4th August, 2000 | 23:40 – 23:55
“My friends must be waiting for me. I’ll just get a bandage done quickly, take a shot of pain killer, and move ahead.”
Checking his high-power spects, he thought Bollywood style “Hmm..maybe the hit on my head will improve my vision a bit, as also improve my memory power!” – and laughed out.
“Oh no! Where’s my bag and cycle?” He turned around to see an helping angel riding his cycle just behind him, carrying his bag.
Relieved, he suddenly remembered his planned rendezvous with the one he liked. “How am I going to let her know? She must be already waiting!”
With these thoughts, he never realized when the rickshaw pulled inside the hospital. It being just 7:15 AM, the Doctor was not available. The Compounder, however, understanding the gravity of the situation, gave a call, and started administering first aid. He made him lie down, and brought the kit.
He slowly started to remove the roughly applied bandage around his head, and suddenly reacted – “Who has applied so much sugar?” Still lying down, he explained that his new found roadside friends did whatever best to stop blood loss, and that the sugar might have improved clotting. “Agreed”, said the Compounder, smiling, “but half a kilo sugar!”, and continued cleaning the injury. It seems that as soon as the wound found an opening, there was a small jet of blood that shot out, seeing which the angel who had brought him, screamed. The Compounder scolded him and asked him to wait outside. It was the first time that he realized the seriousness of the injury.
The Doctor arrived and looking at the wound said that immediate stitches would have to be applied, and if he was feeling dizzy or nauseated. He wasn’t, he said. then on being asked, he provided the address, but was hesitant to provide the phone number as he did not want to shock his parents, and also because his father was not well and had slept quite late the previous night. But in about fifteen minutes of his head being stitched up under local anesthesia, he threw up. The Doctor was strict now about the phone number and said that because of his throwing up, he would need to be under observation for at least a day.
“Oh no! I cannot stay here – I have a play in the evening!” But he had a feeling that he had lost the chance he had thanked God for, just last night. The angel, stayed there till his parents came. “Thank you” was all he could say to express his gratitude. His mother, as expected, when she saw him, had tears welling up the corners of her eyes, but fought hard to hold them back successfully. Slowly some more of his family members started showing up, and he heard that the bus driver was also caught. His father decided not to take an action saying “My son is safe, that’s all I want. Just let the driver go with a strict notice to drive more carefully.”
His mother said something that day that he was to remember forever. “Beta (-son), I am sure that with so much of sugar stuffed in your head, you would have sweet thoughts all your life.”
Then, out of the blue, his whole Theatre Group turned up. He said he was sorry that he could not be there – and showed his anxiety as to how would they manage. He also thought that God had punished him for playing the prank on Ashish. They reprimanded him for thinking like that and that he should just take rest. Though they tried hard, they couldn’t convince him that all will be well. She also came by the noon – the one he had started to like, and had tears in those big, doe-like eyes.
Suddenly, to everyone’s shock, and amusement, he started to laugh loudly. They were also worried if he was hallucinating with a head stitched and bandaged, and because he was also on a drip. Naturally, being both worried, and curious, they asked him why was he laughing?
“You know what guys”, he said, in between laughs, “I think I am right now the best suited person for doing the show completely by myself with my head being emptied of so much blood.”
And why is that so, they asked.
“The name, my friends, the name! Do you remember the name of our play?”
After a seconds silence, they screamed together “Damn! It’s ‘The Empty Mind’! Ha!Ha!Ha!”