This story was written by me for Write India Campaign, Author Durjoy Datta's Contest. Read on and let me know the feedback in the comments section :)
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‘Do you take David as your husband, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?’
Rhea stood there wondering, how the dynamics of relationships can change so suddenly, taking completely unexpected turns. And how, the least significant of things, can sometimes lead us to the most significant decisions of our lives?
Rhea’s mother had tried to change her daughter’s decision in every way possible and she had failed.
'Are you sure, Rhea?' asks my mother. 'Of course I'm. Survival of the fittest, mother. I'm not going against Darwin. Also I don't want unnecessary scars on my body.' It's a known fact that we are all born to die. And frankly, I don't understand why it has to be made into such a big deal. If it were not for my mother I would have said that to the bunch of people outside my house, some of them with young kids, shouting slogans, waving placards, literally wanting me to cut one of my beating hearts out. "Save A Life. Donate!" they shout. For someone who is one in billions, 7.125 billion to be exact, I expect to be treated better. Scientists are still befuddled regarding my condition that gave me two hearts in my mother's womb. But years of research and sticking needles into me have led them nowhere, and they have labeled me as a freak mutation. It's so rare - literally one in all humankind - that they didn't even name the anomaly (as they call it, I will call it awesomeness). I wanted to name the condition myself, something on the lines of Rhea's Heartsawesome but the doctors aren't thrilled with the suggestion. Instead they want to cut one of them out and save a life. Huh? An IQ of 180, increased concentration, exceptional athleticism and a phenomenal metabolism rate - are just the few boring benefits of an increased blood circulation. Why would I ever give that up?
No sooner had Rhea finished her mental rhetoric than David entered the room…
When, my cynical mother, would stop being so impossible? She very well knows my inclination to this fanatic grey haired cardiologist. God save me from his assertive ways of pushing his opinions across the table. No! Damn him! I won’t budge in the slightest.
Your mother told me. So, you already made a decision? You know, it’s not your decision that troubles me, but the underlying reasons. How can someone with two hearts be so heartless? You refuse to save a life so that you don’t lose a few athletic races of your life? Of what use would be your IQ, if you don’t have an EQ? Successful people are balanced people, Rhea. If you choose to have no regard for emotions and feelings, you will only end up being a HEARTLESS robot.
Indeed, fervently he talks. But, No! This time he cannot play his word game. I have to hit him back. My words should pierce through him; so that, he dares not come back preaching to me.
Oh yes, Doc! But you talk on merely a superficial level. There is more to it! You know, I am the only one of my clan with two hearts. I belong to a superior human race! These lesser mortals want to destroy my whole race! They call me a wretched human being when they have lost their morality. How moral, after all, would it be to destroy a whole clan to save one odd life? Even the doctors have lost their mind; but I would not give up my
identity. I would see the future unfold with my two heart baby and its descendants.
Nor the grey haired figure, who was almost twice of age than Rhea, would give up so easily. He had a great understanding of human psychology. And with Rhea, he had a long association, since her birth itself.
What morality you talk about; when you don’t know the morality of having a pure heart free from evil and sin. You call the entire human race lesser mortals on what half informed basis? You, the proud owner of two hearts, is unaware of tapping the potential of even one of it. It’s not the pumping of blood alone that a heart is capable of doing. The heart is the centre of emotions and feelings. Of what use is it, if you refuse to have an iota of feelings in you? You talk out of sheer conceit and vanity.
Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
Says the Lord to Samuel in the holy Bible; revealing the importance of having a heart free of sins.
To cater to the emotions and feelings, is what a heart should be capable of doing. Develop your heart, it is repeatedly said. Develop compassion and love in your heart, for otherwise, it does not matter in the least if you have one or two of them.
Darn this curious feeling, this Doctor always incites in me. I hate his ways and yet, I know, I can’t stop paying heed to his goddamn ideas. What kind of discomfort he’s capable of pushing me into! Wait! Why don’t I hate him? Why, Am I, sort of, fond of him? Phew! If he does not leave, he will make me mad.
Your kind advice has been listened to with a great patience. Now, May I, with all due respect, ask you to leave?
Of course! Just one favor; if you can manage to oblige; just once, visit that lifeless woman lying on hospital bed counting her last breaths.
Rhea shook her head in exasperation and signaled the doctor to leave.
Being a winner at every single race is the sole motto of my life; until I become the only name in the field of athletics. The name Rhea would be a cult then. And that philanthropist doctor tells me to give away my own dream to save someone else’s. All his preaching loses its charm, when I hold this curious little piece of glass soaked in shiny metal; and contemplate the glory that would be reflected back, with more and more radiance, into my being; as I would keep walking closer to my dream, year after year. The world would watch Rhea walk up the aisle of fame and success.
A pair of eyes stared back at Rhea from the mirror. It was the reflection of her own face; but the eyes were of a ravenous vulture; dead cold eyes gazing at its prey on the other side of mirror, ready to take on it, any moment. Rhea looked in awe; her mouth was wide open with terror; even as she witnessed the changing texture of her skin, as it transformed into the slimy skin of a dreadful snake. The mirror dropped from her hand. She cried in horror, “David! Save me, please. Will you?”
The ghastly dream woke her up in the dead of the night. She switched on the bed-side lamp and walked across the room to grab the mirror. Her heart was thumping with a feeling of dread.
Thank God, I just look fine. What a terrifying dream it was! But why, On Earth, I called out for David of all the people? Why this strange feeling of fear taking over me? I feel a strange pull, as if someone is calling out to me. Why I can sense a gloom in the air? Should I call David? Not at this
hour. May be I am over-analyzing. I should rather go back to sleep. It was just a dream, after all.
The force of that pull penetrated a few kilometers in space.
David opened his eyes; he was trembling with a curious feeling which was a mix of fear, excitement, intrigue, anticipation and loneliness.
He was sitting by a lake; throwing stones into the water, every now and then, to watch the ripples forming. After sitting there for a few hours, he felt thirsty. So, he went near the water. His eyes met his reflection in the crystal clear water of the lake. He observed himself closely and a sudden shriek of pain came through his mouth. His face had become wrinkled and skin behind his eyes was puffed and hanging. He had lost his teeth. Nerves of his hands were bulging out. Suddenly, the crystal clear water turned into murky green. His mouth was becoming drier and he was dying of thirst. He was all alone; there was no-one to be seen in the reach of his eyes. Words escaped out of his mouth, soaked in misery, “Rhea! Save me! Please.”
There was an element of mystery, in the way, the two dreams, despite of their separate individual nature, intertwined into each other; As if one was needed to make the other whole. Both David and Rhea dispelled their unknown fears and pushed the dream into a distant corner of the brain, rendering it insignificant.
Though Rhea was determined at not changing her mind, yet, she decided to see the woman in need of her beloved heart.
I don’t know what came over me to visit this obnoxiously beautiful figure of flesh and bones. It appears as if her long slender fingers have already given up. They look withered and dry. Why, there is no other sound in the
room barring the annoying tick tock of the clock? The quiet in the room is agitating. Her golden hair remind me of the color of setting sun. I would hate to admit it; but I feel pity for this senseless figure covered in white sheets already. I wish I could help her live, but, to part with my heart, is too big a price to pay.
Success and more success, fame and more fame, May be such things alone are the key to happiness. I am not sure if happiness is the word. Well! May be the word is fulfillment. Why I am so unsure of my choice of words today? Is it the fulfillment of heart or the ego I talk about? Why, am I getting such strange thoughts? I did not even meet the bewitching Doctor today. Then, why am I thinking so unlike myself?
As Rhea struggled with her thoughts, the image of the golden haired petite figure, lying motionless on the hospital bed, kept reappearing in her mind. As she walked restlessly across the room, her eyes met the dressing table mirror. It was a déjà-vu moment which reminded her of her strange dream and unsettled her deeply. A thought just flashed across her mind.
Success and fame may give a person a sense of purpose in life; it can act as a driving force, but it can’t bring peace or a feeling of wholeness. It can’t fill the void.
Rhea’s mother was taken by surprise when Rhea told her about her changed mind. Rhea was herself quite unsure of her reason for doing so. It was hidden somewhere in the layers of her sub-conscious; a certain feeling of admiration or fondness, for David; or may be, for his ideas alone.
I can hear my heart beating in the body of golden haired woman. Her withered fingers seem fuller now. Her long eyelashes curl outwards. I feel a strange surge of affection for her. Her heartbeats are in synch with mine. I have no clue about her origins; yet, I feel a curious connection.
David enters the room for check-up. I experience a mystical feeling of being able to read the mind of the lady; Sunanda, she is called. Suddenly, I don’t feel the curious fondness for David as had been the case in the past. But, I can feel the rhythm of my other heart, which now rests in Sunanda’s body, getting out of synch from mine. I can feel the nervousness building inside her; I can feel the subtle fondness for David in her heart; or rather mine, as it once used to be.
David tells me to go back to rest. I silently oblige, too stunned to experience the kind of feelings I am starting to have. Are there any side-effects of the surgery I was not told about?
I surf on the internet. I can’t find any kind of information on the side-effects from the surgery. And then I land up on a page. It talks about the research of a Doctor. I don’t understand much. It talks about the concept of heart-brain. The research has been rendered as unscientific, as it lacks the evidence of experiment.
It says that the cells of heart have a memory of their own; it is similar to the idea of soul resting in the heart. It talks about the heart as a store-house of the abstract knowledge and emotions of a person. It reminds me of the myths from the religious texts which David once had narrated to me.
I wonder if it could have happened that a part of my abstract emotions have been transferred along with my heart to Sunanda. Is this the reason I feel a kind of energy building between Sunanda and David? And how intriguing is it that I have felt the similar kind of energy between me and him, which has suddenly vanished after the surgery.
David’s first wife had divorced him after a year of their wedding. Since then, David had absorbed himself in work and social service. He hardly allowed himself any free time lest he should feel lonely. Rhea had been his patient or rather his subject of research for many years. David adored Rhea despite her eccentric and egotistical ways. He even felt responsible for her. But, after the surgery, David felt something had changed. He stopped trying to regulate Rhea’s way of life. He felt drawn to Sunanda. Sunanda was a woman in her early forties and a divorcee like himself. The chemistry between the two was building into a deep bond gradually. One fine day, when David was unwinding himself, sitting in a pool of water in the bath-tub, he suddenly remembered his dream.
By the next day, he had already decided to bid a goodbye to his solitary life and he proposed Sunanda to be his wife.
Rhea was the first person to whom David broke the news of his wedding. Sunanda requested Rhea to be the bridesmaid. Rhea kept laughing through the whole thing calling it all too melodramatic. Nevertheless, she was happy for the two.
The Duo said their wedding vows.
And Rhea wondered if it is actually destined that someday, at some point of time in eternity, we meet the split half of our soul.
She wondered if she too would have such an extra-ordinary love story someday!