(This is the tenth part of a short story - Love takes courage) That evening at Pooja's home, Pooja narrated to her parents and an aunt very close to the family about what Rohan had said to her that day and everything that happened after that.
Pooja's father told her, "Pooja, we know how much you love Rohan. You are intelligent enough to understand what has happened to him and what his future is. Honestly, this decision is entirely yours. We can advise you all we want but you are the person in the middle of this. You know best what is good for you. Let me tell you that if you choose to stay with Rohan, life is not going to be simple. Kidney disease is a lifelong illness. Even if he gets a transplant, no one can say for sure how long it will last. I looked up the internet and read up a lot about this. You must have done that as well. Take whatever decision you want keeping in mind the reality. We will obviously support you whatever you decide."
Pooja's aunt said to her, "Pooja, you are pretty, intelligent and have good job. Don't sacrifice your life for a boy you have known for hardly a few years. You will find many other much better boys. Right now you are in a confused state of mind. Mohan, let us send her to the US for a few months. Once she goes there, she can think peacefully and objectively. These kinds of decisions should never be taken with a clouded mind. And imagine the best part of the situation - you have not yet got married. Just think what would have happened if you had got married and this would have happened?"
Pooja was irritated. She asked her aunt, "Aunty, let us say, we would have been married and this would have happened. Would you have advised me to leave Rohan?"
"Of course not! But now you are not married! It is very different!"
"No, it is not. Marriage is a ritual which formalizes what two minds have already decided. It is mainly for society's consumption."
"Pooja, you must be -"
Pooja's mother interrupted her aunt.
"Di, it is Pooja's decision. I agree with Mohan totally. Let her think about it. We must not put pressure. She is grown up, intelligent and mature enough to decide this. We are always there to give her advice and support. But at the end of day, Pooja, whatever you decide, we are totally with you."
Pooja smiled and went into her room.
The next morning Pooja came to the hospital room. Rohan and she were alone. She locked the room from inside and came towards Rohan's bed, caught his T-shirt collar and said very seriously, "Mr. Rohan Karmarkar, we are in this fight together. I will never leave you. Transplant or no transplant. Dialysis or whatever. I will never leave you. So, please drop all your plans of eloping with one of the nurses that sponges you every morning. Because you're stuck with me! For life!"
She put her hand around his head and pulled his face close to her's and kissed his lips passionately. Rohan reciprocated.
After a while she got onto the bed and lay next to Rohan with her head on his shoulder.
Rohan was soon discharged from the hospital. They had completed all the formalities of registering for a cadaveric kidney. He would now have to be on a regimen of thrice weekly hemodialysis at the hospital. This would be until they had a matching kidney from a cadaveric donor. Rohan asked for the late evening shift as that would cause minimal disruption to the rest of his family and Pooja's work schedule. Pooja had already taken many days off from work and it was important that she got back to work as quickly as possible.
Pooja would arrive at around 5 and they would reach the hospital by around 5:30 and Rohan would get onto the machine by 6. The session would go on for four hours during which Pooja would do her office work. Her boss gave her that flexibility, something she was very thankful for.