“Rohini, tell me what to do”, said Rahul, his voice cracking with emotion.
Rohini could see that Rahul’s eyes were brimming over. The incident had impacted him greatly. Her pillar of strength, the man who could face a thousand storms and still emerge unscathed and victorious, was crumbling before her very eyes.
She too was dejected. For the first time since their marriage she had seen this side of Rahul. He was looking at her, pleading with his eyes for a miraculous answer that would save them from this quandary. But, she had none to offer.
“Do we have no other choice”, asked Rahul, looking at Rohini with a quiver in his voice.
“Sometimes there is no happy choice, rahul, only one less grievous than the others”, she replied softly.
Bleak eyes gazed at her. The same eyes were often full of mischief and laughter. Today, they were lifeless, devoid of emotion.
The tragic phone call a week back had jolted them and rushed them to the hospital ICU. Rahul’s neighbour had called with the news that his mother had suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital in a semi comatose state. Respiratory distress had exacerbated her already critical condition and she had been put on a ventilator.
Rohini had received the call at home and she had borne the heavy burden of informing Rahul.
She remembered how his eyes had lit up as she had walked into his cabin at the office. He had been bent over a document on his desk, intently studying the text. On spying her standing quietly by the door, his eyes had crinkled in happiness.
But, Rohini’s reticence had sent off warning bells and he had asked, “Rohini, is everything all right? What is wrong?” Sigh! He knew her too well.
At his query Rohini had stifled a sob and thrown herself into his arms, unable to relay the news at first. Gradually between sobs she had informed him and much to her dismay seen his confident visage crack.
Rahul’s face had gone ashen white and he had clutched at his desk for support. The news had shocked him beyond words. He was an only child. His mother had left his abusive father when he had been very young. She had carved out a life for them in a new city had raised Rahul single handed. She meant the world to him.
“Rahul, we need a decision from you. You are her next of kin. Mummyji has been on the ventilator for the past week and now her vital organs are shutting down. She is brain dead Rahul. It is time to take her off of life support and let her go in peace”, said Rohini, tears streaming down her face.
Slowly, as if in a daze, Rahul looked at her. Then with every semblance of courage that he could muster, he nodded his head at the doctor standing by.
It was time to bid his mother a final farewell.
The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
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Photo by Jair Lázaro