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The Flicker of Hope

Sunita Ramaswamy

National Public School, HSR, HSR Layout, Bengaluru.

Sunita Ramaswamy’s story was one of the Top 10 stories of the TeacherTribe Short Story Writing Contest.


I woke up one day and found myself in on an unfamiliar bed in what seemed a hospital room, all spic and span, with a smell of disinfectant all around and the beeps of machines. Wondering how I came here, I tried to recollect only to find my mind blank. As worry crossed my face, a young woman entered the room in starched white uniform and came near the cot and checked the instrument cluster for all the vital parameters without even looking at me.

“Can you please tell me where and why I am here? I have no idea of my voluntarily coming here,” I said to her. She shuddered for an instant and turning to me with her eyes wide open and palm covering her mouth, she asked me in disbelief, “Did you speak to me by any chance? I am Susan, can you repeat what you said? What is your name?”

“I am Janvi. Yes, I did ask you how come I am here and why. This looks like a hospital,” I said.

“Holy Jesus, you have spoken at last. What a miracle! Give me a moment let me fetch the doctor immediately,” she exclaimed as she rushed out.

She returned within minutes accompanied by many nurses with surprised looks on their faces to inform that the doctor had left and was expected back by 5PM. From what I could gather from her, I was brought there about six months ago, after a private bus of an IT company hit me from behind as I was crossing the road on the zebra crossing to reach my office. It seems my head hit the road divider and I was brought unconscious to the hospital, and that I have been comatose since then.

The nurse said, “I have given a ring to your sister already. She should be here any moment. When I did not reply, they left the room closing the door gently.

I woke up when someone was nudging me and telling, “Janvi, I am Kokila your sister, open your eyes. I am so happy today that Guruvayurappan has at last answered my prayers and that you have regained your consciousness.”

When I smiled at her and uttered her name, Kokila jumped in joy but looked around cautiously and closed the door shut. “Listen carefully. We had filed a case against the IT company whose bus hit you and considering your young age, high qualification and your high salary, a compensation of rupees one crore was decreed and accepted by the company. I expect the credit in your account in a day or two. Till then, behave as if you have not regained consciousness and are in vegetative state. Otherwise, the compensation may be in jeopardy. Do you follow me clearly? Answer me,” Kokila said.

Though Janvi did not answer, Kokila was pleased when she opened her eyes and slowly lowered the eyelids accompanied by what seemed a slight nod with a faint smile signifying agreement.

Just then Susan entered the room and patted Janvi telling, “Look at me. I could contact the doctor and he would be here soon. How are you feeling? You must be happy having met your sister? Tell me something,”

But Janvi showed no signs of having heard Susan, with her eyes staring vacantly at the ceiling fan. Susan’s many attempts to make her talk or even indicate her awareness of her present state failed, giving the nurse jitters of the inevitable. Kokila was watching expressionless, though inwardly happy that her sister was heeding to her advice.

Two days later, when Kokila came rushing to inform that Janvi’s account had been credited with the compensation amount, the nurse said sadly that there was no change. Putting on a crestfallen look, she entered Janvi’s room. Patting her shoulders, she said,” Janvi, the compensation has come. You no longer need to act. Open your eyes, we have lots to do.”

Despite several prodding, Janvi continued to look at the ceiling vacantly till Kokila realised the harsh truth that she had gone back to a state of oblivion, belying the flicker of hope a few days back!

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