“Hemant, Rajiv is your blood, our son. How can you even think like this?”
At that point of time, I was infuriated and had screamed at Radhika.
“Rajiv’s heart disease is genetic, which nobody has in our families, neither yours nor mine. Then from where did it come?”
Before Radhika could reply I bellowed a nasty sarcastic remark at her,
“Do I need to clarify? Don’t I know, you have still maintained a steady relationship with your old college flame, Ronak?!
I will never forget the pain in her voice when she replied.
“Hemant, Ronak is only a well wisher. Rajiv is your son, our son.”
“Enough Radhika. Don’t expect me to tolerate this anymore. He’s not mine. Ronak has burdened you with this bundle of sin. So go to him and beg for medical allowance.”
Twelve months ago, I had disgraced Radhika with these bitter words and kicked her out of the house, along with eight years old Rajiv. Mom kept pestering me to know why I’d done something so cruel. But I firmly stood by my statement.
“Mom this is our personal matter. You please stay out of it.”
For the last two months I haven’t been answering to any of Radhika’s phone calls or messages. Today I’m finding it difficult to accept, but it isn’t easy to live with a suspicious and a self centered person like me.
Right now I’m in the car, on my way to the hospital. Mom’s words of what she told me last night over the phone, are nonstop echoing in my ears.
“Hemant, do you remember your paternal aunt Krishna, who lives in Sangli? How will you? You’ve never met her. Anyway, I’m sorry to tell you that, her twelve years old granddaughter died of a genetic heart illness. This is the third death in our family. Oh Lord have mercy! I don’t know how many more lives will this hereditary disease of ours take.”
All fearful, on wobbly feet, taking baby steps, I gingerly entered the hospital. And whilst the elevator took me to the ICU, I rubbed my chest and pacified myself.
“Oh God. All cloudy misconceptions are now clear. My constricted heart has also opened up. I just hope, Rajiv….”
The ICU door was wide open and my eyes fell on the heartbeat monitor screen. A flat, straight line was moving on it.