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C4 4

Mithran hurried inside the City Hospital and enquired at the reception desk for his father.

He was guided by a nurse staff, and he found his mother in front of the intensive care unit, crying her heart out.

"Amma," he called out as he rushed towards her.

She hugged him and cried more.

"What happened, Amma? Why is Appa in the intensive care unit?" he asked, dread chilling his blood.

"I don't know, Mithran. I found him unconscious in the living room. I tried calling you several times, but you didn't pick up. Our neighbor helped me take him to the hospital," Gayatri Yadav cried her heart out.

"What did the doctors say, Amma?" he asked anxiously.

"They asked me whether he had repeated headaches before, anything different in his walking style and all, somethings like that," Gayatri told her son what all the doctors asked her when they brought Madan in.

"And what did you say?" Mithran asked.

"I didn't know. I didn’t know anything, Mithran," she cried guiltily.

Mithran was equally guilty. He had stayed away from his family for the past two months, preferring the peaceful solitude of his apartment. He should have paid more attention to his aging parents. They needed him.

"Stop crying, Amma, please. I will talk to the doctors and come," Mithran said and walked towards the doctor's cabin.

"Take a seat, Mr. Yadav," Gopal Naik, the doctor in his fifties, said as Mithran walked in.

"Thank you, doctor. I would like to know about my father's health, doctor," Mithran said, wanting to know more about what exactly happened.

"Mithran, your father fainted this morning. From what I can understand, it is not the first time. Your father is conscious now, and I took a detailed history. And the symptoms are not very promising," the doctor said with a sympathetic smile.

"What is wrong? Tell me, doctor," Mithran asked anxiously.

"I suspect there is a tumor. I am not a hundred percent sure, Mr. Yadav. I suggest you take him to an oncologist for a second opinion," the doctor said politely.

Mithran froze in his place, listening to the word tumor.

The fear gripped him hard.

"There must be some mistake, doctor. Please examine him once more," Mithran said, finding it hard to believe.

"I hope I am mistaken, Mr. Yadav. I really do. But it is good to be sure. I suggest you talk to Dr. Naira Kamat. She is very young but the best oncologist I have seen so far. I will refer your father to her. She will do the further tests to make sure that your father is okay," the doctor said.

Mithran did the rest of the things mechanically.

He talked to the young doctor about the doubts Dr. Gopal Naik shared and showed her the reports of his father.

"I will have to do a few more tests to be sure, Mr. Yadav," Naira Kamat said.

"Sure, doctor."


A tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Surgery is the only option.

Let's hope for the best.

The words of the doctor echoed in his mind as he drank a shot of whiskey directly from the bottle.

Two days later, Mithran was sitting next to his father's hospital bed.

"Mithran," Madan called out softly.

"Yes, Appa."

"Will you fulfill a wish of mine?" Madan asked.

"Anything, Appa," Mithran said emotionally.

"I don't know how long I will be here. When I die, I want to die peacefully," Madan said.

"Appa, please. Nothing is going to happen. Dr. Kamat said surgery can cure you. They can remove the tumor," Mithran argued.

"And they have not given you a hundred percent certainty, have they?" Madan asked with a humorless chuckle.

"I'm sure you will be fine after the surgery," Mithran said with conviction. He needed to believe it. That is the only way he can encourage his father to be optimistic.

"Anything can happen to me after the surgery, Mithran. I'm not an idiot. Surgeries of the brain and spinal cord are highly risky," Madan said.

"I'm bringing in the best neurosurgeon of our country. You have nothing to worry about, Appa. I can afford it," Mithran said.

"I know you can. You have made a big success out of your career. And I'm very proud of you. I have always been scared to step out of my comfort zone. I preferred my government job. Risks were not my thing. And I'm proud that you weren't scared to take risks," Madan said.

"Appa, don't exert yourself. We can talk about all these later," Mithran said, trying to calm his emotional father.

"No. I have to say this now. Who knows if I would get a chance again," Madan said.

"You will," Mithran said vehemently.

Madan let out a small smile at that.

"You are my beloved son, Mithran. Always remember that I love you. And I love your mother. I always have," Madan said, making Mithran feel more guilty.

He had, for a moment, believed that his father is an adulterer who had cheated on his wife for years.


"And I love Chaahat as much," Madan added.

After the talk two months ago, that name had never popped up again in their conversations.

"I understand, Appa," Mithran said, though he couldn't understand why his father hid Chaahat from them all these years.

"And I'm worried about her. She is all alone, Mithran," Madan said.

"She has you, Appa. And she has us. We will look after her," Mithran said.

"Mithran, I had promised her mother that I will take care of her always. And I don't know what will happen to her after my time," Madan said in worry.

"Appa..." Mithran started to say something, but he was cut off by Madan's shocking words.

"Marry her, Mithran. Give her the protection of your name. Take care of her after my time," Madan said, dropping the bomb on Mithran so unexpectedly.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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