“If it weren’t absolutely necessary, I wouldn’t go at all.”
“Don’t worry aunty, I’m there na, I’ll look after uncle.”
Rama patted Mariyam’s back and showed gratitude. “God bless you my dear.”
Her brother was extremely ill and all of a sudden, Rama had to leave for Ahmedabad. Her seventy years old husband, Hiren was a heart patient and the old couple lived alone. Their only daughter was forever tied up with her family and lived quite far. The sole pillar of support was their ever helpful neighbour, Mariyam. They relied on her heavily.
Although Hiren had given permission to Rama to go see her brother, he just couldn’t do without her, not even for a minute. Barely had Rama reached Ahmedabad from Surat, Hiren fell sick in her absence. To such an extent that he didn’t have the energy to stand or help himself to anything. Mariyam came by in the evening to ask if he’d like some tea. But to her utter horror, Hiren was gasping for air and his eyeballs had shifted up.
She thought maybe water will give him some relief. Mariyam immediately got into action and with great difficulty, helped Hiren to a sitting position. Before she could process what was happening, Hiren vomited on her face. She was soaked in his puke and for a minute was flabbergasted. Howbeit, she knew he hadn’t done it intentionally. In fact he wasn’t in his senses at all. Trying to pacify him, Mariyam said gently,
“Nevermind uncle, I’ll quickly wash my face and change. Then we’ll help you out.
Without any further delay, she was back in a flash with her husband Sadik. He put on fresh clothes on Hiren and called for an ambulance. Once Hiren was admitted in the hospital, Sadik dialled all the important numbers and called up Hiren’s immediate family. His daughter came the next morning and Rama arrived after three days. Till then Mariyam and Sadik stuck in the hospital with Hiren, took all the precautionary measures suggested by the doctor and looked after him.
Hiren and his family couldn’t stop thanking their neighbours and were immensely grateful. Rama embraced Mariyam in her arms as she cried in gratitude. She kissed Mariyam on the forehead and said between sobs,
“Dear, you aren’t related to us in any way. Nevertheless, you have truly taught me how to value relationships and maintain them.”