This story contain no graphic scenes of sex
This story contain no graphic scenes of sex


TUM   BIN...
[ Without You... ]

Part One

Lumbini Park: Saturday, August 25, 2007

The saltating jets of water rose and fell in perfect synchronised harmony with the pulsating, throbbing music... fulgid in the myriad range of colourful, dancing lights - hypnotically spellbinding, mesmerizingly beautiful...

It was a wet evening, and the open air auditorium was just about a quarter occupied - mostly tourists, including the excited group of young students looking forward to an evening of entertainment after their hectic, college conducted industrial tour of the city; and of course, a few, odd dating couples.

The young lovers in the middle row, slightly apart from the others, huddled closer, shoulders pressed, arms intertwined, enwrapped in the impeccant joy of togetherness. His hand sliding across her nervous palm, the fingers interlacing, her smile coy as she blinked up at him... and as the music reached a crescendo, the quivering, twirling jets lifting high, their happy world abruptly went dark with an explosive bang!

Tum Bin...
[Without you] 

The young man walked out of the bathroom, refreshed, and as he flung away the towel, looking around for his favourite shorts - faded and frayed, but immensely comfortable - his phone began to ring.

"Neeladri," he said, picking up the mobile.

"Dr. Neeladri," he heard a female voice, harried, "it's an emergency, and you're needed at the hospital immediately."

"I just got back from the hospital, what emergency now?!" he asked, slightly annoyed. It had been a usual day at the hospital, which simply put, meant a hectic day, and he was tired... wanting to just relax, spent some time checking his mails, listen to some music and then go to bed after an early dinner.

"There's been a series of bomb blasts, the city's on red-alert," the lady informed, "it's a mess here, all doctors are required to report for duty immediately," cutting the call.

Neeladri stood stunned... looking at the dead instrument in his hand. He had just driven the over ten kilometre long route, minutes ago, and the city had seemed normal... crowded with people and traffic... where did the blasts suddenly come from?!

But then, it wasn't the time to debate, and analyse. Quickly dropping the phone on the bed he opened the closet, pulling out a fresh set of clothes.

The streets were eerily deserted, with hardly much traffic, and nothing of the usual crowds of pedestrians... everyone seeming nervous, everyone hurrying home. Police vehicles zoomed up and down, sirens blaring... every street corner bristling with the uniformed men, solemn and alert.

The street outside the hospital was swarming with people and crowded with the media OB vans; the ER entrance totally choked with the ambulances ferrying in the injured. Neeladri pulled over to a side, not bothering to drive in, and got out, throwing the keys to a guard and asking him to park it in the doctor's lot, running in...

The ER was like a war zone - the spacious hall crowded with the injured and their loved ones... gurneys all over... some of the injured even sprawled out on the bare floor... screaming and groaning... blood and gore everywhere. Nurses and ward-boys running as doctors shouted out orders, attending to the ever increasing flood of battered and bruised victims being carried in. Trying to do all they could to stabilise them, urgently sending the more critically injured over to the ICU or the operating rooms, where other doctors desperately struggled to save lives and limbs. The harried nurses trying to assuage the distraught relatives, keep them out of the doctors' way. The high roofed hall resonating with the wail of the dying, and for the dead.

"Thanks for coming so soon, just take the first unattended patient you find," Mrs. Jacobs, the senior ER duty matron said grabbing his arm before rushing off.

It was past midnight, well over three exhausting hours later, that Dr. Neeladri noticed the solitary gurney at the furthest corner of the hall, unattended... a person lying on it, still.

Wondering if the man was dead, and if so, why hadn't the body been removed to the morgue... but if still living, then why wasn't anyone attending him?

Neeladri went forward, noting the drip that had been set up. And as he got closer, he saw the person - a very young man - probably about his own age.

He stood looking down at the man, amazed - he didn't seem to be injured at all, his face and the exposed arms under the rolled up sleeves, unscathed... the evidently expensive clothes surprisingly clean and intact, unlike that of the other victims - wondering if he too was a victim of the blasts, or maybe, just a 'regular' emergency patient.

The shirt had been untucked and unbuttoned... the jeans undone and pulled partly down, expensive sneakers still on. A urine bag lay between the legs, the catheter inserted...

He paused, suddenly feeling a weird shudder pass through his entire body as his eyes took in the man - the handsome face... the firm, well defined torso... the... the...

Totally shamed, Neeladri jerked himself out of his ignominious stupor, tearing away his eyes as he silently rebuked himself, taking the wrist of the man, checking for the pulse...

He had always been proud of his professional integrity, never having allowed his sexuality to ever come in the way of his work. And in all his years at medical school, his year as an intern... and as a full-fledged doctor for the past year and a half at the hospital, he had never done anything so utterly reprehensible, had never felt this way! A patient was, after all, a patient - no matter how handsome or attractive, however much alluring, and in whatever condition of undress... He just couldn't understand his sudden, shockingly disgraceful behaviour.

Was it simply the quiet vulnerability of the stunningly beautiful youth, so fragile in his defenseless nudity... without an attendant or wailing relatives? Or, was the terrible shock and exhaustion of the past three hours driving him insane?

The pulse was slightly weak, but steady... the breathing and heartbeat, almost normal. He checked the card at the foot of the gurney, reading the details - it simply reiterated the lack of any external injuries, mentioning suspected concussion.

Well, the vitals were nothing to worry about, but the man was clearly passed out.

Neeladri bend forward, noticing the slight trickle of dried blood from the left ear, and then checked his eyes - the pupils dilated.

He caught a passing nurse, "What about him?" he asked.

"Dr. Ramchandra has checked him, he's stable, should come around soon..."

"No relatives or friends?"

"None have turned up so far," she replied.

"Where did he come from, the park or the eatery?" Neeladri asked again.

"The eatery," the nurse replied, sounding very tired.

"Okay," Neeladri nodded, thanking her.

Neeladri had stayed on at the hospital (as had most other doctors), and with the emergency situation somewhat contained, he returned to the lone, unconscious man, spending over an hour with him, running tests. Thankfully, there was nothing broken, and no internal injuries; nor was there any internal bleeding, with all vital organs undamaged and functioning properly. The brain CT scan too came back absolutely normal.

With the less critical patients shifted to the various wards around the early hours, Neeladri finally caught a few winks before taking a shower and grabbing a hurried breakfast at the hospital cafeteria, returning to his post, back on duty.

But he was still very much raddled by the heartrending scenes, and the sheer magnitude of horror of the previous night. Still overwhelmed by the agony of the living and the injured, the tragic suffering that had suddenly enshrouded the lives of a happy weekend crowd. Constantly thinking about the enigmatic young man who seemed so alone... wondering where his family was, why hadn't they come to the hospital...

"Doctor," the duty nurse announced peeking into his tiny chamber, "patient number four is waking up."

'Patient Number Four' - it was the same young man who he had been thinking about... the man who had almost jolted his professional pride the previous evening.

Neeladri stood up, quickly heading for the general ward...

to be continued...            

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