It was almost midnight when the phone started to ring. I wasn't asleep, as yet. But nonetheless seeing her name on my phone's display made me sit up. She never used to call me up this late. And lately, she didn't use to call me at all....
The phone was still ringing in my hand.
Why the heck was she calling me now? Why at this time of the night?
"Err...Hi... It's me..."
"Ya, i kinda realised that seeing your number"
"So what is it? Why are you calling up at this time of the night? "
"There's some bad news I have to give you...."
"Bad news? What happened? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. "
"So what's the bad news??"
"Ruchi and her family had a car accident... "
"WHAT?! How?? When?? Where??"
"About an hour back. On their way back home, a truck rammed into their car near the University"
"Oh my god! Everyone is okay, right?"
"Well, not actually...."
"Whats wrong? Tell me damn it!"
"Well, Ruchi is the only one who survived the accident... Her parents and brother all died on the spot..."
"Oh f**k! This is terrible! How is Ruchi now? Where is she??"
"Ruchi was taken to the nearby civic hospital by the police...The truck driver fled from the spot"
"Ok...I'll be there in the hospital in 20 minutes... You are there with her right?"
"No, I'm at home...I'll be leaving in 10 minutes from here..."
"Ok...I'll pick you up on my way then....Is that okay with you?"
"Well, you know you can just say NO if you don't want to come with me"
"I'll come with you...Just this time..."
"Whatever...I'll be there at your building in 20 mins..."
25 minutes later...
"What the hell? I've been waiting here for past 10 minutes. Why do you always have to be late?"
"Im just 5 minutes late, stop crying like a baby!"
In the hospital...
Me: Ruchi! I'm so sorry! Neha just told me about it....
Ruchi: (sobbing uncontrolably) Mom.....Dad.....Ankur....All gone.....All.....Why did you spare me God?? Why??? I want to die too.....
Neha: Ruchi control yourself...We know its a hard time for you, but don't blame yourself... It's not your fault whatever happened...
Me: Neha's right, don't blame yourself... Everything will be alright....
Ruchi: What will I do without my family??? I want to die too...
Ok, now this was the first time I was with someone who had just lost her entire family! I was completely blank as to what to say to make her stop from crying. I had no clue why i was saying everything will be alright, when i knew it wouldn't be. This sucked! I wanted to help my friend out but didn't know what to say or do!
At this point of time, the nurse comes in and asks us to leave the patient to rest... Outside the room, the corridor is full of Ruchi's relatives... We both walk to a few empty chairs away from Ruchi's room...
Neha: Poor girl! What a terrible loss! I wish we could do something for her...
Me: Ya its a terrible thing to happen...What do you think we could do for her?
Neha: I don't know...My mind is just full of things...I think i need a break!
Me: I think there's a canteen at the end of the corridor, want to have a cup of coffee?
Neha: Yes please....
As we walk through the corridor, I wonder what Ruchi will do without her family. I imagine how it would feel if I loose my entire family...My world would come crashing down! I try to take my mind off the dreadful thought and try to have a look inside the other rooms...
I see patients tied in plaster, lying on the bed.. Some moaning with pain..
A few people are crying over the loss of their dear ones... As we come near the end of the corridor, Neha stops walking and stares inside a room...I retrace my steps to see what has caught her attention... A nurse carrying the new-born hands over the baby to the mother, who is in tears of joy...
I'm suddenly struck by the thought that life is so weird.. Death and birth takes place every single minute.. In this very hospital, while some people are crying over the loss of a loved one, some are beaming with happiness and welcoming a new life into this world.. Whatever happens to Ruchi now, her life will never be the same again.. A void that has been left by the loss of her family cannot be filled by any words that we can say or anything that anyone of us can do.. Now, its a struggle that she has to undertake herself, just to survive.. What a life!
Im so lost in my thoughts that I forget what was I doing in the corridor till I feel Neha's hand on my shoulder..
"Come lets go get that cup of coffee.. "
"Ya lets do.. I think this is going to be one long night.."