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‘Aashayei’ 4th Abstract

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‘Aashayei’ 4th Abstract 

Yashwardhan kept staring outside his window as the chauffeur drove him to the beautiful and serene land of Haridwar. The soothing and refreshing air of the holy land was filling the atmosphere. Yashwardhan was in a deep slumber, as if he had finally found a lap of someone so beloved, to rest himself forever. He didn’t even come to know when he reached the asharam, ‘aashayei’.

“Sir! Please wake up!”, the chauffeur woke him up and held the car’s door open for him.  Yashwardhan was rubbing his eyes like a little kid, trying to adjust himself in the bright daylight of the city! Haridwar always had a special place in his heart. It was the birthplace of his beloved wife Yamini, and also the place where she took her last breath. How much he missed her! He felt as if she came rushing to hug him as he felt the fresh air touching his body. Her childlike laughs were still audible in those currents of the Ganga on whose basin the asharam was built. Those chirping of birds reminded him of her blissful voice, nothing on earth was as divine as that! For a second he was taken back in those days when he visited this city as a young man, coming to meet his would-be bride for the first time. The beauty of Yamini’s eye which made him go bonkers in the first encounter. The bright clear sky reminded him of that blush-fill smile of her’s which she noticed, he was looking at her from the corners of his eyes. That first emotion, of that thing which poets and authors called ‘LOVE’. Who says there is something called, ‘arranged marriage’?
You fall for your soulmate in seconds when, you know, you have found the one!

“Sir!”, the chauffeur’s call brought him back to the present state. His heart sank a little, he missed Yamini every second, every minute of his life! But he knew she was there, somewhere inside him, and everywhere around him. Holding his hand, walking next to him. Smiling with him, every time his lips stretched in one, and crying every time he felt something paining.

Yashwardhan walked towards the reception area of the asharam. It was a beautiful place, with plants and trees adoring every corner of the area. He passed through the joggers park, and was surprised to see that people from all age groups, even young kids were playing around. He felt a little amused, as he had thought that an HIV+ asharam must be only for old aged people like him.

“Hello Sir! Welcome to aashayei!”, a pretty young lady Sanskripti welcomed him.
“Thank-you, my friend Dr. Vinay Singh had spoken to you about my stay I guess!”, Yashwardhan asked.
“Oh! Yes, sir, I hope you are Mr. Yashwardhan Singh from Delhi?”, the lady at the reception inquired.
“Yes!”
“Alright sir, the arrangements for your stay have already been done! I am calling an attendant, he will take you around the asharam and will show you the rooms allotted as well! I hope you will like our humble place! If in case, you face any problem, we are here to assist you!”, she said with a smile and called a young boy Arjun to escort Yashwardhan to his abode.

Yashwardhan smiled at Arjun, as he picked his luggage and requested him to follow to the room.
“Hey, you don’t need to carry everything, wait! Let me share your trouble!” Yashwardhan smiled, and look a bag from Arjun. Arjun was relatively impressed by Yashwardhan’s kindness, he said Thank-you and smiled back to him. There was something, which was connecting them instantly.

As they walked towards the room. Yashwardhan noticed Arjun, he was a tall and well built boy, still in his teens. His growing facial hairs or beards and mustaches were giving the signs of his growing masculinity. His demeanor and etiquette clearly showed he was a kid belonging to a cultured and well to do family. Still, why was he working in an asharam like this?
Yashwardhan kept pondering over it. He wanted to ask Arjun as to why was he here. But wasn’t able to get right words for that.

“Here’s your room sir! I hope you will like it!”, Arjun finally uttered something, as they reached the room allotted to Yashwardhan and he opened the door for Yashwardhan to enter.
“Thank-you son! That’s so kind of you!”, Yashwardhan thanked him and pulled out his wallet to give him some tip for his service.
“No need for that,  sir! I am not an employee over here. This is my home!”, Arjun told him when he saw Yashwardhan opening his wallet.
“What?”, Yashwardhan was taken aback. He couldn’t get, what was Arjun trying to say.
“I mean to say, sir, I also live in this ashram because of the reason you have come here!”, Arjun told his side of the story.
“That means….you too are……………”
“Yes sir! I am also an HIV+ patient! That’s why my mom and dad have sent me here! Now this is my home!”, Arjun replied. He seemed so composed, as if expecting a fatal disease that too at such a young age meant nothing to him. Yashwardhan was crestfallen!
He felt so sorry for the kid! His life was just about to start, and it took the turn of a dead end out of nothing! He went numb, he didn’t know how to react. He kept staring at Arjun’s adolescent face! He was such a handsome yet so innocent looking boy!
“You don’t need to worry sir! I am perfectly fine. I take my medicines regularly, and the doctor says I have, many years to live!”, Arjun replied confidently. Even though his reply made Yashwardhan feel better, still his heart for pounding in pain.
“How did you get this infection kid?”, Yash asked him.
“Nothing much, sir! You make mistakes out of stupidity and lack of knowledge of consequences, then pay for it!”, Arjun answered. His remorse was coming over face now, but he was trying to shove it!
“I didn’t get you!”
“Sir, it is simple, I went to Goa with my school friends two years back, we all decided that we will get a tattoo of our group’s name on our shoulders! I didn’t want it, but still out of peer pressure I agreed! We didn’t have any knowledge of how and what precautions should be taken while getting a permanent tattoo! We went to the shop with cheapest rates as we all were mere school kids and didn’t have enough to pay a hefty amount! He used the same needle for tattooing  for at least 10-15 people. My friends were lucky that they all got tattooed by a un-infected needle, but I wasn’t!”, Arjun told Yashwardhan.

Yashwardhan collapsed in bed, he had never expected that HIV could spread by such casual mistakes also. He stared at Arjun’s face blankly, unable to utter anything. There was a long undefined turmoil which was troubling him inside. His eyes were going moist. He was just not able to take the harsh truths of life! He lay down there like a stone suddenly hit by a thrashing sea wave, he was hurt but couldn’t move. He wanted to scream, but didn’t have any strength left within him. He wanted to hug Arjun and tell him, he will be alright someday. But that too was a lie!
TO BE CONTINUED………………………………………………………..

By – Udisha M.
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