Book Title: Why Should I Trust You?
Author: Sudeep Nagarkar
Number of Pages: 240
Date Published: Sept. 14, 2023
Price: INR 282
Who Am I?
I wake up to the sound of monitors beeping and of instruments being placed on a steel tray at a distance. I can clearly see the scene in my mind’s eye. I know that I must get up. But the pull of sleep is too strong and my limbs feel too heavy to move. Finally, I open my eyes to a blurry vision—it takes me a couple of minutes to focus on the surroundings. A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around my right arm and a pulse meter is attached to my middle finger. From my dry mouth and foggy mind, I can make out that I am waking up, not from normal sleep but from an anesthesia-induced one. I let my gaze wander around the room. I can see white walls and blue curtains. There are a few vases holding fresh flowers near the window on the right. But the scent of those flowers is no match for the strong smell of antiseptic and sanitizer that hits my nose. I shift my gaze toward the ticking sound of the wall clock coming from my left. It shows the time as eleven o’clock and the sunlight outside the window indicates it’s morning. The calendar next to the wall clock shows the month and the year.
26 January 2018.
As I stare at the date, I have a million questions in my mind. The most important one: Where am I and why?
I have a strong urge to get up but I can’t. I feel as if rocks have been placed on me and force is being applied to push me down. My head is heavy and it feels like someone is hammering on it continuously. I try to recollect what could have brought me here but I have no memory of any past events. It feels like my body is paralyzed. The moment this thought crosses my mind, a sense of fear engulfs me. I look towards the door to see if I can spot anyone. After waiting for a few minutes, I shout. Hearing my screams, a nurse rushes in. She stares at me inshock, almost as if she can’t believe I am awake.
‘Call the doctor immediately,’ she says to the ward boy. She turns back to look at me, her gaze unblinking, as if something unbelievable is unfolding in front of her eyes and she doesn’t want to miss even a bit of it. And that’s when I realize that something is not quite right with me. But what? Before I can even think any further or ask the nurse, a team of doctors rushed towards me. I can gauge from their expressions and the frenetic activity around me that they haven’t anticipated the situation they now find themselves in. A senior doctor checks my pulse, my pupils and my oxygen levels.
‘Hello, Ms Kashyap. Can you hear me?’ the doctor asks.
I try to speak, but can barely utter a word. It seems my vocal cords have been damaged. I simply nod to convey that I can hear him. He nods in return and the nurse standing beside him notes something in the patient file. I can sense the tension in his voice reduce a bit as he talks to the nurse. Though I am not able to hear them clearly, I can gauge it must be something about my condition. A series of questions follows—how am I feeling, do I know where I am, am I feeling any pain, am I able to move my body? In spite of failing in my initial attempts to speak, I manage to utter a word or two. I speak in a muffled tone but it is still clear enough for the others to understand. Once the doctor is done, he turns to the nurse. ‘Vitals?’ he asks her.
‘Stable, sir,’ she says, after checking the readings on the machine.
A smile of satisfaction appears on the doctor’s face. ‘Do you remember what happened to you and why you are here?’ he asks.
As I shake my head, I can see his smile disappear. He speaks in low tones with his colleagues. Trying his best to hide his concern, he says to me, ‘Do not worry, take some rest.’
I nod. I am tired and confused.
After everyone leaves the room, I make another attempt to recall the past that has led me to this point. As I struggle to remember, frustration hits me hard. Apprehension and several questions are running through my mind, and a tsunami of emotions has engulfed me. My body feels as if it is in a storm waiting for peace.
A little later, the door slides open again and a woman in her forties walks briskly towards me.
‘Nandini …’ she says with a wide smile.
As she holds my hand, tears roll down her cheeks. I remain in a daze and stare at her from top to bottom. She is wearing a salwar suit and has a wedding ring on her hand. Neither her face nor the name she has uttered is familiar.
Nandini? The doctor had addressed me as Ms Kashyap. So, is my name Nandini Kashyap? I try desperately to remember but I have no memory at all. I look at her curiously.
‘I am so happy today. I thought I’d lost you too,’ she says as she runs her fingers through my hair. I can feel the warmth in her touch, but my mind stays on the words she had spoken.
Lost me too? Did she mean she had lost someone else? But who? And who is she?
I stare at her blankly. She seems to understand the conflict within my heart. Maybe the doctors have informed her about my memory or perhaps the confusion on my face has revealed that I cannot recognize her.
‘I am your Maasi,’ she says, stroking my face gently. ‘Don’t be tense. I know you are confused.’ Then she takes a deep breath and reveals, ‘You had a car accident, but you are okay. I don’t wish to overwhelm you with all the details, but now that you are out of coma everything will be fine soon.’
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Coma? The word hits me hard. The chaos in my head creates a sense of panic and chokes my brain. A shiver runs through my body. At least, that clarifies why I was bedridden and couldn’t recall anything from my past. Have I lost my memory? How long have I been in this state? I feel lost. I want to melt into a puddle. I want to fall onto the street and let the wind push me far, far away. I want to dissolve in the storm that has hit me. I want to disappear.
‘How long have I been here?’ I ask her.
‘Fourteen months. When you slipped into a coma, the doctors said that there was barely any chance that you would come back. But now you will soon recover and live a normal life again.’
Normal life? Was it really possible? Everything looks so scary. Especially as I remember nothing about my previous life, not even my own identity.
Who was I? Where were my parents? Where did I live? What did I do before my accident?
I can remember nothing. I can’t even be sure that the lady in front of me is telling the truth. But I have no option other than to believe her. I feel like just another lost soul floating helplessly with no control in the calm ocean of life. I’ll go wherever the tide tells me to because I have no choice. Everything looks pointless, so why bother to fight?
This excerpt is taken from Why Should I Trust You? by bestselling author Sudeep Nagarkar, published under Westland.
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