The Magician [06 | the Ordeal Begins]

[PAGE: 06]

    Dr. Mantra hesitated. “It’s impossible to be absolutely certain,
of course, but in our opinion, his nervous system has been too badly damaged for therapy to have any appreciable effect.”

    “But you don’t know for sure.”

    “No. . . ”

    But Juhi knew. . .

    In addition to the three nurses who attended Aryan round the clock, Juhi arranged for a physiotherapist to come to the house every morning to work with Aryan.

    The therapist carried Aryan into the pool and held him in his arms, gently stretching his muscles and tendons, while Aryan feebly tried to kick his legs and move his arms about in the warm water.

    There was no progress.

    On the fourth week, a speech therapist was brought in. She spent one hour every after noon trying to help Aryan learn to speak again, to form the sounds of words.

    After two months, Juhi could see no change.

    None at all.

    She sent for Dr. Mantra.
“You’ve got to do something to help him.” she demanded.
“You can’t leave him like this.”

    He looked at Juhi helplessly. “I am so sorry, Juhi.” I tried to tell you…”

Juhi sat in the library, alone, long after Dr. Mantra had gone. She could feel one of the worse head aches beginning, but there was no time to think of herself now. She went upstairs.

Aryan was propped up in bed, staring at nothing ness. As Juhi walked up to him, Aryan’s deep black eyes lit up. They followed Juhi, bright and alive, as she approached his bed and looked down at him. His lips moved and some unintelligent sound came out.

… Tears of frustation began to fill his eyes. Juhi remembered Dr. Mantra’s words, …”its important to understand that his mind is not impaired in anyway” … Juhi sat down on the edge of bed.

“ARYAN, listen to me. You are going to get out of that bed. You’re going to talk and you’re going to walk.”

The tears were running down the sides of his cheeks now. “You’re going to do it,” Juhi said. You’re going to do it for me.”

The following morning, Juhi fired the nurses and both therapists. And, disconnected her from the rest of the world.

The ordeal began.

Juhi was going to do what the doctors had assured her could not be done. She had become nurse, physio, speech therapist for Aryan.

But what happened now was different. Where the therapist had been gentle and coaxing, Juhi was stern and unrelenting. When Aryan tried to speak, signifying that he tired and could not bear any more, Juhi said, ‘You are not through. One more time dear. For me.’ And she would force him to do it one time. And yet again, until he sat mutely crying with exhaustion. In the afternoon, Juhi set to work to teach Aryan to speak again. ‘Ooh . . .ooooooh.’ ‘Ahaaaahh. . .aaag’ ‘No! Oooh. Round your lips, Aryan.’ Make them obey you. Oooh…’ ‘Aaaaaagh…’ ‘No, goddamn you! You’re gonna speak! Now say it- Oooooh!’ And he would try again. Juhi would feed him each night, and lie in his bed, holding him in her arms. ‘I want u to love me Aryan.’ He looked her with those alive, bright eyes and made incoherent, whimpering sounds. ‘Soon, Aryan, soon.’

Juhi was tireless.

She discharged the servents because she did not want anyone around. She would cook herself, order groceries on phone and never left the house.

In the beginning, Juhi had been kept busy answering the telephone, but the calls had soon dwindled to a trickle, then ceased.

Newscasters had stopped giving bulletins on Aryan’s condition.

The world knew that he was dying. It was just a matter of time.

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to be cont’d. . .