‘She is very critical. We’ll try our best but there is very little chance’ said the doctor. Rishab couldn’t believe his ears. All the noise around him phased out; his eyes had a burning sensation and he felt unusually hot. It was as if he was left in the scorching sun without water and with miles and miles of sand around.
Rishab and Kriti had met while working for the same client in Austria; though they worked in rival companies they had grown to become close friends. They would spend hours together engrossed in work and would often hangout after office too. They were to each other the only company in a land far off from their own. It was during these work rendezvous’ that they fell in love and decided to spend their entire life together.
Both their families also approved of Rishab and Kirti’s feelings without any objection which is rare in Indian society. Infact they would coax them to get married every time they would come home for vacations. But Rishab and Kriti had other plans. They wanted to get married only when they would have earned enough to settle down comfortably.
One year turned to two and two turned to three but no matter how much they earned they always felt that it wasn’t enough and they needed to accumulate some more before taking up more responsibilities in life. Infact after a point even their parents had stopped forcing them to marry.
Finally after eight years of courtship; they decided that they now have sufficient to take the leap towards another path in life. So both of them retuned to India and finally began the preparations of their marriage. As in any Indian marriage, it was more like a carnival with relatives and rituals filling the air in both the households. They were happy that finally what they had planned for would be realised and they would then live happily ever after. But just then life threw the most cruel dice in the game of their lives.
On the night of Kriti’s and Rishab’s sangeet, Kriti started feeling very weak suddenly. She was taken to her room to rest as everyone thought it was the stress of the wedding functions which had gotten to her. But they were so wrong. She only got worse by the minute. She began experiencing breathlessness and felt pain around her chest and back.Rishab now was beginning to get worried; Kriti wasn’t even able to lift her hands due to the pain. One of their relatives suggested that Kriti should be taken immediately to the hospital as the symptoms seemed to him like a heart attack. But everyone present even Rishab retorted that how could that be as Kriti was so young and didn’t have any history of heart troubles. However to be on the safe side they finally took her to the nearby hospital.
As they waited for the doctor to complete his diagnosis; Rishab just prayed that nothing would happen to the love of his life. As the doctors came out; Rishab’s worst fears were confirmed. Kriti had indeed had a heart attack and it was a major at that. She was very critical as there had been delay in getting her professional medical care.
How could this be happening to them Rishab thought! Kriti was so excited for the wedding; finally she would get to be called Mrs Rishab; finally she would get to wear that dazzling red lehenga that she had saved for over all these years; finally she would apply mehendi upto her arms and look like the most beautiful bride ever! They thought it was the perfect timing to get married; what if something happens to her what would happen to all their dreams.
The doctors had given 72 hours and if Kriti would survive that she could be saved. Rishab sat on the bench next to Kriti with his hands on his head. He realised how stupid they had been. In the quest for money and other worldly comforts they postponed some of the most important things in life. They planned for everything to happen in the future; a future that may or may not be theirs’ anymore.
As the hours passed and Kriti showed no signs of improvement; Rishab stood outside the glass wall of the ICU and looked at her constantly. He prayed for one last chance; if Kriti would make it through this time Rishab promised he would never run after temporal wealth. He just wished for a second chance at life with Kriti.
As Kriti lay there battling for her life; Rishab cursed himself for not being able to do the right thing for her. On several occasions when Kriti had suggested that they could actually get married instead of waiting any longer Rishab had coerced her to wait some more for a better ‘future’. He yearned now to turn back time and atleast give Kriti a few days of actual joy.
From one hour, it was now 65 hours since doctors had given the timeline. Kriti showed no sign of improvement. Rishab couldn’t hold it together any longer; he sat outside the ICU crying and sobbing. It was heart breaking to see him like that. He just wanted Kriti to come back to him again. One moment he prayed to God; in the other he looked at Kriti then again he cursed himself. He was hopeful one minute and hopeless the very next. He was volatile; he was scared and he was helpless.
Life sometimes plays cruel jokes on us to teach us valuable lessons. The same thing was happening to Kriti and Rishab. Did they get a second chance; did life smile on them again? As the 72 hour window drew to a close, Rishab had given up all hopes for a miracle. But as they say magic happens when you are least expecting. So the forces of the universe waived their magic wand and gifted life back to Kriti. They had got there second shot at happiness only this time with a measured and deep outlook towards it. They had learnt ‘Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth. It comes from our loved ones’