Choti Sardarni: A Different Perspective (Chapter 3)
Meeting Again “Knock, Knock” Sarab was busy typing away at his laptop. He had just finished his meeting with the hospitals board members and was noting all the changes that needed to be made. Covid had caused a havoc all around the world but the only people fighting the front line and keeping everyone safe were the healthcare workers. Sarab wanted to make sure that all the health care workers in his hospital and their families were well taken care of. He had established a new funds account to help pay for any emergencies that the health care workers families might have along with ensuring all the kids educational supplies and all the seniors are taken care of while their families daughters and sons served at the hospital. Sarab had also asked his lawyers to draft new contracts so that the healthcare workers benefits which increased would be on paper along with their financial increments. Running a hospital was not an easy task, it consisted of several people and he didn’t want anyone to change their minds going forward so he wanted to make sure everything was bound legally. He had been in politics for too long and knew better, people often changed at the drop of a hat. This hospital was in the name of his Meherji and he would make sure that no-one would ever have a chance to point a finger at it.The knock at the door brought Sarab out of his work zone. “Excuse me Sir can I come in” asked the young man standing outside Sarab’s study. “Ah Sahil, yes please come in” motioned Sarab. “I was just finishing the meeting with our investors regarding our new development for the public and the hospital. What are you doing here?” “Sir these are the new contracts with the faculty for the hospital. You had asked to have them rewritten to include all the Covid benefits, if you could please sign off on them I’ll drop them off at the hospital” Sahil said. “Of course I’ll sign them and please send them to the hospital immediately. I want to make sure these get implemented ASAP”. Carefully reading the contracts for each type of healthcare worker, Sarab made sure everything was correct. Everything seemed fine but Sarab still had a weird feeling. He was trying to help his public and the hospitals workers, he was doing a good deed and yet this feeling he thought? Picking up his metal encased pen Sarab began signing, he stopped leaving a small dot on the page. “What happened sir, is there something wrong with the contract, I swear I had read them thoroughly and found everything to be fine” asked Sahil worriedly. “No, the contract is fine” Sarab replied calmly “I just have a weird feeling, I don’t know what, but I feel like maybe I should go to hospital, meet everyone and sign there.” “Sir you are constantly busy with so much work and the kids, why should you bother yourself for such a small task of bringing the contracts to the hospital, what am I here for, let me help you sir” Sahil requested. Sahil was a young man, he had finished his masters abroad but wanted to come settle back with his family. He had apparently followed me ever since I joined politics and always wanted to work with me. After what happened with Tarkashji it was hard for me to trust anyone but Sahil was different. He had this enthusiasm of wanting to do good and more importantly wanting to get work done, he was this young, smart workaholic. Sahil reminded Sarab a lot of himself when he was his age, their age gap wasn’t much so they bonded more like friends. “Your right” Sarab smiled and right as he was about to sign, again the feeling washed over him and he stopped. “But you know what Sahil, I haven’t been to the hospital in so long and I feel like I should really go today. I’ll meet everyone and make sure all their needs are taken care of, I want to tell them about the contracts myself so they feel comfortable with the changes and if they need anything else they can tell me directly. Its decided, I’ll be going to the hospital today” Sarab said as he closed the file and got up to get ready. “I’ll get ready and come with you, please have everything ready in the meantime”. “Sir, the kids” asked Sahil? “They’re in their room taking their online classes, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate seeing their Sahil chachu, just don’t play dumb charades outside the door like last time” Sarab teased. Walking to his room Sarab glanced at his watch. The kids didn’t have anything else to do for the rest of the day so Sarab could go to hospital and be back by dinner time. Sarab couldn’t tell what it was but after deciding to go himself, he felt better that unknown feeling had left as quickly as it came.“What where is Meher” asked Tejo concerned? “Calm down calm down” replied Fateh slowly “It’s not that bad, the nurse here said she had regained consciousness, she was still a little weak but she felt better. Before they could discharge her they needed to complete some tests and formalities. I volunteered to complete any paperwork but the nurse said that only a family member could do that. Right now they’ve taken Meher to some affiliated clinic to finish her tests. Apparently the hospital is very busy taking care of Covid patients hence they have smaller clinics and health centers where other patients go to complete their yearly exams, X-rays etc.” “Well what are we waiting for let’s go there then” Tejo said hurriedly. “No” Fateh replied, “the nurse is new here, she’s one of the new recruits they’ve had since Covid so she doesn’t know exactly which center they’ve taken Meher, and she was very busy so she quickly left before I could ask her anything else. Let’s go to the front desk again and first inform Sarabjit, I mean it is his hospital I’m sure he’ll know.” “I agree” said Tejo, “and even if he doesn’t know about the center he needs to know about Meher. The poor guy was lifeless last I saw him, hearing about his wife being alive will bring a new life to him as well” finished Tejo. With that both Fateh and Tejo quickly walked to the front desk. Trying to get Sarabjit’s information was a lot harder than they assumed. The receptionist said that while she couldn’t give Sarabjit’s phone number as it was a matter of privacy, they could write to him for any concerns they have for the hospital. After informing the receptionist that the matter was urgent and personal they found out that Sarabjit is on his way to the hospital for a meeting with the hospitals head staff. Tejo was elated, she was happy that Sarabjit was coming, its like Sarabjit’s heart knew Meher had arrived and he rushed over to receive her. While Tejo knew that wasn’t true she also knew how much Sarabjit loved his wife and what his beliefs on love were. She was sure that it was Sarabjits heart that pulled him here. The man had a heart of gold, she was happy that while Sarabjit was coming to help his people and the healthcare workers he would also be going back home with his most valuable possession, his love, his wife, his Meherji.Tejo and Fateh waited in the hospitals hallway. They hadn’t heard if Meher had returned or not and all they knew about Sarabjit was that he was in a meeting. They didn’t see him coming as he entered from a staff entrance and got straight to work. Tejo and Fateh both grew impatient as they were both constantly getting phone calls from back home. “We’ll have to leave soon if we want to make it back home by tonight, we need to meet Sarabjit now” said Fateh standing up. “He’s in a meeting, we can’t just barge in” replied Tejo. “Why not” asked Fateh “its about his wife and he has a right to know. Plus the receptionist said that typically these meeting don’t last more than an hour because all the staff has to get back to work, we’ve been sitting here for an hour so the meeting should almost be over anyways. Tejo if we’ve been crazy enough to find an unknown women, take her to the hospital, see her for weeks and then drive all the way here to find her again, I think I’m crazy enough to barge into that meeting room” Fateh concluded as he rushed towards the meeting room. “Wait, wait for me” said Tejo following right behind him.“And with that, all our contracts have been signed and will be in place as of today” stated Sarab as he stood up from his chair. The entire meeting room was filled with smiling doctors, nurses and administrators. Sarab was happy he came in today and explained everything himself, the staff was very happy and really appreciated all of Sarab’s efforts for them. “Thank you” “yes thank you so much for thinking about us sir” “we will never forget this favor sir” replied from one doctor to another to Sarab.“Excuse me, Mr. Sarabjit” Sarab heard a loud voice as he heard the meeting room door slam open. Sarab looked over to find Fateh, he had met him a couple weeks back near that lake. Both of them were hurting, both of them lost in love. It was Fateh who asked Sarab to throw a coin in the lake and make a wish, Sarab didn’t believe in it but for him all his wishes and desires started and ended with only one name, so he put his belief on Fateh’s belief and asked for one thing and one thing only, his Meherji. What was he doing here in such a rush. “You” asked Sarab shocked. “What are you doing here, is everything okay” Fateh was shocked too, he had met this man before but he never got his name, he was also hurt like him that day at the lake. Fateh put two and two together to discover that the person who Sarabjit was hurting for was Meher, the women he saved and brought to the hospital. “Oh god” said Fateh loudly. If only he saw Sarabjit’s wife’s pic that day that fell from his wallet, this man would’ve been reunited with his wife already. “I’m sorry I never got your name that day, I’m Sarabjit, but what brings you here is everything okay, is someone hurt, someone you know” asked Sarab concerned? “Tejo what are you doing here, is everything okay guys” Sarab grew worried.“You need to listen to me said Fateh “I’m Fateh, this is Tejo and we drove all the way here today and have been waiting outside for an hour to meet you. But I couldn’t wait any longer so I barged in but I think this is important, you need to hear this. Yes, someone I know is hurt, he’s hurt very deeply. He’s alive but he isn’t living, he breaths but he isn’t here. He works and takes care of everyone around him, even now he’s more concerned about some stranger he barely knows but he’s forgotten to take care of himself.” Confused Sarab stood listening, the meeting room door was open and people had gathered outside, shocked at this young mans audacity to interrupt the hospital’s owners meeting. The doctors and nurses inside the room were silent, everyone was silent. The only noises that could be heard were the monitors beeping and some ambulance sirens far outside the hospital. Everyone wanted to hear this young man and hear what was so important. “Yes someone I know is hurt and Tejo and I are here today to help that man. Someone I know is longing for his life, his happiness…his wife. Someone I know has forgotten living and we’re here today to remind him. We want to remind him what it’s like to not just breathe but to live, to not just wake up but to want to wake up.” As Fateh continued, the workers looked around quietly slowly they understood Fateh’s cryptic words and figured out that he was talking about no-one other than their boss, Mr. Sarabjit Singh Gill. Sarab listened, slightly irked like he always became when anyone confronted him about himself. Sarab was tired of hearing from others how he didnt take care of himself, he was tired of people asking about his pale face and about his vanished smile. Everyone knew it was because his wife was no more but noone dared say a word. The usually composed, kind Sarab quickly turned into a ferocious, scary man the moment anyone mentioned anything about his wife being dead. The man was hurting and he was hurting alone, while he never said a word out-loud, his pain was on display in his eyes for everyone to see. Sarab was smart enough to know Fateh was talking about him, but he didn’t need any sympathy and he definitely didn’t need advice on how to live. With anger creeping in slowly and his eyes glowering, Sarab quietly asked Fateh to get to the point. “Fateh, if someone is hurt physically and needs help, tell me and get to the point he said” “Someone IS hurt” replied Fateh slowly, “he’s not hurt physically but his pain is out there for everyone to see.” Sensing Sarab’s annoyance, Fateh quickly added “that someone I know is you Mr. Sarabjit Singh Gill!” Everyone was shocked at Fateh’s blatant behavior with the boss, the workers sucked in their breaths as Sarab got ready to leave “alright that’s enough, I’m done here” and began walking out the door.Just as Sarab was about to take his first step outside the door, Tejo grabbed his arm and said “We found Meher!” Shocked, stunned, Sarab froze in his tracks. Afraid to question what he heard Sarab stood still, afraid to turn back and look at where those words just came from. He heard his wife’s name, Meher. He heard Tejo say she found her, he knew he heard it but was afraid of moving. What if he’s dreaming, what if this is his imagination, this is the closest he’s been to his Meherji in weeks and he will not risk anything. Sarab refused to move, he was afraid of waking up or breaking this beautiful imagination. If this imagination broke now, it would break Sarab, he would be irreparable, the last few pieces holding him together would also come loose and he would be over. Sarab refused to move and stood still like his life depended on it. The hospital was equally stunned, they knew about Sarab and his love for his family and wife. They knew the man could handle anything but being away from his family killed him every second of the day. They still admired and resepected that despite being hurt he cared for others selflessly, he truly was a god sent man, and everyone in and around that room prayed at that moment for this women’s words to come true, for Sarabjit to unite with his wife once again.“It’s true, we found your wife Sarabjit” Tejo continued, slowly walking up to Sarab as he stood still. Sarab refused to look her in the eyes, he stared out the room. Tejo knew Sarabjit was shocked but was listening to every word she said very carefully. So she continued slowly keeping in mind what she would say next. “Your wife had an accident a month ago, she was hurt and unconscious. Fateh found her and admitted her to a hospital near where we live. She was unconscious and weak, a couple days back the doctor noticed some activity in her hands and heart and had her transferred here for access to better technology and the doctors. Little did we know that she was being transferred to her home. We came here today and realized that she’s awake.” Hearing the last word leave Tejo’s mouth Sarab’s tear brimmed eyes finally looked at her. He couldn’t speak but the tears in his eyes said everything, he couldn’t believe his ears, he couldn’t believe what was happening but he wanted to, his God knows he wanted to believe everything. Tejo held Sarabjit’s arms again, despite being half his size, this little slim women was holding and supporting a tall, muscular man double her size. She held Sarabjit and concluded “Meher was here this morning, they transferred her to some clinic nearby for some remaining tests, if you find out which clinic she’s in, you’ll find your Meherji Sarabjit.” Sarab took in what Tejo just said. He moved slightly looking at Fateh who stood next to Tejo now, he nodded affirming what Tejo just said was true. Sarab was shocked but after hearing what Tejo said he immediately gained attention and his brain got to work. He turned around and similar to how an archer eyes his target, how a hunter eyes its predator, how a thirsty man eyes a drop of water, he looked at the doctors in the eye. The doctors seeing the seriousness in his eyes understood and without needing any further instructions immediately got on their phones and began calling every clinic and every affiliated health center they had. The doctors were ashamed that the owners wife had been admitted today, she in whose honor this hospital was built was here today and they failed to find her. Everyone scattered around the room and even the people who stood outside got to work, the receptionists started calling around, everyone wanted to contribute seeing Sarab. Tejo and Fateh were shocked at how just one look from Sarab got everyone on their toes and onto work. They were lost and surprised at how suddenly the entire hospital had only one goal, to find Meher, to find their boss Sarabjit’s, Meher.“SAHILLL!!!!!!” Tejo and Fateh looked at Sarab, stunned to hear his voice erupt so loudly. “SAHIL” before Sarab finished saying the name again a young man ran in hurriedly like his life depended on it, looking equally as stunned at Sarab. He didn’t say a word but knew from the volume of the roar that it was serious, Sarab rarely roared but when he did, he was no less dangerous than a lion himself. “MEHERJI IS HERE.” Sarab stated seriously, he was on a mission now and would expect nothing less from everyone else, “SHE IS IN ONE OF OUR CLINICS OR HEALTH CENTERS, YOU ALL HAVE 30 MINUTES, 30 MINUTES TO FIND HER” he said slowly looking at everyone in the room in the eye with his death stare. “FIND HER IN 3O MINUTES OR ELSE THE 31st MINUTE I’LL FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU HERE, MYSELF!” he concluded slamming his hand on the meeting table. The impact of his hand shook the table, shaking everyone out of their frozen state and back to attention, everyone quickly dispersed as quick as Sahil was to get there.Sarab knew he was being selfish, he couldn’t blame the doctors for not recognizing his wife, he couldn’t blame them for not finding her, it was his fault he left Meherji go alone in the first place. But Sarab was being selfish for the first time, he was thinking about himself after a long time, he didn’t care about anyone else anymore, all he cared about was finding his Meherji, and this time he would do that no matter what happened. This time even God could not stop him, Sarab swore to find his Meherji today, either today he would go home with his Meherji or would never step foot home again.Today it was Sarab versus the world, today it was Sarab versus everything else, even fire, wind, water and the earth could not stop him today. Today what he believed in for so long came true, his Meherji was alive and he had proof today, today he would not stop at any cost. The determination in his eyes was like fire, scary but solid, today Sarab would not back away even if he had to face God. Today Sarab would find his Meherji.