Nandini’s day is really hectic. She works for media research firm online. Though, she communicates to friends across the world with ease and makes them her friends for life, she can’t satisfy her immediate boss –feels nandini despairingly. However much I work hard, I can’t make everyone happy, thinks nandini with her branded smile. Her smile which is so perfect, that it defies her entire body and makes her unique in a crowd. Nandini has a rare muscular disability which is genetically prone. If we have to describe her condition, it would be like this- "Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II".Its a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, hands, legs head and neck control, and swallowing.
Does your head spinning? Wait until you meet her and fall in love with her smile and positive attitude. It’s like a magic surrounds you like an air. She spent most of her 20+ years in a wheelchair, other than her basic needs, her mom or someone has to help her to get around everywhere and every walk or roll of life. But, she never let herself drowned in waves of depression. Rather she learned many skills like Tarot Card reading, Computer and research skills and making friends across the world and most important trait being a happy and accepting person in her own skin.
“Your smile has some magic nandini”- the casual remark of a visiting friend in the afternoon, transported nandini back to six months. That’s when she met rohit online. Their casual friendship through a social networking site has turned into real friendship with in no time. They discussed their past, present and future. Rohit, a business man at a young age, responsibilities bestowed on him after the death of his father, of later business, and family. He says he managed and been managing well. Their friendship grew from strength to strength. From online chats to Mobile text messages to frequent phone calls? Nandini was in cloud nine. She was feeling happy to have a person more than a friend, with whom she can discuss anything and everything under the sun. “Is it more than that? Nandini?” carefully asked a close friend. Nandini looked nonplussed, not wanting to answer the question and answer positively at the same time. Nandini never felt like this before, she was as she thinks very down-to-earth person who knows the harsh reality of her disability and the extent of it.
“But why I am dreaming like this?”-Nandini questioned herself. Is it the proximity, care and concern rohit showers on me or my loneliness and living a disabled life all these years?? There were endless questions swirling in her mind. On top of it, the pressure of her girl friend, asking about the possible relationship in a polite and pressured way. “Cease the opportunity Nandini- Now is your time-propose him!!”- Advices the friend with extra care and caution. Nandini is feeling helpless, but her friend feels strongly that a friendship which is budding should be turned in to a relationship, fearing that nandini may never get a chance like that again. Nandini felt within herself yielding to the pressure of her friend. She decided to propose rohit.
Nandini decided to propose rohit, on his birthday. On the fateful day, nandini is like a nervous wreck. She never thought just putting forth what’s on your heart could be this difficult. On the other side, her heart wants more from rohit. The way he treats her, his friendship, empathy towards her disability and their special bondage making her to forget all her condition and take a chance of her life. In her entire life, she never felt this comfortable with a relatively stranger. “I will atleast tell him the way I feel about him”- determines nandini again. But it’s really difficult for her. Finally she did it With a nice gift for his birthday and a card saying her feelings about him. She is in trepidation after expressing herself.
Finally a call came from rohit. She jumped and lifts the call- “hello Rohit?” – There is a long pause from the other end of the line. Her pulse quickened. “Hi Nandini….” Slowly replies rohit. Nandini waited expectantly. “It’s not that like Nandini!!”- Slowly says rohit.
“Well…Tell me what you want to say!” an unknown calmness surrounds nandini.
“Well… you misunderstood me. I never wanted to hurt your feelings though… you were a great friend to me. Your place can’t be taken by anyone. You are special to me. After my mom, you were the only one who understood me completely. But… er…But… this is not what you think nandini…I never thought in such way about you!” rohit explains slowly and guiltily.
Nandini was never this calm when her world is collapsing before her eyes. Some strange wisdom dawned onto her. Her heart was crying unstoppably. But she mustered her courage and asked rohit, the most dreadful question in her life “don’t you love me rohit???”
Rohit gasped at the other end of the line at the directness of her question, there was a pause and he said –“ No!… but Yes, I love you as friend. Hmmm…Not like this.. I am coming to your place and will explain everything to you. Anyway, I have to come there for a business visit soon!”. He replied hurriedly. Nandini is in no power of either talking or counting the crumbs of her broken heart. She meekly disconnected the phone.
Several weeks passes by uneventfully. Nandini didn’t hear anything from rohit. The daily messages were turned in to weekly messages with a cryptic- “How are you? Hope you are Ok.” Which were promptly replied by nandini. Nandini started sensing something slowly dying inside her. Though, she is functioning normal, attending her office chores. “You are becoming dull day by day nandini?” warned her mother with a questioning look. “I am fine Mother!’ replied Nandini in a meek voice.
Today is another day!- thought nandini resuming her office duties on a Monday. First call she received was of rohit’s. Her heart jumped by listening to his voice after which seems to be a long time. The call was brief so as the message. He has some business work in Nandini’s city and coming in two days, with that some instructions where to book accommodation for him etc.. Unknowing to herself, nandini is elated. She started looking forward to his visit.
The most awaited day came quite fast. Nandini couldn’t sleep the night before. Time waits for no one. Its morning already. Nandini woke up with a start and with the help of her mother started doing her daily chores. She puts on her best dress, didn’t mind what she ate for break-fast. She started waiting for the door bell. After much waiting it rang and her mom answered. There he is, waiting smilingly. If nandini would have powers she would jump, but first time she cursed her disability. Her mom welcomed him. He came and met all her family members. Had some snacks offered by nandini’s mother and then politely asked nandini’s parents to take her out. Her parents who were very concerned and protective of nandini all her life, felt really scared to send her out. Rohit patiently explained that he can handle. At last nandini’s parents agreed.
Nandini was in full joy. First time in her life she is going out, not virtually but physically. They went outside. She has been listening to rohit. His life, his dreams, his responsibilities. The time was magical…nandini thought. Suddenly rohit takes her hand in his hand… says” there is some magic in you nandini”- her eyes filled with tears of joy. They went to cinema, shopping…just drove. Everywhere he handled her wheelchair. In midst of all, nandini’s friend called. She was just enquiring whether nandini might need some help, as nandini’s mom said to her that she went outside. But nandini is in cloud nine. She hasn’t even fully understood what her friend says. She doesn’t want intruders on an important day of her life. She wants to be alone with rohit. She politely declined her friend’s offering. The whole day rohit handled her wheelchair, helped her patiently. She was proud. She is the most livelier girl ever on earth.
As per nandini the day finished too soon. They returned back to home. Rohit ate dinner with all her family members and bid good night to all. Next day he came again around the same time, with a small gift for family in his hand. He mingled well with all. He Spent lot of time with her brother and parents. They all had lot of fun. Again the other day… it was magical in his presence.
Rohit had to leave the other day. Nandini again couldn’t sleep the night before. She is re-living the past three days with minute detail and precision. Night passed swiftly. Again morning rohit came. He took leave of her parents and brother. He came into her room. It was quite outside. Her apartment complex is with a sleepy silence. He sat in a chair near her. He offered her a bouquet of flowers. Her favorite ones.
Beamingly rohit announced- “these days are best in my life Nandini”- Same to me; nandini’s mind and heart echoed silently.
As if he read her mind, He smiled happily and said warmly – “that’s why I want to give the three best days in your life!”. Looking at the questioning look on nandini’s face- rohit simply concluded- “there can be no future between us nandini, but of course we can be friends’ always. from the beginning I have cleared this to you. But I wanted to give you three best days as a parting gift. Don’t forget you have a friend to fall back on!”
By uttering this, he left her room like a dream. Nandini sat the whole day there…looking at the half-closed door rohit left like that when he is leaving. Heart in hearts, she understood it was over! Over forever!!
Life is passing on for nandini. She is there leaving a big vacuum left by rohit. Of course they can be friends. An occasional mail or a bulk forward of mail reminds her that. She feels….
Because I am just a friend
And you have seen how disabled I am
Did you ever see how loving I am
Scared to serve me?
I am one in many…
No special someone to any
Where does my body matters
When heart is vibrant
You gave a gift.. So generous of you!
But took away my heart as a parting gift
Swept away my feelings
Put me on a dream.. I never want to wake up again
My body may be twisted
Smile may be crooked
But I know only one thing
To love you and love you and love you
Now and forever
Though you say it’s over!
I predicted but still unprotected..
I know I have fallen for you…
Oh! What a fall it is!!
Wherever you may reside
You have a home in my heart
So full of love and promise
I may be a fool
Oh! What a beautiful fool I am!
My love encapsulated in three days
Enough for three lives
But my friend…. Why you showed me a dream
Which makes me smile not scream!!
Yet It can never be real…you say!
I heed whatever you say!
So full of love and so full of trust!
Watch me dear…I am with you and in you
Ever and forever!!!!
© Sai Padma Murthy. All rights reserved.
Mohini Sharma lives and works in Mumbai, with great supportive parents. So full of life and so full of disABILITY. multi-talented and above all a compassionate human being, It’s not easy not to fall in love with her smile and attitude and not an easy life being a woman with severe disability. But so breezy being a woman full of love and life not only for herself, but for others too. Today she is a successful self-employed professional, tarot card reader, did many home based jobs and continuously updating her skills.
She is today’s PREDICTABLE ABILITY
she is jut not what she looks…she has her presence beyond her looks.
Disability today is part of her life… not her entire life!!!