Sapna stood gazing at the tall building – in the seventh floor of which, was Mr. Parmar’s office – the place where her Harsh had worked for eight long years. Her head was reeling. Her eyes were going dim. She felt as if she was about to collapse.
Why is life so harsh on me?
Why can’t I have a peaceful enjoyable life, like many others? Why?
After being known as an orphan for so many years, when I finally thought that I have a family to call my own and to belong to, gradually it is falling apart. Isn’t there a God somewhere? Isn’t there justice?
Oh God, if you are there, please intervene! I have no one else to turn to, for help.
As Naina’s sweet innocent face flashed before her, it seemed as if a huge amount of energy gushed into Sapna. She no longer allowed her thoughts to deter her determination. She was determined to save Naina from the clutches of death!
Sapna walked inside, got into the lift and with trembling voice, told the lift operator – “Seventh Floor”. It seemed to take ages from the ground floor to the seventh. The twirl of thoughts within her mind were taking their toll on her. She dreaded meeting Harsh’s colleagues. What would she say, about her being there?
“I have come to see Mr. Parmar. Is he in?”, Sapna told the receptionist on reaching the seventh floor.
“May I know your identity, Ma’am”, asked the soft-spoken lady. She was not the same receptionist who was around when Sapna had come a few times some years back, to collect her husband’s dues. “Good, one person less to know”, she thought within her.
“You could tell him that an old acquaintance is here to meet him”, replied Sapna feigning a smile.
“Sure, I’ll do that. Please have a seat Ma’am. Sir is in a meeting and it may be some time before you could meet him”, said the receptionist.
“Ok”, said Sapna with a sigh and took a seat.
She was assured by the presence of the nurses around little Naina in the hospital, so that she would not be left alone and unattended. But, her condition demanded immediate medical attention. Every minute counted. Sapna felt her heart beat within the walls of her chest. The man whom she was looking up to as her saviour now, would end up being her devourer! “Oh, Harsh! Only if you were here”, she whispered without her knowledge even as a tear flowed down from her right eye.
“Umm…excuse me Ma’am, I have informed Sir that you are waiting. The meeting should be over in a couple of minutes.” That was the receptionist, cutting through Sapna’s line of thoughts.
“Hmm..alright. Thanks!”, said Sapna.
In about ten minutes, Sapna saw people coming out in groups from the Board Room and assumed that the meeting was over. She had never met her husband’s colleagues before. But many of them had come to offer their condolences to her when she had last visited the office. Some of them may recognize her now. So thinking, she thought it wise to step into the restroom for a while, till everyone passed by the reception area.
Inside the Restroom, Sapna stared at herself in the mirror. And out came a flood of tears as if they were impatiently waiting to break out. Amidst the muffled sobs, her heart was shattering into pieces within her. How she wished that she had parents to fall back on! Harsh’s family had been very clear that they had nothing to with either Sapna or Naina soon after his demise.
Once again, Sapna gathered herself and stepped out of the restroom. She was informed by the receptionist that she could go in to meet Mr. Parmar.
Sapna tapped twice before entering Mr. Parmar’s office. She stopped short to see someone else in Mr. Parmar’s seat. The man bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Parmar, but looked much younger.
“I am here to meet Mr. Parmar. Isn’t he around? I was told that he is in here”, said Sapna, her tongue drying within her mouth.
“Yes, how may I help you?”, said the man without much emotion in his voice.
“Er… I don’t know you, Sir”. Mr. Parmar knows me well”, she said with a sudden air of confidence.
“You must be talking about my father. I’m his son, Rohit Parmar. My father is into a new venture in another part of the country. And, I’m the Manager of the office here. Now, how may I help you? Please be quick because I need to rush out”, said Rohit Parmar.
Sapna felt her hopes for help crash to the ground. She couldn’t obviously tell Rohit of his father’s offer. She decided to try winning Rohit’s favour just as she had unsuccessfully tried with many others before.
“Oh! I am the widow of Mr. Harsh Gupta, who used to work here few years back. I lost my husband to an unfortunate accident. Life has been difficult, but my daughter and I have been able to manage ourselves well. At least until now. But now, I am desperately in need of help”. By now, Sapna had started weeping. “My daughter is struggling between life and death in the hospital. The doctors need a huge sum of money to be deposited before they start the treatment. I have exhausted all my savings. My friends and acquaintances are not in a position to help me.”
“Unless I deposit the money soon, I’ll lose my daughter – my life – forever. I had thought to seek help from Mr. Parmar. Now that he is not around, I don’t know what to do”.
“Will you help me, please? All I am asking for, is a loan. I have a job. And I will repay the entire amount gradually, since my salary is not that high. Please have mercy on me. Please help me,” sobbed Sapna.
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