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Simmi silently waited while Pranav checked Arpit. He had a briefcase filled with various injections, medicines and some tools. Simmi was never interested in science and so didn’t know what those tools were except for stethoscope. She straightened up from the wall when Pranav got up after checking Arpit on the floor. Looking at Pranav’s grim expressions, Simmi started feeling sick. Maybe Arpit had some fatal disease and he needed to be hospitalized immediately.
“He needs to be hospitalized.” Confirming Simmi’s worst fears, Pranav continued, “It seems he’s drugged. Either he’s having reaction to some medicines or he’s high. I can’t tell for sure what it is unless he gets tested but I can bet it’s the latter. Was he this thin from the beginning or did he lose weight recently?”
“No. He was bit muscular when I saw him few weeks back.” Simmi still had problem comprehending that this skeleton was the same Arpit who had muscular shoulders just the last time she had met him.
“Drug addict normally lose lot of weight suddenly. Do you know his food habits? And who’s there in his family? They need to be informed immediately.”
Simmi was absolutely speechless. She didn’t have answers to any of the questions. She looked over Kajal helplessly.
Giving a deep sigh of resignation, Kajal walked over to Simmi and put her arms around her. After hearing about drugs, Kajal too was getting frightened for Arpit. “But Pranav, aren’t drugs illegal? What will happen to him if he gets tested positive?”
Pranav too wasn’t sure what exactly will happen to Arpit in the event of positive drug testing. He had never handled such cases before.
“I don’t know, Kajal, but I presume police will be involved. He even may land behind the bars.”
Simmi didn’t want Arpit to go to jail. “Can’t we do anything without involving the police?” Simmi asked Pranav tearfully.
“I’m afraid not because hospital authorities will inform the police and I can’t stop that. Kajal, I generally don’t this for anyone but seeing your friends in trouble, I have one alternative. Do you have an empty room somewhere? We can take Arpit over there and treat him. That way, police won’t be involved. However, there’s also a danger of Arpit dying. What if it’s not drugs but medication reaction? Another thing, if it indeed is drugs as I suspect, isn’t it better that he goes to jail? At least that way his family will come to know about his problem and he will get proper treatment.”
Simmi knew what Pranav was saying made sense. Although she would hate to see Arpit in a cell, it will be beneficial to him in the long run if he’s indeed turning into a drug addict.
“I think Pranav is right. We should take Arpit to hospital than anywhere else.” Kajal and Simmi both were on the same track.
Nodding her head, Simmi asked Kajal to call ambulance and take Arpit to the hospital while she started toward the college office to get contact details of Arpit’s family.
Arpit’s father, Darpan, was with Arpit in the hospital. Arpit had lost his mother when he was six and he was brought up single-handedly by his father. Simmi didn’t know how to comfort his father when he broke down after Arpit’s positive drug test. It was 2 days after the incident in the college and Arpit was still hallucinating. He still thought he was kidnapped by gangsters and was held in a rotten cell. Every now and then he would try to run but due to extreme weakness in the body, he wasn’t able to do it. The staff had tied him to the hospital bed to prevent him from running. Yesterday, the police had visited them. Before Darpan uncle got down on his knees, the police were reluctant to let Arpit remain in the hospital. They wanted him jailed immediately due to upcoming elections. They wanted to impress public and politicians with their prompt actions. Arpit would be taken to the jail once the hospital lets him go.
On one hand Simmi was frightened and on the other, she was spitting angry with Arpit. How could he do this to himself? Didn’t he have enough respect for his body? And what about his father? He never thought what his father will go through if he comes to know about this?
Simmi was visiting the hospital regularly. Not because she was worried about Arpit. She was more concerned about Darpan uncle. On the first day, Darpan uncle was completely shocked. Slowly and gradually, she came to know about Arpit’s history. Although Darpan uncle worked long hours as an accountant in a MNC company, he always made sure he had morning breakfast with Arpit. But it seemed Arpit wasn’t interested in bonding with his father. Most of the times, Darpan uncle had to drag him to the breakfast table, and still he wouldn’t eat. Thinking he was going through some rebellious phase, Darpan uncle had shrugged off Arpit’s attitude. And now he was bitterly regretting for not being strict with him.
“I always had faith in Arpit’s decisions. I thought he was a quiet and sincere boy who will find his own way one day. Oh God, how wrong was I! It’s me who’s responsible for this day. I should have forced him to behave,” Darpan uncle told Simmi in despair. He was constantly sobbing since last two days.
Simmi didn’t know how to comfort Darpan uncle. She just sat with him and listened to him. Sometimes she too would start crying when Darpan uncle refused to eat. Suddenly they heard a nurse yelling to another nurse. “Patient number 156 has cut his wrist and he’s losing blood fast.”
Arpit was 156. Simmi lost all the color and Darpan uncle went still. They were sitting like statues in the middle of chaos. Chaos of nurses and doctors running around to save Arpit’s life.