FINDING THE FOE

RECURRING NIGHTMARE

It was a fine winter night. I was preparing the project report on Anatomy. We had to submit it the next day. If Anjana had been here,she would have helped me. As she has gone to her native, myself and Asha had to complete it. But Asha was not feeling well since morning. She had headache and fever. So,there was nobody to share my work . Above all,this project was not only mine,it was ours,the three of us. But I am not going to blame my friends for not helping me now. Because, they are not only my friends but my family. Yes! I love them a lot. Doing something for someone you love does not make you tired,isn’t it??
It was 2.30 a.m when I completed the report. I climbed on the bed and laid down next to Asha who was sleeping peacefully. I touched her forehead and now the fever has reduced. I quickly fell asleep as I was tired.
I got up in the morning and did not wake Asha up as I thought she would be tired. I bathed and dressed up and came towards her. I caressed her hair gently. She opened her eyes slowly.
“Asha! How are u feeling now? Are you coming to lab today?”,I asked her.
“I am very tired Kaira. Let me take rest please”,said Asha.
I nodded and actually I wanted to be with her and take care of her. But going to lab is very important as it was the last day to submit our project. I had to go and submit on behalf of the three of us.
“Take care,Asha. I will come as soon as possible. I will ask Meena di to get you breakfast. Have it and take rest”,I held her hand which was warm due to fever and kissed it.
Asha nodded with drooping eyelids.
I took my notebooks and my coat and went off through the corridor of our hostel.

I was very happy as Professor.Mishra appreciated me in front of our batch for our project work. Though,the three of us had worked for it,the final compilation was done by me and I was proud of it.
I returned to the hostel only to see multitudes of students standing here and there. This was unusual at that time. It was only 11 a.m and most of the students would have been in the classes. I had no idea about what had happened. I slowly entered the corridor and everyone’s gaze fell over me. Their lips murmured something.
I ignored everyone and walked towards our room. I could not find my way as I saw so many men standing outside our room. Men in women’s hostel? Sounds weird.
My heart started to beat fast. My hands started trembling. I held my books tight so that no one would see me trembling. When I went near my room,those men moved and gave way to me. I saw three policemen standing inside our room. My head started spinning. Would somebody tell me what the hell was happening?
As I stepped in,I saw a body lying on the stretcher. It was covered by white cloth. A chill ran down my spine. I slowly removed the cloth to see the face.
My God! I wish what I am seeing right now is a dream!! She.. my Asha.. my best friend.. is lying next to me lifeless. I can’t even believe my eyes. I choked and could not even breathe. I fainted.
When I woke up,I saw some of the girls in the nearby rooms standing next to me. They gave me water. I saw Asha’s dead body again. “O God! Why did this happen? It is all because of me. I should have been here and taken care of her. I killed her. I killed my beloved friend Asha”,I started crying hitting my own head.
Everyone around me tried to console me. But tears started flooding like a river. Time passed and my tears run dry. I was staring at Asha’s dead body when the body was examined by the police. Suddenly,she got up and strangled my neck. “Kaira.. You killed me. You should have been here. Is our project more important to you than my life? I hate you Kaira! I hate you! And I will never forgive you”,I began coughing and could not breathe.
“ Please forgive me Asha.. Please”,I shouted and got up from my sleep. I opened my eyes. I was sweating heavily. Yes! It was a nightmare. Anjana who was sleeping next to me got up and looked at me with terrified face.
“Kaira! Are you okay? “,she asked me rubbing my back.
I nodded.
“The same nightmare?”,asked Anjana.
I nodded. She gave me water.
“Nothing dear. Sleep. I am with u”,she said and hugged me and made me lay down. She caressed my hair.

*******************
I am Kaira, a fourth year medical student in the reputed St.Mary’s medical College in Mumbai. My family resides in Pune and hence I had to stay in hostel. I belong to a middle class family and studying medicine is not only my dream but also my parents’.

When I came here,I got two lovely people as my roommates,Asha and Anjana. They have the same craziness as me and we became close friends in a short span of time. Asha comes from a middle class family from Surat. She is really sweet,easy going,loving and strong willed. She never gives up on anything. Anjana,she has told me that she comes from a village in Odisha,whose name I forget everytime. She is an introvert and never shares so much information about her personal life. She is really kind and caring. She never lets us to be sad. She lights up our mood everytime and she is our sunshine.
So,these two girls have become my world for the past three years. We avoid going to our natives during holidays only to spend time together in the malls of Mumbai City and our own Taj Mahal,our hostel room. There are hardly been days in which we never laughed. In my hard times,Asha and Anjana have been my pillar of support and they had wiped my tears. I love them both beyond limits.
A fateful day came only to shatter all our happiness. Asha left both of us in the midway and reached the heaven. Even in my weirdest dreams did I imagine that this would happen. I was mentally affected as I had to face the situation all alone. Anjana came to see Asha’s body only after she was taken to her native. I finished all the formalities being all alone. I fainted a lot of times in between.
After that incident,I was sent to my home where I have been given treatments to come out of the mishap. The psychiatrist who treated me believes that I am cured. He asked my parents to take me to the hostel and said that I am completely alright.But I am not. I was at home for the past six months and it has been only a week since I shifted to the hostel. The nightmare in which Asha accuses me for her death have now become a recurring one. Everyday,I get up shouting Asha’s name and Anjana would console me. I don’t know when I am going to be normal. I know that Asha could not be brought back to life. But my guilt kills me everyday. I have to find a solution for this as soon as possible.

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