“No! That’s ‘the long’ way !”
“Please. I don’t ask you for anything else.”
Like every other younger sister, my sister wasn’t just annoying; she was Satan dressed like an Angel, with her puppy dog eyes that no one could resist.
Every Sunday morning, while going to her gymnastics classes, Guri would force me to take ‘the long’ way, just to see a house, which, for her, wasn’t an ordinary house.
I agree that it looked good; it was a three-storied house with big garden space. It obviously was a house for people who didn’t care about their money, who would throw their money for nothing. And seeing my sister being so mesmerized and fascinated by it, I knew what her next sentence was going to be.
“I will buy it someday”, said Guri.
Smirking at her prediction, I walked her to her gymnastics class and took my way to my statistics class.
While returning back to our home, she would always tell, “I will buy that house one day, you know, I will plant trees in the garden, I will have a swing there. That house has a dull yellow colour. Naah! I will paint it white. All of us will stay there. I will have a special room in the house only for my gym equipments. And…”
“We are home, Guri”, I said while entering our home. I had no interest in hearing about her imaginary world with trees, gym, and swings. I never understood her hobbies, likes, and dislikes. She was a gym freak and a gymnastics enthusiast. A day without the gym and gymnastics would drive her crazy. She was always energetic, and she had the potential to drive everyone crazy.
Every day was a regular day when one day, Guri came home late. On being asked why, she told us that, while she was going to her gym, she heard a panic-stricken voice of an elderly man from the house, she used to see. She ran inside to see what was the matter. When she went inside, she saw an old lady lying on the floor, and an old man crying for help. She immediately called an ambulance and helped them to the hospital. The Doctor told me that the old lady’s blood pressure got low, but she was fine. After that, Guri dropped them back to their home.
Now it became an everyday routine of hers to go to the gymnastics class, then visit the old couple, adore the house, and then summarise everything to me.
One day out of nowhere, she asked me, “Hey, I am going to a temple with Mr.& Mrs.Singh today. Would you come ?” Guri asked.
“No, I have assignments to complete.”
“Okay, Miss Boring. We will be back before 12 pm.”
“Okay, have fun.”
I was making my statistical charts and didn’t realise when the time passed by. When I picked up my phone, it was already 2 pm. Guri was late. She was very punctual and always informed me if she was getting late. I called her, no response. Something’s wrong, my mind repeatedly said.
“Mom, did Guri come back?”
“Not yet, why?” Dad said.
“She told me she would be back before 12.”
“Relax, she might have stuck in traffic.”
My brain said it could be true, but my heart didn’t agree. She would have informed me.
“I will be back soon”, I shouted and ran out of the house.
I went to Mr.& Mrs.Singh’s place, but the doors were locked.
They could have been stuck in traffic. Her phone might have died. Thoughts were occupying every space in my head. I couldn’t wait. I took a cab and headed towards the temple that they were about to go. All the horrific thoughts were constantly knocking my head. On the way to the temple, I looked out and saw, in the middle of the road, was our car, smashed from the front. I was shaken from within. I told the driver to stop and asked what happened there. He told me about the accident and said that people in the car were taken to the hospital.
“Drive to the hospital.” was all I could say.
As soon as I reached the hospital, I ran towards the reception.
“My sister….car accident…near temple…now”, I could hardly breathe.
“Yes ma’am, there was an old couple who died on the spot. There was a girl who is severely injured and is in the ICU right now. Doctors are operating on her”.
I was dumbstruck. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to react. I sat there with my hands on my head, not knowing what to do. I had to inform my family, but I lacked the courage. I picked up my phone. It was dead. Slowly I calmed myself and called Dad through the hospital’s landline.
“Dad, am at the hospital, Guri…accident” I sobbed, finally my tears found their way. After a few minutes, my parents came rushing to the hospital. We were outside the ICU waiting to see Guri, waiting to talk to her, when the Doctor came out.
“She’s out of danger, but her lower body has been permanently paralyzed”, the Doctor informed us.
“No!”, I yelled.
“We are sorry, you can meet her now”.
I didn’t know if I could meet her, if I could ever tell her what has happened to her. If I could tell her, that her sole happiness has been snatched away. If I could tell her that she will never be able to do her gymnastics again. If I could tell her that she will never be able to walk again. Everyone was crying, but I couldn’t cry. I just stood still, not crying, not talking, not knowing what to do.
“Hey”, I heard a voice. I turned around. It was Guri, standing on her legs, in front of me and not in the ICU.
“You? But you were inside….. paralysed..”, I said shockingly.
“No, nothing happened to me. Tanya took our car to drive Mr.& Mrs.Singh to the temple. I had to go to the gymnastics class urgently. That’s Tanya inside. I called you, but your phone’s off,” Guri paused. She took a deep breath. “Mr.& Mrs.Singh……. I loved them so much,” Guri sobbed.
I hugged her and calmed her down. She cried, and I could feel her love for the old couple.
Days passed. One day, we got the news, the old couple left Guri their house in their will since they had no children, and Guri was nothing less than a daughter to them. Although, Guri refused to take the house, saying she wants to make it into an old age home and an orphanage simultaneously so that the old could give the children the love and the care they need and the children could give the happiness and love that the old deserves.
Written by:- Akansha Singh