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Be There For You

By Iyyalasomayazula Saraswathi


Being an only child, I grew up sheltered most of my life, which doesnt translate to me being a spoilt brat. My conservative parentage neither stopped me from having little fun nor shied away from putting me on the leash if the need arises. It took me 7 years(I flunked the first year because of my stupid insecurities)and a ton of loans to be repaid by my dad to add the 2 most precious letters to my name {dad,being a financial consultant didn’t stop me from pursuing my dream or hesitate to take loans to help me turn my dreams into reality}

I am Dr.Sharanya, fresh pass out & an enthusiastic medical officer in a small hospital in the sunrise state of Andhra Pradesh, trying to find my feet in the field of emergency medicine where lies the thrill and the adrenaline .


Descending from a family of army men ,I’ve always dreamt of continuing the legacy. My grandfather, born during the war for independence wanted his seed to root in the Indian army and strengthen the core of independent India. My appa Mr. Krishnan retired as a major general in the hope that his sons i.e.; anna and me would surpass him one day .

My brother Late Mr. Kireeti died a lieutenant colonel on the battleground ,leaving behind his heavily pregnant wife a widow; which made me think my plans of joining the army as a doctor to be safer option. I am Major Dr.Rudra of Indian army trained to save or even kill if the need arises.


“The universe will start to rearrange itself to make it happen for you”.

Having read books of various genres since childhood I’ve neither believed in the quote nor the book or the entire range of so called motivational/self help books until that fateful day .

30th January 2020—India reported its first case of Covid-19 that raised an alarm amongst healthcare officials but most of us doctors from smaller cities and towns remained unaffected in the hope or you can call stupid belief that there will be no further spread of the disease.

But the drastic spread &the exponential rise of cases across the globe by March caused panic among the citizens urging the govt. to impose complete lockdown on 25th March 2020.

While the govt is formulating other means to curb the spread ;we doctors at tertiary level were assigned the responsibility of identifying suspicious cases, treat and notifying them to the nodal officers.

With steady increase in the cases there arose the need for more medical personnel &govt decided to build a temporary hospital in Delhi taking the help of the army. My friends-- Dr.Kritika , Dr. Rahul &me were asked to work in that temporary hospital near the army hospital dhaulakuan; the adrenaline cravers that we are, jumped at the very idea in order to prove ourselves.


Years of serving in the army had my family relocate from Karnataka to the capital city- Delhi. Appa was posted at the border most of his service while anna & me were all excited about walking in appa’s shoes. The untimely death of my sibling brought me back to reality ,taught me the importance of family and what it must mean to lose a son, husband &father. I was expectant in being posted as a resident physician at the army base hospital dhaulakuanafter completing my postgraduation in pulmonarymedicine from army medical college ;but I was assigned to some remote locations in states like Rajasthan far away from my family &home . I’ve made some really good friends -Dr. Arun and Dr. Antara from radiology & anaesthesia departments ,respectively. Though we were technically neighbours since childhood we hit it for real in medical college.

My eagerness to be with my family , to see my 3 month old niece made me jump to the first opportunity presented during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. to work at the temporary hospital built by DRDO with the help of Indian government & my fellow soldiers( yeah that was one proud moment for us army personnel).

I was appointed as chief of the temporary hospital , provided with a team of 4 doctors 1 from each department of radiology, anaesthesia, general surgery & psychiatry two of which happen to be my besties. My job is to oversee the work of other doctors (due to lack of manpower the govt appointed some doctors outside of the army too), handle any complications & see to it that the facility runs without any glitch.

The happiness of working in our hometown was short lived on seeing the scene unfold in front of our eyes the moment we’ve stepped into the hospital as there were doctors / nurses (couldn’t identify who’s who as all of them were dressed in protective gear)running this way and that which makes me describe this situation asCHAOS!!!! .

Under normal circumstances the bunch of idiots would’ve been thrown out of the facility and the patient would’ve been effectively handled by me or my colleagues but the crisis left us with nothing but to look at them resuscitating the patient which looks nothing less than a circus feat. In 2 long strides I was beside the patient but not too close enough to violate the safety norms&focused on the lady who is under the impression that she could save the patient with her bird brain.Inorder to preserve my sanity I left the room and asked tara ( name given to Antara by her father which became popular among all of her friends too) to arrange for a briefing with the rest of the staff working here, both doctors and nurses.


Finally!!!! After a lot of persuasion of our parents we were allowed to go work in the hospital & prove ourselves…the three of us( popularly called as ‘three monkeys’ because of our notorious behaviour in medical college) entered the hospital with excitement and were not let down as we were awestruck on watching the vast area of the 1000 bedded hospital organized into different cubicles and wards based on severity of the illness i.e. intensive care / critical care , ward for geriatric patients with other debilitating illness suffering from SARS CoV2 were allocated space on ground floor at the heart of the facility while the stable cases were placed at different corners of the hospital ; we mentally saluted to the idea of building a facility like this &those who built this huge facility at such a short notice.

Upon entering what seemed like the administrative office ;we were checked in ,provided with necessary id cards and were introduced to doctors who’ve come from other states to work here [just like us]. All of us were informed that we shall be monitored and guided by few specialists from the army hospital who will be here any minute from now. Since we three are the last ones of civilian doctors to arrive at the facility,we were asked to share the dorm with the team of army doctors.

Just when Rambo(Rahul named himself that as he is a fan of that movie series) ,Kitty[that’s what we call Kritika because of her love for cats]&me thought of freshening up a bit at our dormitory ,we heard the nurse issuing code blue via the overhead speaker; leaving us no choice but to jump into action after dumping our belongings at the admin office . After locating the patient at the far end of the geriatric ward, we rushed to him but were stopped by the nurse incharge as we were supposed to put on protective gear before proceeding further . Though we weren’t least bit comfortable ,after donning the protective gear and sanitizing ourselves , we felt a sense of responsibility towards this patient and all the others resting in their respective beds.

We checked that the patient had no pulse and is unresponsive for quite some time. That is when all hell broke loose as it is our first day as well as the nurse’s resulting in our lack of knowledge of whereabouts of emergency drug vials & the defibrillator. Where I chose to initiate CPR;

Rambo, kitty and the nurse left in search of the drugs and the other necessary equipment.

At that very moment, a team of 5 people dressed in army uniform entered the madhouse [ since my best buddies ended up wheeling the defib like a shopping cart in a mall &the nurse tagging along like a happy puppy] and on seeing the expression on their faces is when I knew all three of us are in deep trouble – 5 pairs of eyes open wide in shock with eyebrows shooting up to the roof; the 3 of us will now be buried in the garbage section of their brains where a mere thought could incinerate us to ashes- so much for getting into their good books .

Out of the 5 a tall, muscular guy [of course all the 4 of them are tall and muscular -army training does that may be] with dark brown eyes came towards us -towards the patient to be precise and the others followed suit. Because they haven’t had the time to sanitize, they did not touch the patient or anything in the vicinity but let us do the needful & stood observing our ministrations.

After stabilizing the patient we were about to leave without gaining any unwanted attention as most of the other doctors & staff gathered around the army crew; that is when a woman with super toned body and sleek black hair dressed in well ironed camo clothes informed us that there will be a short introduction ceremony at the “Chambers” of the chief doctor[ yeah!! Since they’re the ones who built this facility they get to have personal chambers] in about 5minutes and all of us are supposed to attend.

Getting out of the protective gear,ensuring the proper disposal ,sanitizing ourselves thoughroughly & putting on fresh face masks took enough time making us the last ones to enter the chamber hearing some sound we turned to see all 5 Antara -anaesthesia, Dr. Arun- radiology, Dr. Deepak-psychiatry,Dr.Sanjay- general surgery& last but not the least comes the introduction of the chief Dr. Rudra of pulmonary medicine and as quickly as they came all 4 of them left with “chief” still in the chamber . While it hurt that none of them bothered to ask us to introduce ourselves it did not leave my mind that we are still supposed to address the elephant in the room.Now comes the time I was dreading to face when Mr.” Chief “asks the 4 of us to stay back i.e.,kitty, Rambo, me& the nurse to question regarding the incident earlier; he gave us a cold stare after listening to our explanation {which probably sounded silly} and dismissed us out of his designated chamber with a final warning of barring us from entering the facility next time we fail to “behave”.


After hearing those stupid excuses from Ms. Birdbrain and her friends I started developing headache which warrants for an extra strong dose of coffee & just when I was about to go in search of cafeteria ,the door to my cabin flung open and I got a whiff of my most loved coffee brought by Antara – raising suspicions of her being a mind reader ,though she developed a crush on me during our blooming years I never reciprocated as I’ve never felt anything apart from the feeling that I’ve found a bestie forever .

Anyways after relishing my drink I decided to take a tour of the facility and think of any changes to be made . I ‘ve asked Antara if she would like to join me to which she happily agrees& both of us check out the laboratory; ICU,wards ;check on the biomedical waste disposal unit ,made a mental note of what this facility needs - some discipline .Ending the tour with this thought we move towards the cafeteria to grab something to eat. That is where we see Ms. Birdbrain talking animatedly with her friends—I now notice that she has thick curly hair that is coloured at the tips(I don’t know what is that style called and didn’t bother to find out either), multiple ear piercings along with a nose pin -omg why do people go to such lengths to look stylish?? Whatever!!! Antara doesn’t have more than 1 piercing and still she looks decent enough to be called beautiful if not stylish-if I describe anyless or more about Antara’s beauty I will be screwed by ever protective and ever suspicious Arun because he loves Antara but is scared to propose.

While I am busy checking out Ms. Birdbrain, Arun and Deepak join us at our table and discuss on what to eat and the conversation takes a different course from there.


After the so-called briefing;Rambo, kitty and me went in search of coffee and were delighted on seeing the cafeteria. We grabbed chairs and sat checking out the menu and that is when I turn to find Mr.Chief and his friend Antara sitting at a table opposite ours & he is looking in our direction; after a few minutes of staring at us they are accompanied by rest others and that’s the end of it (at least that’s what I thought).

In the meantime, our food arrives and we dig in hungrily, trying to relish whatever scrap the sandwich, a few minutes into eating I feel sense of unease and turn to see Dr. Antara staring at us – at me to be honest and I can feel that she is sizing me up for whatever the reason may be and that made me want to run to my room and stay locked inside forever underneath my warm bedsheet. That is when it hit me that these are the people, we are supposed to share the dorm with oh fish!!!! I badly want change of dorms. Breaking my train of thought kitty tripped and spilled her milkshake all over the place including my shirt hence Iam forced to go to the dorm and change and then I remember leaving our bags in the office room in a hurry – that gave me an idea; gobbling the rest of the sandwich in a hurry I ran towards the office room leaving behind 2 shocked souls i.e., Rahul and Kritika.

I’ve reached the office room in search of the administrator -forgot to tell you earlier even he is appointed by the army (retired personnel it seems) but looks kind enough with receding hairline greying sidelocks wrinkles on forehead, all these topped with a warm smile {I wanted to imagine it as warm because he is my one and only ray of hope}, fingers crossed I step inside and found him typing away something on his computer. Clearing my throat, I stepped in front of him for which I earned a questioning glare (strike it if I said that this man could be my rescuing angel) I plead him to change our dorms but he outright refused stating that is against the schedule. Disappointed , I walk out of his room & that is when I get to hear the conversation between Mr. Baldie (don’t mind me calling him names as that makes me feel more connected to the place ) and his colleague which awakens the creepy side of me -I try sneaking on them and end up beneath a window that provides me with clear audio if not for the scene unfolding inside.

Mr. Baldie’s colleague was asking him what the problem was in shifting us to the dorm on another wing to which the reply baldie gave had my mind reeling. The three of us were set up in the same dorm as that of those army personnel as they wanted to spy on us What the fish!!!!! We will be spied for the entire stay here. Dammit!! I now want to leave this place immediately ; making up my mind I go in search of my two idiotic friends .

It doesn’t take much time to find those two busy talking to a doctor from another state . On reaching them ,he introduces himself as Dr. Karthik from Tamil nadu an aspiring cardiothoracic surgeon who’s facing the same fate like us , appearing in most pg entrance exams but not being able to secure a seat (huh talk about luck) and that is how we made a new friend at the end of the day.

With all the talk going on and the exchange of numbers I completely forgot about what I’ve come to talk about & slowly drag my two friends to a corner and told them what happened earlier. Rambo started laughing- idiot ! while kitty’s expression was a mix between amusement and sympathy, why I mean why are they acting up??arghh!!! Now I feel like kicking my friends in the first place. I shout at both of them and that shuts them up for the time being . Kitty then asks me what is bothering me to stay in the same dormitory as the army doctors. Seriously kitty???!! Iam now doubtful of her concentrating on the topic discussed a while ago , for one last time I gather all my patience and tell them the reason behind our allocating the dormitory which is to be shared with those 5 camos.

After listening to the nth time kitty and Rahul don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that we three are to be spied so called monitored by those “camouflage chameleons “and in return they try to convince me not to bother with such petty issues as they do not find anything wrong in being monitored huh. Finally I give up after sometime and that is when we walk towards the dormitory – it looks like 3 storeyed apartment with the ground floor allocated to army doctors, 1st floor to us and the third floor is left empty for the time being with no one to occupy{ at least that is what I thought} . Our floor is quite good with 3 bedrooms with attached bath( some consolation this is), a kitchen and a cute living room and then we chose a room for each one of us and dashed into our respective rooms. I’ve taken toiletries from my bag and went to freshen up ; changed into my comfy pyjamas- didn’t bother about dinner ,collapsed on the bed and the moment my head touched the pillow I drifted off to the land of dreams .

Rudra :

My body is aching from travelling -driving to be exact as Arun and Antara decided to have some fun while I became the scapegoat in this plan by agreeing to drive the jeep provided by the army till from Rajasthan toDelhi as I was blinded by hometown love forgetting the distance and the monster of a vehicle that is to be driven. Staying behind the wheel for 2 days though Arun took over on and off had its toll on me because I now feel like going to my room& hibernating till the next season. The moment I enter the dormitory I was informed that we are accommodated in the ground and 2nd floors while Ms. Birdbrain & co. in the 1st floor. I didn’t like them being in the samedorm as us but my logical brain was screaming an answer that is more unpalatable than the actual scenario-- inner voice “you people are the last ones to arrive &hence you are the ones who have to adjust in the rooms available heeheehee”&I waste no time in dialling the administrator’s office to find out if this arrangement can be changed but was answered with the monotonous dial tone .

Antara ,Arun &me occupied the rooms in ground floor ;Deepak & Sanjay in the 2nd floor. We freshened ourselves and went to the kitchen to grab a quick snack and retired to our respective rooms, that is when my earlier call to the office is returned by the administrative head informing me that those 3 dumbheads are given this dorm so that they stay under constant vigil as they are recent pass outsand now I am dreading the thought of me or my team for that matter baby sitting that trio ; pushing that thought to the back of my mind I drift off to sleep at last.

I wake up to my ringing alarm and a rising sun, feeling much relaxed I warm up a bit by doing some stretches in my room itself and then freshen up and go to meet the other two who are already sipping their morning cup of coffee . I make a cup for myself and then join them in their morning gossip , these titbits are the ones that keep me entertained amidst this chaos.

Done with coffee and out we go make rounds of all the wards, review reports and instruct the changes to be made in medication charts of a few; advice on lab investigations to be performed the next day and call it a day ; the next week passes by more or less similarly with rounds, routine work ups ,reviews and weaning most of the cases from unnecessary tubes and shifting some of the improved cases from ICU to wards . Finally I exit the facility tired but contented with the overall improvement in the condition of patients and the care given by the staff .


The week passed in a blur with Karthik ,Deepak and me assigned to work together while Kritika and Rahul get the chance to work with Antara and Arun busy with another group. To be frank it isn’t bad to be working with either of them and we had a good time in between treating the sick with breaks cut short as we had those “spacesuits” that couldn’t be changed frequently .

We were never allowed near the high risk cases as Mr. “chief” believed that we or particularly I might mess it up but then nobody could stop me from observing the patients in ICU or read their charts to see what other ailments they had that brought them in here.

Keeping up with this routine we had no time to think about our differences with the army doctors as the moment we reached our rooms we ended up collapsing on our beds and conked out for the day.


Last night was a nightmare with 2 deaths in the ICU , though there were others on the night shift Antara decided to stay as there was no improvement of one of the cases in the ICU . Being the Chief, I stayed in my chamber and asked them to keep me updated as it would be easier for me to reach the ICU if I stayed in the hospital itself . The moment I got a call from Antara I knew that the situation must have gone overboard but still I did not like to jump to conclusions without getting to know about . the situation first hand .

The moment I answered the phone Antara informed me that there is another case in the ICU that deranged and my immediate presence s required. I’ve reached ICU in record time to check on this other case as Antara with other team of doctors is busy stabilizing another patient, lying unconscious on the bed with a number of tubes probing and poking is an old man of 70 years age and I don’t remember seeing him earlier during my rounds. That is when the nurse informs me that he was admitted in the afternoon under Arun and hands me his chart from the afternoon along with his previous case file. I chose to get a brief idea of his history first in case there is any; this man named Satpal is 72 years old ,a chronic smoker and underwent CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting ) along with removal of an aneurysm of the subclavian artery 2 years back and he is on variety of medication ranging from anticoagulants to multivitamins and is followed up regularly at a prestigious hospital in Delhi.

Now I refer to all the lab work up carried out in our facility and then came across the RT-PCR report showing positive ,increase in the white cell count with other parameters altered , X-rays and HRCT films where I could see numerous opacities in both the lungs apart from the pleural effusion which could be the reason for his oxygen saturation to dip to dangerously lower level (50%) that failed to rise even when put on oxygen , while his blood pressure spiked to an abnormal high leaving us no other choice but to intubate and pump more drugs into his body .

While I was getting ready to intubate , Antara and Arun had come after failed attempts of saving the other case, so I’ve stepped aside and Antara took control and intubated the patient . After an hour of titrating the ventilator modes to his needs and giving the additional medication Mr. Satpal seemed to stabilize giving us hope and some time to breathe.Anhour later , I’ve retired to my chamber and lied down on the couch to rest for a bit and did not know when I flaked out , the next thing I hear is waking up to rigorous knocking on my door and the clock on the wall showed the time as 4 am . I opened the door to find the nurse from ICU looking tensed , when asked she told me that Mr. Satpal isn’t doing well even with the ventilator support and that whipped out any remnants of sleep that I had and I made my way to the ICU.

By the time I reached the ICU , Antara & Arun were taking turns in performing the chest compressions and there lay a defibrillator on standby.

We did all that we could but still we couldn’t save the patient and finally at 4:45 am Mr. Satpal was declared to be dead and the procedures for proper disposal of the two bodies was put into motion …

At 5 am the three of us slipped out of our protective gear but put on fresh face masks and entered the café to get coffee to keep us going, we had 3 hours before the hospital comes awake with the morning staff reporting to duties and carrying out regular chores, so we decided to rest in the hospital itself and resume our duties in the morning.


Dreamt of a beautiful sunrise by the beach of my hometown but woke up to the sight of a cloudy morning sky , finished my morning chores and left the dormitory not bothering to disturb my friends .

On reaching the hospital I went straight to the café got my morning dose of coffee and was joined by my now team mates for a quick breakfast of bread &jam- the all time staple. That is when Deepak broke the news of what happened in the ICU last night. Feeling sad for those two departed souls we resume our duties , making a mental note to call my parents as it has been a week since I spoke to them.

Flapping of calendar at the far end of the room is the only indication of the end of a month that was spent working here, getting to know ourselves better even if it meant befriending the “chameleons” and learning from them .


Working with doctors who aren’t from the army during the past one month gave me an insight to the way patients are handled outside army. Though there are certain disagreements , I don’t deny the fact that I got the chance of working with some really good doctors --even Dr.Sharanya- because I haven’t seen anyone as enthusiastic as her -ready to absorb information like sponge and she is pretty diligent too. If anybody would’ve said that my opinion of Ms. Birdbrain I would’ve just laughed on their face but I am happy to be proven wrong .

The day ended just like any other with a final check of all the patients and checking into our dorm because being available round the clock exhausted Tara, Arun and me to the point where we planned to just take off from this place and never return which is not quite possible due to the present state of affairs and thus we decided to just go to sleep and dream of all the good times but all our hopes went down the drain when there was a power outage and the news of the building not provided with any alternative reached us.

Now , other occupants of the building joined us as we are the ones with a torch light. All of a sudden Ms. Birdbrain decides to play antakshari to which Deepak and Sanjay happily agree forcing the rest of us to get involved , with no hope of power returning soon we played all sorts of childish games after which Arun decided to light a candle for better ambience….since the stage has been set I’ve decided to know more about our civilian counterparts &initiated light conversation which turned into full blown questionnaire at the end of which I got to know that Rahul’s family is well off and he has an older sibling who is busy adding millions to the existing billions in their bank accounts; Kritika comes from a joint family that owns jewellery stores in her hometown & she has an elder and a younger sibling pursuing jewellery designing and architecture ,now comes the part that I’ve been waiting for – Sharanya -an only child ,she comes from a middle class family with her father being a financial consultant and her mother a housewife, ending their part of the conversation and by the look on their faces it seemed only fair that we reciprocate them by sharing the same .

A week has passed since the “get-together” and we never got the chance to even exchange pleasantries because our hands were full dealing with the influx of high risk and unmanageable cases from other states even. Our brief encounter had given me the necessary boost to assign Ms. Birdbrain to some challenging cases thus changing the initial strategy.

With the good news that our country had succeeded in its trials to provide us with a vaccine and the possibility of curtailing the disease lifted our spirits in our otherwise monotonous routine and ended up celebrating the proud moment gobbling sandwiches & coke from the cafeteria.

It is 10 days before we were sent to quarantine as a part of the scheduled rotation of the staff and then granted leave that Arun and me started feeling exhausted and we neglected it citing stress and overwork as the possible culprits, but within 12 hours of the onset of fatigue our symptoms manifested into headache, bouts of dry cough and mild breathlessness which sent us running to the lab and get tested and informed our team so that they can watchout for symptoms if any and get tested too .

Instead of waiting for the test report we went into isolation as a safe option to limit the spread and were later informed the result as positive by Antara who came to start us with the treatment .

On hearing the news ,all the staff(thankfully none of the others got infected) had come to my chamber –which is now the makeshift isolation room for Arun and me &in order to minimise the risk of exposure none of them were allowed inside except for Antara and a senior staff nurse. Since I cannot burden Antara anymore I’ve allocated other doctors to some of my patients who are recovering .

Everything seemed fine for the first 2 days as I made sure that all the outside events to be reported to me. The happenings on 3rd day made be question my judgement , as Sharanya officially screwed a case of mine – Mr. Raghuram a 60 year old Covid -19 patient with no other comorbidities who was admitted because of severe breathlessness and his spo2 at the time of admission was 80% -he made good progress and is on his way to recovery when I last saw him ,ended up suffering with hypoglycaemia because Ms.Birdbrain did not bother to read his medication chart and ordered for injecting Insulin to this patient that later turned out messy as he inturn had to be pumped with 5%dextrose till his sugars came out normal .

The moment Antara told me this , I didn’t even bother about talking to Sharanya and demanding explanation ;I’ve simply made up my mind , called Deepak and asked him to take care of the remaining cases assigned to Sharanya and to relieve her from the duty so that she can go back to whatever she was doing earlier and hope we never cross paths again.


Something seemed off the past 3 days because neither ma nor appa were answering their phones and the neighbour’s phone always screamed busy ; planning to give a call later I went to my morning rounds and after making sure that everything is alright I’ve gone to the café to grab a sandwich and coffee. halfway through the sandwich I got a call from the neighbour and the lady informed me that my mother succumbed to Covid and passed away yesterday after receiving treatment for 2 days ; my dad had massive heart attack and left me alone in this world as he couldn’t bear to live without his beloved& that the final rituals have been conducted ; she was blabbering something on the other end but I was beyond hearing capacity- I was numb and was shocked to see Deepak rushing to me asking if everything’s fine –that is when I realised that the shock on hearing about my parents’ death lead me to drop the sandwich I’ve been eating . Composing myself and assuring Deepak that everything is fine I strode towards the wards to check on my patients to distract myself ,stop myself from sinking to the ground and weeping my heart out .

I know I’ve messed up big time , though it was Kritika who sensed my mind was elsewhere and without questioning decided to help me with the cases overlooked the medication chart and included insulin to the wrong patient I didn’t want to blame her as it was my responsibility to check and double check that nothing goes wrong but I failed miserably.

I was already packing my bag by the time Deepak had come to tell me that I’ve been dismissed from my duties which I accepted.

6months later….


After returning from Delhi I got my previous job back and that is the only thing that kept me sane and going in my otherwise depressed life. I decided working the night shifts as I didn’t feel like sleeping in that empty house.

I’ve cut ties with most of the outside world – both physical and virtual except for the hospital,Rahul and Kritika who helped me cope with my loss;

Rahul and Kritika got engaged last month and are getting married in a month so they’ve agreed to go bridal shoppingat some designer’s in Bangalore for on insistence of mothers from both sides. Though I was asked to join them ,I declined their kindness because I didn’t want to tag along like unwanted baggage to which they reluctantly agreed .


The moment we got discharged , the three of us headed home and were welcomed by teary eyed mothers and proud fathers( both mine and Antara’s) as Arun’s parents aren’t from the army they live in Bangalore and I’ve invited him to come to my house so that he can stay for a day or 2 and then leave to his place.

Arun and me went down to the dining table after freshening up to join my family—changed our course on hearing the cooing sounds coming from my brother’s room and standing by the door is my brother’s widow carrying the cutest baby I’ve ever seen ;after playing with my niece we went to stuff ourselves with food and ended up relishing the rajma chawal my mom made that we decided to push our limit , filled our cups with rabri and moved to the living room that is now filled with more laughter and chatter as Antara and her parents have come too .

The conversation took a serious turn when Antara’s mother expressed her interest in getting Antara & me married ; that is when Arun and Antara broke the news of their relationship to her parents and they decided to approve of their relationship after meeting his parents.

By the time we went to our postings Antara and Arun got engaged and their wedding date was also fixed to some auspicious muhurat that is 6 months away.

Since the engagement took place in Delhi they decided to get married in Bangalore and all the arrangements were made accordingly.

As I was not granted leave at the last moment , I flew to the wedding venue on the eve of wedding i.e. for the bachelors’ party and after the hectic schedule I’ve been through I badly needed the alcohol and the music . The next morning I was bothered with the grandmother of all the hangovers that led me popping a pain killer with some lemon juice before getting ready for the wedding .

By the time I reached the mandap I’ve been greeted by almost all the staff that worked with me during the Covid shifts except those three -whom I’ve thrown out without an ounce of mercy . With the pandit beginning to chant and the wedding taking place in full swing I forgot about rahul, Kritika and sharanya .

Arun finished tying the sacred thread to Antara’s neck and people began throwing rice and flowers to bless the couple and that is when I spotted Rahul and Kritika coming towards the mandap , after they wished the newly weds ,they in turn gave invites to all the staff and when my turn has come I couldn’t stop from commenting about Sharanya and her mistake to which I surprisingly got a confession from Kritika and that is when I came to know about the passing away of Sharanya’s parents.

My mind turned blank and by the time the event ended and I’ve reached my room I made up my mind regarding my transfer.

The next morning I talked to my parents about my plans to get transferred to which they agreed. I booked a flight back to my posting and then applied for transfer .


With my besties’ wedding round the corner and them being more persuasive , I didn’t have any choice rather than to give in to their whims and fantasies of participating in the sangeet ceremony .

Thankfully all the ceremonies except the wedding were called off because someone from Rahul’s family got the virus and the main ceremony became an intimate event as many from kritika’s family didn’t turn up in the fear of contracting the disease; the entire ceremony ended faster than expected and all of us dispersed .

Early next morning I woke up to the sound of door bell and opened the door to find Rudra standing outside . He apologised for his behaviour at the covid hospital the moment he came into my house ; as my manners kicked in I served him coffee . After a cup of coffee he told that Antara and Arun got married and that he is transferred to the naval base hospital here which made me feel good though my friends have migrated ;he will be there to share my happiness and grief.


I couldn’t make it to Rahul &Kritika’s wedding as my flight got delayed and by the time I reached Visakhapatnam it is near 11pm so I’ve decided to go to Sharanya’s house the next day and checked into a hotel near the beach.

Sharanya was pale and thin with dark circles under her eyes that are now devoid of the sparkle . She let me into her house and listened to all that I had to say but the moment she heard of my stay in vizag her eyes sparkled and it gave me hope that I may be just a shoulder on which she could lean or cry but one day this will develop into some thing more cherished and long-lasting.

By Iyyalasomayazula Saraswathi

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