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A glimmer of hope

“Sir, mam’s condition is getting worse, by the day. They are telling that only dialysis is not sufficient. A kidney transplant is necessary. Neha mam is doing her best to find a donor. But in this lockdown, it is almost impossible to find a donor. Everyone is dreading to come to the hospitals. We are helpless, sir,’’
Chumki said. Arnab replied, “Yes, I can understand. I am also trying to locate any donor from the internet but nobody is available at this moment. Let’s see. Keep me informed, Chumki. And let me know if you need any more money. I will transfer it.” Arnab hung up the phone. He thought to himself that, it is only money that he can offer at this moment. He has been left stranded in Mumbai due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
His mother was suffering from acute kidney problems in Kolkata. There was none to support her except Neha. But he was a bit hesitant to take Neha’s help. But their maidservant Chumki insisted that she needed some help and it would be very difficult to handle it all by her. Arnab, half–willingly relented since all other relatives could not make it to the hospital. Arnab knew very well that they were never too keen to come and this pandemic has just provided them with a strong excuse.
Neha was his glimmer of hope. After four long years, he called up Neha, and narrated everything to her. To his utter surprise, she was quite quick to respond and she soon reached the hospital defying the perils of the lockdown. Arnab remembered that Neha and her mother were never in good terms with each other. Her widowed mother always considered that Neha was not a suitable match for him since she belonged to comparatively lower social background.

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She agreed to their marriage only because of Arnab. Initially, Arnab was quite happy that their five-year relationship had finally culminated into marriage. But things started to drastically change over the next few months. They soon started having squabbles. Neha was always complaining that Arnab was not giving her much time. And Arnab realized that Neha was quite a different person from what he knew all these years.
She was always dictating terms. She was not providing any personal space and was suffocating him. These niggles soon accumulated and created an irreparable rift between them. They started despising each other’s presence. Arnab’s mother used to blindly support Arnab in their squabbles. Arnab’s mother was always trying her best to demean Neha.
This made it very difficult for Neha to cope up with the situation. She felt very lonely in the household and every day spent there seemed like a battle. She could not bear this mental turmoil and one day she finally decided to leave. They soon got a divorce on mutual consent. Arnab had shifted to Mumbai after bagging a decent job there. Arnab had even entered into a relationship with a colleague, Urmila, and was trying to get settled with her.
But his world was jolted when he learned, a few months back, that her mother was having a severe kidney problem. He returned to Kolkata and arranged her regular dialysis. Keeping in mind the expenses, he was unable to shift her to Mumbai and had to leave her under the supervision of their trustworthy, domestic help, Chumki.
But suddenly, during the lockdown, her condition became worse and Chumki had to hospitalize her. Arnab was seated on a sofa of his apartment and was aimlessly gazing through the window. The usual hustle-bustle of the Mumbai streets was missing. He went near the veranda where a cool breeze was blowing. A few memories were flashing on his mind. He was quite happy with Neha at one point in time.
They were head over heels in love. He often wondered, what went wrong? Maybe they should have handled the matter with more patience. Probably, they were a bit too impulsive. He should have been more considerate towards Neha and should have understood her situation. Now, he realizes that Neha would have been feeling very lonely at that time. He should have given her company. But now it’s too late. But does he love Urmila? He sometimes ponders, or he is just getting settled just for the sake of it. Can he ever forget Neha?
Suddenly, he realized that his phone was vibrating and saw it was Chumki’s call. Arnab hastily picked up the call. “Sir here is very good news for you. Neha mam has decided to donate her kidney and fortunately, her kidney has also matched. Tomorrow will be their operation. The doctors have also become quite optimistic, now. You just have to quickly transfer some money, sir.’’ Arnab was too stupefied to reply.

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