Adil – Short Story | June 2016, Issue XVII | Dr. Maitreyee Joshi

Article Posted in: Short Story


By – Maitreyee

June 2016, Issue XVII


Introduction to the Author:

Dr Maitreyee Joshi is an enthusiastic writer. She has a book of poems published by the name ” Shells and Melodies.” Her flash fiction was published in The Cigale Literary Magazine in 2015 and The Creativity Webzine in 2016. She is currently practicing Ophthalmology and is about to complete her masters in Psychology.



Sumedh lay in the hospital bed quietly with IV injection dripping drop by drop and getting infused into his veins. It had been three months since he had to come for a chemotherapy every month.

It was not that the chemotherapy was most unwelcome because the latest chemotherapy gave sideeffects in the coming week, not immediately, but it was about idly lying down, watching endless TV that was so tiring that even thoughts had left his mind. There was one thought that entered every once in a while and that thought was about Adil. Adil had not visited him even once, not in the hospital and not at home.

Narayan was a doctor and it was he who had advised Sumedh to get his chest xray done when Sumedh had a recalcitrant cough and it had not come out normal. The doctors later advised him a CT scan of his chest and abdomen and there were lymph nodes of the size of a lemon around his aorta and in his groins. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and then started endless blood tests, a monthly chemotherapy, the extremely painful iliac puncture for bone marrow examination and the endless side effects of the chemotherapy.

Narayan helped him as much as he could as a doctor. He checked the bills and the insurance. He checked if the medicines were right and administered timely. He checked if he could do anything to control the side-effects.

His sons had both settled in London, but Sumedh did not feel like leaving home and going to stay with them after Leena left him. Leena, his wife had died of severe hypertension leading to a massive bleed in the brain. She had not been careful about her health and medicines and that had cost Sumedh dearly.

His sons, who had both settled in London, came turn by turn but had to leave because they had to go and join work for they would have lost their jobs.

Arun had been his competitor during his working time as a Botany professor. Arun never earned the popularity with students or the accolades and appreciation for work that Sumedh did. Surprisingly, Arun stayed with him day and night at the hospital. He accompanied Sumedh to his house and saw that the maid prepared proper food. He gave him medicines on time and stayed the week of the chemotherapy. After the week, he came every morning and then came back in the evening and stayed the night. He went back early morning and arrived after breakfast. He relentlessly carried on with the routine for the next six months until the monthly chemotherapy got over. Sumedh once asked him reluctantly,” You and I were always in competition but then why..”

And tears rolled down his eyes. Arun had hugged him and replied, “We will compete once again Sumedh, you just get better.”

Yet there was no sign of Adil. Sumedh thought many times and his eyes torn every time and his tears had no answer. To add to the pain, the lymph nodes showed no sign of even a millimeter of regression after 3 months.

Adil spoke very little. He owned a small grocery store, which now was taken over by his son and he blissfully spent his retirement with his wife, son, daughter in law and grandchildren. Adil had been Sumedh’s friend since their school. They were unlike each other in every respect. Sumedh was from a middle-class family and Adil from a very poor family. They were the witness of every major and many minor incidents of each other’s lives. They were almost spiritually connected because they advised each other during problems and crunch situations and discussed problems and joys alike while taking long walks. Whenever decisions needed to be seriously taken, they have fallen heavily on each other.

After six months of chemotherapy, the lymph nodes showed complete regression in the PET scan.

Arun and Narayan were with Sumedh. They were obviously relieved. Arun smiled and took their leave and said, he would go and sleep quietly today. Just then the bell rang and Narayan opened the door. It was Adil standing in the door. He almost pushed Narayan aside and fell on Sumedh’s lap and started crying like a child. Between sobs he said, “You have become so thin. I don’t have the strength to look at you like this. You get well soon. I want to see you alright.”

Sumedh calmly asked him where he had been all the while and he sobbed again and replied, “I went to my native. I could not face your illness. I do not know how but I called Arun bhai today evening and when I came to know that you are out of the bloody disease, I came here running.” He got up just as fast and left. Dr Narayan sat on the sofa for a while and then quietly said, “Do you know Sumedh, as doctors we automatically learn to keep our emotions in check so that we carry on our duty well. Some people learn to do it and some are not able to.” They stayed awake for a while immersed in their own thoughts and then fell asleep on their respective sofas in the living room.

Explore More in: Short Story

Read More Articles: