Avinash stepped out of the pavements and started to cross the road. The horn, screech of wheels and the sudden swerve of the car came just a second too late, and he was thrown away into the middle of the road, with a pool of blood under him. Everyone thought that he should have been dead.
“Oh, my God, is he alright? Is he..?” cried a young and beautiful girl, who was driving that car that knocked him off his feet.
“Can’t tell?” said a stranger.
“Somebody please get him into my car, in the back seat and I will take him to the hospital…Please….” She cried
They picked up his limp body and laid him down on the back seat of her car and closed the door. She thanked them got into the car and was about to slam her feet on the accelerator.
“Ma’am, I think this belongs to him” Said a stranger, handing her a file. Which she placed next to her seat.
“Thank you,” She said, slamming her foot on the accelerator and driving as fast as she could and raced towards the hospital. Finally, she reached the hospital. He was taken into the ICU. The doctor examined his body. When he came back.
“Any hope?” She asked.
“Can’t say? He has fractured his leg; the loss of the blood is the problem. Because, we do not have his blood group in the blood bank of our hospital and if we don’t get it in the next half an hour or so then he will surely die.” The doctor replied.
“What’s his blood group, doctor?” She asked.
“Mine is A+ too. You can take my blood” She said.
“Good, then follow me.” The doctor said
Later, Priya came out of the hospital and got into her car. She saw the file. ‘The Whispering Willow’- A collection of short stories by Avinash’
“God, please let him live…please ..” She prayed, starting the engine of her car.
When Avinash opened his eyes, he felt awful. He blinked his eyes, looking at the ceiling. Images seemed to be blurred. He blinked again; it took him sometime before he could clearly see anything.
He was lying in a bed in a strange place that seemed like a hospital. His left leg was covered with plaster and was raised high in the air, suspended to a pulley; he wiggled his toes of his right leg. They seemed to be fine. Then he began to move his arms. Just then a nurse came to his bedside.
“Hi! Mr. Avinash, welcome back to this world” She said.
“How long have I been like this?” He asked, looking at her.
“Three days.” she replied, keeping the thermometer in his mouth and checking his pulse rate.
“Good, you’re making very nice recovery.” She moved on to the next bed. He looked out of the window, opposite to him.
Avinash’s short stories had appeared in the children’s magazines during his schooldays and then in newspapers. When he grew up, he had a dream to become one of the best story tellers of his time. He had joined a book publishing house as an assistant editor, hoping that they might help him in getting his collection of short stories published. Amar Jyothi Book House, where he worked was owned by Mrs. Anupama, a widow in her late thirties.
One evening, she offered to give him a lift in her car. Though he hesitated at first. Finally, he agreed and got into the car, next to her seat.
“Mr.Avinash, do you like reading?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am. Why?” He asked her.
“Just call me Anupama or Anu. I just asked you because, I had seen you going through Jeffrey Archer’s Collected Short Stories so.” She said.
“Yes, Ma’am..He is one of the greatest story tellers of our age” He replied. Agreed. But, do you only read or do something else apart from that?” She asked, looking at him.
“Well, I write short stories too.” He said.
“Really? I didn’t know that!” She said, “It’s exceptionally very good. By the way, give me some to read. Let me see if you really have the talent” she said, changing the gear.
“I will.” he said, turning and looking at her.
“If your stories are really good then maybe I would consider publishing your first collection of stories.” She said
“Oh, That’s really very nice of you, Anu. ” He said.
“Well, met me at 7’o clock tomorrow evening in the office with your collection of short stories” She said.
Next evening at 7, stepped out of the pavements and started to cross the road. The horn, screech of wheels and the sudden swerve of the car…..
“Mr.Avinash, you have a visitor. I think you should see her for she is the reason for you to be alive today. Hadn’t she brought here in time and given her blood to you then it would’ve been a different story altogether.” The nurse said “Would you like to meet her?”
“Of course, what do you expect me to say. Send her in please.” He said.
“Ok, I will send her in.” She said, going away.
He looked eagerly towards the door for her to come.
“So, how are you doing?” Priya asked, coming and sitting on the stool, next to the bed.
“Fine, thanks for saving my life.” He said.
“No, please don’t thank me. Infact, I am the reason for this” She said, pointing her finger at his body, “Well, I couldn’t sleep well for the past three nights. I was always thinking and praying that you should get well. If at all something had happened to you then I don’t know what would’ve happened to me.” She said.
“Nice to know that suddenly I have become the center of your attraction” He said, smiling at her.
“Not just me. But, everyone else too.” She said.
“I didn’t get you?” He said. Well, your first collection of short stories ‘The Whispering Willow’ got published. Believe me; all the copies got sold within one day of its release. Now, it is out of stock in the book stores. All the newspapers had your picture and the critics have acknowledged that you do have talent to be a great writer.” She said, handing him a copy of the book.
He took it and stared at the cover page for a while and as he turned the pages, drops of tears twinkled in his eyes and fell down. She caught hold of them in the palm of her hand.
“Thank you. Thank you, very much. I just don’t have any more words to express my inner feelings of gratitude for what you have done for me” He said “I don’t know how I am going to repay this?”
“No mention. I have already got my reward by this.” She said, showing him the drop of tears to him, “Actually I did nothing. I just happened to read your collection of short stories. I liked most of the stories and I tried to get them published and succeeded.”
“Your stories are so nice, especially the twists and turns in the end. ‘A Plan for a Murder’; in which the husband plans to kill his wife to unite with his lover. But, ends up killing his lover in the end, was great.” she said.
“Yes.” He said.
“In the story ‘Into the dark of the night’; two couple meet with an accident and reach a house
that seems to be haunted. But, what they don’t realize is that they are dead and ghosts, was excellent.” She said.
“Thank you.” He said.
“But, one story ‘The Lost Friend’ seemed to be based on a real story” She said.
“Yes, it is based on a true incident from my childhood days.” He said.
“Did you ever come across her again?” She asked him.
“Unfortunately no.” He said.
“I think now you have.” She said, “I am Priya Sarma, who was studying with you in your school days.” She said, extending her hand to him.
“Really? What a surprise!” He exclaimed, shaking her hand, “Today I am really very happy and pleased.” The door bell rang. Sangeetha kept the pen down on the sheets of paper, on which she was writing something. She went to answer the door. She found Priya standing outside the door. She welcomed her inside.
“What are you doing Sangeethu?” She asked.
“Well, just writing one of my stories, that’s all!” She said.
“What’s the title of the story?” Priya asked.
“A Little Bit of Luck” She replied.
“Nice title.” She said “What’s it about?”
She explained the story to her. Priya listened to her with much interest. Then suddenly she interrupted her.
“Hey! All this had happened to me and Avinash” She said.
“You mean that short story writer, who became famous overnight?” She asked surprised.
“Oh, so, you know him, isn’t it?” She asked.
“Can you help me to meet him once? I’ve read all of his stories and I just love them all. I just want to meet him in person.” She said.
“Sure. But, do tell me what happens in the climax of your this story?” Priya asked, curiously.
“I’m yet to write the climax of this story.” Sangeetha said, “I am thinking whether to include a sad or a happy ending.”
“If you include a sad ending then I’m going to kill you. Just kidding” Priya said, “Sangeethu, whatever you had written has happened to me or may be it’s just a coincidence. Even then I would like to have a happy ending in your this story. So let her marry him and live happily ever after.”
“Let me think about it. You should bribe me for that.” She said, teasingly.
“How about tomorrow? You can meet him at Malgudi at 7 pm.” Priya said, smiling at her.