on both Maya and Radhika though Maya had a desi look whereas Radhika always wore the gorgeous western look. In a party, if Maya was at the nucleus, Radhika remained in the orbit around with both fetching equal attention from the crowd.
Today forenoon while on a shopping spree, Maya had noticed Radhika and Ramesh sipping coffee in a coffee shop, inside a shopping mall. Though she was shocked, she thought it right not to create a scene at the shop. Immediately she had expressed her displeasure to Sanjay and asked him to come to her house.
Sanjay prepared himself with all the possible questions and answers and reached her house. She opened the door and Sanjay could make out that she was reasonably disturbed. Sanjay pulled a dining chair and tried to make himself ready for the attack as he watched her pressurized walking from one end to other end of the room. For long, she didn’t say anything but Sanjay could sense that the matter was too hot!
There is something going on between my husband and Radhika?’
‘Oh, come on Maya. Don’t be so silly. There is absolutely nothing. How can you point finger of suspicion onto your own husband? Isn’t it a bit too harsh?’
‘Oh…ho…ho… When, he does it, there is nothing wrong but when I complain, it is bit too harsh? All you men are alike. You won’t understand the decorum one need to maintain after marriage. There are ethics, values and responsibilities associated with this institution called marriage. Had it been an academic institution, the principal would have suspended Ramesh for defying the rules. Understood?’
Though Sanjay felt that Maya was one hundred percent right in her approach towards men, but in the case of Ramesh, she was wrong.
‘Maya, there is nothing between them.’ Sanjay pleaded.
‘So, what was Ramesh doing with Radhika then? What is so healthy about this flirting? And, why is Radhika showing such interest in Ramesh?’ Maya’s needle of suspicion started enlarging.
She further continued, ‘Listen Sanjay! We need to trap them next time when they are together.’ Maya’s detective instinct arose, ‘Let me see how healthy their flirting is?’
‘This is not right Maya. You are suspecting a loyal and devoted husband’ Sanjay tried to put up his point again.
‘I am not suspecting, Sanjay! I am sure. And if you cannot help me in this, I will seek someone else help. I cannot allow this type of Raasleela of a man neither in my house nor in my life. And, if Ramesh thinks that his future lies with Radhika, he is free to move on. I will be the first one to sign on the divorce papers. But I can’t tolerate this so-called healthy flirting that revolves around some other lady’s bed’ Maya delivered her judgment.
For the first time, Sanjay looked uncomfortable. He understood that the termite of suspicion has already entered Maya’s mind.
‘Look Maya! Cancer has the cure but not the suspicion. Please think peacefully’ as he uttered the word cancer, the voice of Dr. Shenoy started echoing inside his ears. ‘Cancers are not curable, if they are detected at an advanced stage.’ And further the entire episode started getting replayed in front of his eyes.
The bed of that cancer hospital. Radhika lying on it. Dr. Shenoy explaining both Sanjay and Ramesh about the tumour that was detected inside the brain of Radhika.
‘The tumour is in its third stage and in a place from where it is impossible to operate and remove. Going by this, the patient may survive only one to one and half years.’ Dr. Shenoy had clearly told them.
They could see the fake smile on Radhika’s face and the agony seeping out of her eyes.
In fact, the detection of the tumour was by luck. That day Ramesh was being consoled by Sanjay and Radhika on the findings of Maya medical reports. The report said that Maya had a genetic disorder due of which she would never be able to conceive. Ramesh reports were perfectly fine. It was that day that Ramesh had asked both Radhika and Sanjay to promise that they will not reveal the truth to Maya. To comfort Maya, Ramesh had spun the story of him being incapable of producing baby. At that time, when Radhika was consoling Ramesh, she had suddenly felt giddiness and fallen on the floor. Ramesh and Sanjay had immediately rushed her to the hospital. Various tests were conducted in the hospital and finally doctors discovered a deadly tumour inside her head. She was then referred to a multispecialty cancer care hospital where Dr. Shenoy had also confirmed the same.
This was a big shock for Ramesh and Sanjay. Ramesh, who was thinking that his pain of not having a baby was bigger, had now directed all his prayers towards the recovery of Radhika’s health. Dr. Shenoy was one of the best doctors in the country and Radhika had understood and accepted that she will not live more than a year and half.
Ramesh had stressed that Radhika should start the treatment immediately but she didn’t agree to that. ‘What will it fetch? Two-three more days? That’s it! I do not want to waste the medicines and time now. If I have only one and half year, I want to live it to the fullest.’ she had told that day. Both Ramesh and Radhika looked distressed and then Radhika had suddenly asked, ‘Ramesh, I want to ask you something. Please, do not say No!’
‘What Radhika? Had I ever told no to you, anytime?’
‘No, Ramesh, this time I am quite serious and I want a blanket yes from your side.’ She had held Ramesh hand into hers and asked.
‘I promise to you Radhika. You can ask anything!’
‘Ok Ramesh, listen! I want to donate my uterus to Maya.’ She had looked directly inside Ramesh eyes.
What? Are you crazy? Do you know, what it means?’ Ramesh had yelled with disbelief.
‘I know, Ramesh. Calm down. Listen to me just for two minutes. See, you are also distressed and we all know that your wish of having a kid can only be fulfilled if Maya can get a healthy uterus. I will donate. See, after some time, my body will be just an assembly of organs trying to work and survive against this deadly tumour. I cannot take any of my body parts with me. Why can’t the needy utilise the parts they require?’ She had told Ramesh avoiding eye to eye contact with him.
‘No Radhika. I can’t do this to you. Organ donation after death is understandable. How can one donate a working organ while still alive? I understand that we all are already in a state of trauma but I cannot accept such cannibalisation for my personal gains. If it is the decision of God that I should not become a father, I need to accept it. I cannot put your life in trouble. It is defying the law of nature.’ Ramesh had replied.
‘My life in trouble? Ramesh, please recall the words of doctor! I am already dead. If you want me to live the life, please provide me with this opportunity. I am sure, Maya will also agree to it. Promise me this, and I promise you that I will not die until I see your baby.’ She had pleaded with her eyes filled with tears.
‘OK. Give me couple of days Radhika. I will ask Maya and seek her opinion in this regard. I am not very sure whether she will agree to this.’ Ramesh had said.
‘Sanjay! What happened?’ Maya shook him out of the past.
‘Nothing Maya!’ Sanjay told her but then he thought it was the right time to tell Maya everything as situation is getting worse. Today Maya is questioning the loyalty of Ramesh and pointing fingers towards Radhika. Tomorrow, it may deteriorate further.
‘Maya. Do you know the fact that you cannot become mother?’ Sanjay told her.
‘Yes, I know. There is some sexual weakness in Ramesh. But, how does this relate to Radhika being roaming around with Ramesh?’ She focussed her eyes on Sanjay.
‘You are wrong Maya. Problem is with you. Just check those medical reports, Ramesh has kept inside his suitcase’ Sanjay said and then he narrated the entire episode to Maya.
‘Oh, my God! Is it really true? I cannot believe this! How can Ramesh hide such serious thing from me?’ Maya was shocked with surprise and then the tears of guilt started flowing out from her eyes. She sat on the sofa with hands on the head and fingers deep penetrated inside the hairs.
‘Relax Maya! We are all friends. Neither Ramesh nor Radhika wanted to hurt you. I am the eye-witness of each and every event.’ Sanjay consoled Maya.
‘It is fine Sanjay. You were right. The bug of suspicion had entered my mind and blinded my thoughts. I had not only doubted Radhika but my own husband. How shameful! How will I face Ramesh and Radhika now? In this condition also, she had thought of us and see my immaturity, I have mistrusted both of them. Oh! God.’
‘It is ok, Radhika. Relax now’ Sanjay said.
‘I cannot relax now, Sanjay, till I meet Radhika. Please come with me.’ She said.
Both Sanjay and Maya reached Radhika house.
‘Hi Maya! Good to see you. I was just thinking about you,’ Radhika welcomed Maya with a cheerful smile.
Maya hugged her and started crying. Radhika was perplexed but then Sanjay told her the entire episode.
‘Hmmm….that is too bad Maya. We are all friends.’ Radhika said.
‘I know Radhika. I am extremely sorry. Please forgive me.’ Maya pleaded.
‘I can forgive you but on one condition. You will give me a baby. Promise me?’ Radhika said.
‘I promise Radhika.’
Few days later the transplantation was performed. It was a success. Few months later as predicted, Maya conceived.
However the condition of Radhika started deteriorating. She was put on radiation and chemotherapy course.
All the pregnancy checks of Maya were fine. Doctors gave her the expected delivery date too. And finally the say arrived.
Maya was in the labour room. Ramesh was walking with anxiety on the corridor outside the operation theatre. Suddenly his phone rang. Sanjay was on line.
‘Ramesh! Radhika’s condition is very bad. She wants to talk to you.’ Sanjay said over the phone and gave the phone to Radhika.
‘Ramesh…..I…’ and then there was a complete silence.
‘ooo..uuu…annnn….’ the sound of the newborn from the operation theatre hit his ears.
‘Congratulations Sir! It is a girl.’ The nurse came out and informed Ramesh.
Ramesh was stunned as he looked on the phone in his hand.
‘Hello!’ He uttered in a state of shock.
‘Ramesh! Radhika is no more with us.’ Sanjay replied from the other side.
‘No Sanjay! Radhika has arrived! She has arrived!’ and Ramesh ran towards the operation theatre.