Onus of the oath – Epilogue – Guest Post


When my good friend and fellow blogger Sid B (http://iwrotethose.com/ and http://foodnessme.com/) wanted to post an epilogue to my novella “Onus of the oath” I was honored (obviously) but more thrilled to bits as this is a writer whose work I tremendously enjoy and to me it was more of an acknowledgement that Sid found my novella good enough to pen an epilogue to and add his two cents to the narrative.

Without further ado, here goes Sid’s epilogue to Onus of the oath.

Onusoftheoath_JairamSid

Read the novella here ( Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 )

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A loud set of knocks on the door brought Ravi’s attention back from the oath he’d been staring at. He looked at the clock on the wall. He’d been in the room for over 30 minutes. He replayed the earlier scene in his mind, where Circle Inspector Bhaskaran had been at his feet, begging him to save his daughter’s life. As he continued to replay the scene in his mind, over and over again, he could start to feel his blood boil. It was because of Bhaskaran that he’d not even had a chance to tell his father how proud he had been of him. And now he had the choice to make Bhaskaran go through the exact same pain and anguish, that he had been through.

The series of knocks started to get more persistent and Ravi walked up to the door to unlock it. It was his head nurse, Mariamma. Doctor! The girl’s condition is getting worse. We have put her on the respirator. But you need to tell us what to do next! she said, her face etched with panic. Ravi simply continued to stare at Mariamma and said  Keep her there. I will let you know”. He slammed the door shut and looked around the room. He hated Bhaskaran with ever fiber of his being, and he wanted him to suffer. But every object in that room, stood as a testament to the oath he had taken. His eyes stopped at a picture of his late father, Dr. Sudheesh Nair. As his eyes started to brim up with tears, only one thought crossed his mind.

CI Bhaskaran had to pay the price for his grief.

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Ravi looked at his disheveled reflection in the mirror. He hadn’t slept properly for days. His eyes were bloodshot and his 3-day-old greying stubble gave him the appearance of a drunken, homeless person. He leaned over the washbasin and splashed his face with the freezing cold water, giving him goose bumps. He shut his eyes, unable to look at himself in the mirror. The face haunted him, as it had been doing for the past few days. He looked at the Tissot watch on his wrist. It had been his last present from his late father. It was almost time for the meeting.

Ravi slowly put on his checked blazer and tried to pat down his messy hair. Dr Tharakan had specifically asked him to clean up and dress up well for the hearing. But Ravi no longer cared. He closed the door to his apartment and looked up at the sky. It was cloudy and overcast. It looked like another storm was headed their way. He sighed and started the long trek to the medical center where Dr. Tharakan had offered to pick him up from.

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Dr. Tharakan put a hand on Ravi’s shoulder as if to help him relax. Ravi stared blankly at the three senior doctors from the Medical Council. One of them, Dr. Lakshmi Warrier, an octogenarian and head of the disciplinary committee, wrinkled her nose and pouted her lips in disgust as she glanced over his disheveled state. Dr. Ravi Nair, you have been summoned here, before the Disciplinary Committee of the Medical Council, because of a complaint filed by Circle Inspector Bhaskaran R. He has raised allegations that you neglected the oath that you had sworn to protect and uphold, when you completed your medical degree. He has also put forth an allegation that due to your personal rivalry, you initially refused to treat his daughter, Preethi Bhaskaran, aged 10, which led her condition to worsen. Do you deny any of these allegations? asked Dr. Warrier, in a shrill voice.

Ravi remained silent and continued to look straight ahead, his face still expressionless. Dr. Ravi, I repeat. Do you deny any of these allegations? recapped Dr. Warrier, her voice starting to quiver slightly with anger. But Ravi still said nothing. One of the other members of the disciplinary committee, Dr. Joy Thomas, interjected at this point and said Dr. Ravi, Do you have anything to say to defend your actions? If you say nothing, we will have no other alternative, but to revoke your medical license and also pass the case to the Police department for further investigation”. Ravi slowly stood up and pushed his chair backwards. I have nothing to say. Do what you must! he said, and walked out of the room. The disciplinary committee looked at Dr. Tharakan in shock, who too stood up from his seat.

Outside, Ravi took a long drag of the cigarette. The nicotine from the cigarette surged through his body, and he closed his eyes. He could see their faces again.  But one lone face appeared clearer and sharper than the rest.  It was that of Preethi Bhaskaran. Her expressionless eyes stared back at him, giving him a chill. And then, she slowly spoke in a raspy voice. Why did you have to let me die, doctor? I was only ten years old. I had my entire life ahead of me. You took out your anger on me. What did I do to you, doctor?  Why?” 

Ravi! Dr. Tharakan’s voice snapped him out of his nightmare. Let’s go, he said to Ravi and together they walked towards where Dr. Tharakan had parked his dilapidated Maruti Zen. As he started the car, Dr. Tharakan asked Don’t you want to know what they decided? Ravi just stared through the windshield, without muttering a word.

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Ravi slowly opened the door to his office at Nightingale Medical Center. Everything was as he had left it on the fatal day. He shut the door behind him, and walked towards his desk, behind hung the portrait of his late father, Dr. Sudheesh Nair. Almost instantaneously, images from that day, a few weeks ago, raced through his mind.

Though he had wanted to punish CI Bhaskaran, he knew it was against his ethics to let his daughter pay the price. After all, his father had been the epitome of an honest, ethical doctor and he would have not accepted that. So he’d asked Nurse Mariamma to get the operation theatre ready, and had started the preparation for the surgery. However halfway through the surgery, Preethi’s lungs had given up and they were unable to resuscitate her. And as a result, she had died. Though he’d not intended for that to happen, Ravi had been ridden with guilt ever since that day. He’d rushed out of the operation theatre and gone home, leaving the nurse to convey the tough news to CI Bhaskaran and his family.

Initially he thought that he would get over it in a few days. The morbid image of Preethi in the operation theatre haunted him every time he shut his eye. And slowly, his guilt worsened. Deep down, Ravi believed that he had been inadvertently responsible for her death, because of his delay in making the decision to operate on her. Although Dr. Tharakan and the rest of the doctors had told him otherwise, he couldn’t help but feel, that if he hadn’t let his hatred for Bhaskaran get in the way, Preethi would be alive today. Due to Dr. Tharakan’s testimony, the medical committee had agreed not to revoke his medical license, even though he himself had walked out of the room, without offering any kind of defense.

As he put on his clean, white overcoat, he looked at the piece of paper he had cut from the local daily a few days ago. He slowly placed the stethoscope around his neck and picked up the portrait sized black and white image of a little girl. I’m sorry Preethi ! he whispered as he placed the paper cutting back into his desk drawer.

It was time to do what he knew best – be a good doctor.

Onus of the oath – Part 6


Steth

Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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In the six months that followed, Ravi was completely distraught at what had happened. Dr Tharakan took up the role of a friend, philosopher and guide to him and helped him overcome his distress and guilt. He was reminded that the most fitting tribute to his father’s memories would be to become the best doctor that he could.

In this time Ravi had settled down almost permanently in Kumli and was doing his best to help out all the patients who turned up at the Nightingale Medical Center there. Coupled with his new found love for his profession and his flair for being a quick learner, he was soon among the most loved doctors in the entire region and commanded respect from all the people.

It was a day like any other when little Preethi, a ten year old girl was brought into the hospital with severe breathing problems. Since Dr Tharakan had gone on a house visit, Ravi conducted the preliminary diagnosis. The girl’s mother informed him that she had a respiratory problem and had frequent attacks of breathlessness. However today’s was an especially serious one and she had been having violent spasms for the past hour or so, all the way to the hospital.

Just about when Ravi had completed his diagnosis, her father rushed into the doctor’s chamber. Even before Ravi or anybody else could react to the sudden intrusion, he had fallen at his feet and started pleading with him to do whatever was required to save his daughter. A bulky man in a policeman’s uniform falling at a masked doctor’s feet was something that you didn’t see every day.

When Ravi looked down at his feet and saw the weeping man there, he was taken back in time.

Slowly removing his surgical mask, he recollected the last time he had seen this particular face; on a rainy day six months ago when he was driving to Kochi on an extremely rainy and wet day. The last time he had seen Bhaskaran was that fateful day his father died.

And today, Bhaskaran was at his mercy, begging him to save his daughter.

How the tables had turned.

As soon as the surgical mask came off, Bhaskaran recognized Ravi and remembered the incident six months ago. He immediately apologized to Ravi and asked him to let bygones be bygones and to help Preethi recover from her spasms. He pleaded with the doctor not to take revenge, not today.

Without saying a word Ravi walked out of the room and into his chambers and shut the door behind him. From where he sat on his chair, the oath he had taken as a doctor loomed large on him, the words he knew so well haunted him.

He had to make a choice.

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THE END

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Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.

Onus of the oath – Part 5


Steth

Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Standing in the pouring rain with a Duckback raincoat that only just about managed to keep him dry, Bhaskaran took out all his frustrations and ire on every vehicle that was passing through the check-post. He was determined that if he didn’t have a good day today, neither would anybody who dared to drive a vehicle past him that day.

This invariably led to a long queue of vehicles, including the big 7 tonne and 9 tonne trucks which regularly plied on this route carrying vegetables and other assorted goods between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. As it was the rainy season and the roads had not been maintained well, it meant that the queue of vehicles extended to almost 2 kms beyond the check-point. And given Bhaskaran’s foul mood, it was only bound to get longer.

It was in this melee that Ravi suddenly found himself stranded behind a long line of trucks around 2 kms before the check-point. He quickly got out of his car, ran a couple of meters ahead and asked a truck driver what was happening. And on being informed of the traffic jam, he drove into the opposite lane, past all the stationary vehicles. He reached the point where the policemen were standing, got out of the car and requested them to check his car and let him through as he had a medical emergency to attend to. One of the constables knew him as the doctor from the Nightingale Medical Center and obliged him by proceeding to check his car.

However, Bhaskaran, on having noticed that Ravi’s car had cut through the existing queue and had come to the check post from the opposite side of the road quickly came up and stopped the constable. He smirked at Ravi’s urgency and claims of a medical emergency, and rudely asked him to drive all the way back to the end of the queue and follow it. Despite Ravi’s persistent pleas and constant requests to be granted a respite from following the queue, Bhaskaran’s foul mood meant that he had to drive back all the way. This ended up in him having to wait a good two hours more before he could drive through the check post.

And finally when Ravi reached Kochi a good 6 hrs later, he walked into the weeping arms of his distraught mother, who told him that Dr Sudheesh had passed away just 10 minutes ago.

He had lost the one chance that he had to reconnect with his father and finally be a son to him.

He blamed only one person for this missed opportunity, Circle Inspector Bhaskaran.

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Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.

Onus of the oath – Part 4


Steth

Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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It was on one such day when Bhaskaran had one drink too many in the morning that things came to a boil. When one of the visiting Asst Commissioners addressed him by a derogatory term used for tribals, Bhaskaran completely lost his temper and ended up slapping the officer and engaging in fisticuffs with him in the police station itself. This automatically earned him a suspension and although the ACP tried to dismiss Bhaskaran from the force itself, he managed to end up with a suspension for three months.

To add to his woes, and with the sole intention of extracting his revenge from Bhaskaran, the ACP in question managed to get him transferred to his jurisdiction and today was Bhaskaran’s first day back at work after the period of his suspension.

The ACP immediately gave him an assignment to head to the check-post on the highway and check all vehicles for illicit liquor despite the fact that it was raining quite heavily. The fact that such an assignment on a rainy day was nothing short of a ‘punishment assignment’ was not lost on Bhaskaran, but he had the good sense not to show his frustration in front of the ACP and started driving his jeep towards the check-post.

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It had been hardly five minutes since Ravi started his long drive to Kochi when he heard his phone ringing. He quickly pulled up to a side of the road and answered the call. It was one of his friends from Kochi calling him to tell him that his father had met with an accident where a drunk driver driving a construction crane ended up crashing into his father’s car. His father had suffered grievous injuries and the doctors had given him less than a few hours to survive.

Despite being taken aback by the news, Ravi composed himself somewhat enquired about how his mother had taken the news and his friend informed him that she was in the hospital outside the Critical Care Unit. Ravi then hung up after having told his friend that he would be back home as soon as he possibly could.

Pulling himself together, he then started driving through the pouring rain to Kochi, hoping that he could reach home before the situation got any worse.

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Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.

Onus of the oath – Part 3


Steth

Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Bhaskaran was having yet another bad day in office.

Back from a three month suspension for having physically assaulted his superior office, the Asst Commissioner of Police, he now had to deal with insubordinate Head Constables and Asst Sub Inspectors who didn’t even bother with the fact that he was at least two grades higher than them as a Circle Inspector. After all, he still belonged to a department which still placed a lot of premium on which caste you belonged to. And since Bhaskaran belonged to one of the hill tribes from the Kumli region, he had an obvious disadvantage when it came to earning respect.

Right from the time his father migrated to the town in search of better employment opportunities and Bhaskaran was enrolled in the local Govt School, he had to face the brunt of being a boy from the tribal community. The slang and the accent with which he used to speak, the ear stud that all boys from his tribe used to sport right from the time they were three years old, the odd tattoo of swirling snakes that he had on the inside of his forearm, these were just a few of the things that provoked mirth and ridicule from the other kids in the school. He therefore knew how to deal with being an outcast right from the time he was seven or eight years old.

In his naiveté, he believed that by studying hard and scoring good marks in studies, he could gain some well-deserved respect, but that just ended up exacerbating his ‘differences’ further. After all, the Govt School in Kumli was not known for over-achievers and therefore when a student from there, a tribal one at that, started scoring high marks, more than quite a few eyebrows were raised.

While the other kids in his classes hated him for being so bright and good at his studies, the teachers refused to believe that he was performing so well due to his hard work and motivation. The shadow of plagiarism and using foul means plagued him throughout his days as a student.

The one good thing that came out of Bhaskaran’s studious nature was that he was able to crack the State Public Service Commission examinations and the interviews and was selected to be part of the State Police Force.

On his first day in the force after his training, Bhaskaran walked into the local police station where he was assigned to feeling fully confident that the stigma of him being a tribal youth, an ‘outsider’ would finally be wiped out. His birth, his caste, his skin color, would finally stop mattering and from now on only his deeds would decide his true worth.

Little did he know that this idealistic viewpoint of his wouldn’t last even the first two hours into his new assignment.

One of the first questions that his superior officer, the Inspector asked him was about his caste and why he spoke the local language with a peculiar slang. And on hearing the answer about Bhaskaran’s caste and his background, the Inspector derisively laughed at him and asked him to go to the tea shop just outside the police station and buy him a pack of cigarettes and some refreshments. Soon this became a daily chore. Bhaskaran was destined to be ‘the outsider’ here as well.

Refusing to be bullied and cowed down by the circumstances, and by virtue of his dedication, commitment and motivation, Bhaskaran managed to overcome petty workplace politics and managed to rise up to the level of Circle Inspector in the force. Although it took him twice as much time compared to his peers, he did not accept defeat and kept fighting.

However all the years of being mocked, taunted, laughed at made him an extremely bitter person who treated everybody around him with a lot of disdain. A lifetime of being treated differently only because of his birth meant that he stopped treating anybody with even an ounce of respect.

As far as he was concerned, society continued to conspire against him in the name of casteism and favoritism and nothing that he ever did would be good enough to erase the fact that he was a tribal. His frustration and anger slowly drove him to find solace in liquor and while not a full blooded alcoholic, Bhaskaran was at times prone to drinking in the mornings and then going to the police station in a foul mood.

This attitude of his spilt into his personal life as well and did not help the already difficult situation with his innocent wife and a small six year old daughter who was perennially on medication due to her respiratory problems.

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Read the rest of the story here – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.