Aaarrgghh! cried my elder son, Arshneet in agitation. I was busy in the kitchen preparing meals. Hearing his unusual cry, l rushed towards their room with palpitations. A few minutes ago l had left Arsh and his younger brother Ansh on their own. They were wrestling out of fun.
“Aarrgghh! he kicked me”, shouted Arsh pressing his knee tightly.
Ahhhh! Ahhhh! his agitation turned into pain.
Unable to control my anger, l thrashed Ansh wildly without demanding an explanation. He began to sob and narrated, “Bhai cross-legged me first, then only l kicked him. You will only take bhai’s side, your ladla beta.” His words invoked more fury, l slapped him on his cheek making it turn apple red.
Meanwhile, Arsh was in unbearable pain. “Stop beating him Mumma, something has happened in my leg.”
I was petrified, alone in the house with mere do anmol ratan. A quick sense of guilt prevailed over me.
My husband was out of town attending to his father. My father-in-law was admitted to a hospital upon a second cardiac arrest. His condition was critical. My mother-in-law was also in the hospital with them.
Arsh complained that he is not able to straighten his leg. I promptly applied moov to the injured area. He kept on trying, after a while, he succeeded. “Mumma l am alright”, he said standing up to walk. I could see him limping. The situation became worst at night. I was in a mess. Somehow, l had to pass the night. I informed my husband through a call about all that transpired. He was in the hospital, he contrived to put up with expert advice.
I boiled some water and steamed his leg. I applied moov again. Then l tied his knee with a cotton crepe bandage. He was able to sleep at least. Ansh was feeling sorry for hitting his Bhai so hard. After all, they are real brothers, l could fathom their pain. l spent a sleepless night, preoccupying myself with undue emotions.
Arsh tried to hide the mistake of his sibling by saying, “Galti se lag Gaya.” The love between the brothers melted my anxiety and annoyance. The next morning, l sent him for an x-ray with the security guard. The reports said that there is a minor ligament injury on two sides. I was taken aback, the boy was about to appear for his 10th board.
My husband returned, disbelieving the reports. He packed us all in a car and off he fled to the orthopedic in Jamshedpur where my father-in-law was admitted. The doctor examined his reports and enquired my tall boy, “Were you playing football?” He kept mum failing to find an answer. I acknowledged the doctor about their fierce combat.
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Arsh was admitted to the adjacent dressing room. His right leg, from knee to toe was wrapped up with a hard white plaster by the surgeon. The doctor recommended bed rest for a month, prescribed some pills and asked us to visit the clinic after a fortnight. I started imagining all the impossible stuff in my mind, “How my son will manage with such a hardened plaster?” l was in gloom. He was moved in a wheelchair towards the car. He was laid flat on the seat all through the way. His father lifted him while ascending the stairs.
My son proved courageous. He was not grim about his state. He passed his plaster days cheerfully. He took the support of the walls to reach the washroom. I paid attention to his diet. Anshpreet assisted him in his school tasks. He even attended to his urgent needs.
My husband was juggling between home and hospital. He took a sigh of relief when his father was successfully operated on and discharged.
After a month the white plaster was removed. A medicated cotton bandage was wrapped in its place. After two months of absence from school, Arsh was on his feet. He was missed profusely by his teachers and friends being the most talkative boy in his class. Nobody knew the actual cause of his ligament fracture. He asked us to keep it a secret and we obeyed his command like a disciple.
***This is an indelible incident that took place in 2019.
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