Monday, March 28, 2011

A little less strong and successful, perhaps!

Kiran was successful. She was a role model to most who knew her. Good looking, charming, lovely voice, endearing demeanour, drove a great car, lived in a magnificent apartment, in a happening locality. She had a beautiful foursome family. Her neighbours and friends were in awe of her success, genuinely. She enjoyed vacations twice a year in the most exquisite locales around the world. She was an outstanding performer at work and also went around assisting and inspiring her co-workers to do more and be strong and courageous. She had risen in the corporate ranks speedily and today headed two of its most prosperous business units that she had managed to turnaround from the brink of certain closure. Despite her busy schedule, she always found time for her family, friends and pursued her passion for singing, golf and teaching vigorously. At the age of 39, Kiran was perhaps very strong and successful, by any standard.


- There had been a murder in her neighbourhood that she alone had inadvertently witnessed. A fact, no one was aware of, except the murderers who had seen her see them at the crime scene, as she got away

- A handsome young fellow from a competing organization had apparently been flirting with her, attracting her attention, despite her conscious attempts to focus on her work and ignore him

- Her annual health check up had reported an abnormal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, that she had been advised to consult her doctor.

Nothing unusual for Kiran, though. She was a successful person and had managed situations worse than these, in the past. For example, while in school, she had once sustained a nasty injury to her legs and forehead, due to a fall down the stairs, while rushing out in celebration of her outstanding results. She was hospitalized for about a week, underwent a minor surgical procedure, only to emerge stronger from that painful experience. In college she had survived a violent scuffle with a college rowdy during the elections to the university senate, for which she had been nominated and eventually won. Later on in life, she unexpectedly found love in her post graduation management institute campus. This blissful period lasted for about two years, until he left her for his new found love, elsewhere. This heart breaking separation was followed by two other incidents in quick succession in the form of the death of her mother and then her father, all in a span of nine months. She was shattered but did not allow herself to be broken completely. Within, a month, even the best of her friends felt, as if nothing traumatic had happened in this pretty young woman’s life. What strength and courage! In another two years, when she turned twenty-nine, she had got herself engaged to a successful businessman whom she had met during the course of her professional pursuits, got married within a year and gave birth to two lovely little children in the next three years, normally. It turned out to be one happy marriage for this happy couple. Her career graph too continued to soar positively, exponentially.

Kiran was on the brink of a big promotion, coming up in another six months time. She was in a hurry, as usual; to get these three hurdles out of her way quickly, to stay focussed and make this promotion happen. She was intelligent and hence decided to prioritise tackling the health challenge first. A visit to her family physician resulted in a general advice about the need to slow down and taking things a bit easy. She obviously took the advice lightly. She was also advised regular exercise, a visit to the dietician and doing her annual health check-up regularly from here-on, now that she was on the brink of her forties. No real alarming cause for concern, she thought. The visit to the dietician was conveniently forgotten. A month or two of light exercise and self managed diet control regime slowly eased itself back naturally, to her usual hectic corporate routine. She however kept monitoring her blood pressure regularly and also managed to squeeze in her early morning jog on the beach – something she really loved, infrequently. It all seemed healthy and under control.

Kiran had hired a detective agency under strict oath of absolute confidentiality, to get rid of the murderer’s who had been apparently pursuing her. Her mandate to the agency was to get rid of the menace, by hook or by crook, with minimal waves. Aside, she also devised a special ‘play ball’ strategy with the intent of extracting sensitive competition information, from that ‘stupid Romeo’. She thought, this would help her seal the big promotion expected in the coming months. However, it was kept on hold for an opportune moment. Kiran herself was strong enough to make sure that none of her family or professional colleagues got any wind about any of these three hurdles, or her plans to overcome them. She was absolutely sure of tackling all of them independently, as usual.

And then, that fateful day dawned. The alarm rang at 05:30 am, in the midst of a hot summer season. Kiran was quickly up from her bed, turned on her computer and checked her phone. She had a habit of keeping her phone in the silent mode at night, so that she could catch some good quality sleep. The phone had three missed calls from Danny around 0315 hrs and another one from an unfamiliar number at @ 5:00am. Danny was her closest associate and confidant, in her organization; senior to her by about ten years but not in her line of sight up the corporate hierarchy. Danny was close to Kiran, a well wisher who fed her with inside information or validated anything else that she wished to, discretely. She had known Danny now for over ten years and trusted him completely. This was however the first time that Danny had tried to reach her, at such early hours. As she hurried through her early morning routine, she tried to reach both Danny as well as that unfamiliar number a couple of times. Both kept ringing without anyone answering back. She was concerned, and a bit unduly hassled. She finished her cup of tea, browsing through all the eMails and there were just six that fell in the urgent and important category, something she had the entire day to address.

As she jogged along the beach that early morning, her thoughts kept racing ahead of her. Why was Danny calling her in the middle of the night? Who could be that unfamiliar number, belong to? Was there any link between these unusual calls and the murderers or that crazy “Romeo”? It was about five minutes until another jogger discovered her lying on the beach, bleeding. She seemed to have stumbled and hurt herself on a rusty railing, during her fall. However she was soon gasping for breath, frothing in her mouth and lapsed into a state of unconsciousness. It was close to 7am. She was fortunate that strangers got her admitted to a nearby prestigious hospital. She was unconscious, but alive in the last hour at the intensive care unit, before her husband and children got to know from the police and rushed to the hospital.

A couple of tense hours later, her husband warmly hugged the tense children, controlling his tears, and asked them to go back home with their house-maid and not worry about their mother. The children were reluctant but eventually went home with the maid. A day later, Kiran had not yet regained consciousness. Everyone who knew Kiran, was worried and there to assist. The doctors suggested that the next forty-eight hours were crucial and it was important that Kiran regained consciousness; else the chances of her slipping into coma were pretty high.

The police did their usual enquiries with her husband, the maid and people from her apartment, the strangers who had got her to the hospital and her professional colleagues too. None of them seemed to have any information whatsoever that could provide any clue to unravel the events of that fateful morning. They had even checked with Danny about his frantic calls to Kiran early that day. Danny’s wife had been seriously ill that night and being close to Kiran as well as her family, Danny had in desperation called, wanting to seek help from Kiran. However, since Kiran did not answer the phone, he had subsequently been able to contact his niece. His niece, who lived three miles away from Danny, had come over to his house, as a support to Danny and his ill wife. In the best of everyone’s interest, they had all driven down to his niece’s house, where there were more in the family to attend to Danny’s wife. However, in that hurry, Danny had forgotten to carry his hand phone with him.
The other call that Kiran had received was traced to a lady living over twenty miles away. It was concluded that she had dialled Kiran’s number by mistake, realized it and had subsequently called her daily morning milk supplier, whose number differed from Kiran, only in its last digit. Later, she had not bothered to answer back when Kiran had tried reaching her. There was simply nothing else that anyone knew, that could be of any assistance to the investigators.

Forty-eight hours went by, clueless, without any progress. The clock was ticking by and hope seemed to be diminishing with every tick. Now, it could only be Kiran, who could probably throw some light on the mystery, and the light of her life seemed to be dimming away into coma – a situation that could leave everyone in the dark, about what really happened. To her husband, it seemed ironical that her name Kiran meant “a ray of light”; probably now his only hope.

It was now well over seventy hours since Kiran had been unconscious. Desperation seemed to be on the verge of exploding into an anger riot within, in complete contrast to the calm and serenity on Kiran’s fragile face. And then the phone rang. It was Kiran’s phone that rang and her husband answered the phone. The caller at the other end seemed to be a frail old voice, desperately wanting to speak only to Kiran, and no one else; despite being informed about the circumstances of the person being temporarily unavailable. And then the phone disconnected, never to answer again, despite several attempts by Kiran’s husband. The police traced the call to an old-age remand home. It belonged to the supervisor there and he seemed to have approached Kiran for some donation that she had agreed to make, on behalf of her organization, that fateful day. Desperation turned into anger, frustration, despair and depression. It was now well past the seventy-two hours and Kiran was unmoved.

Kiran died after three more days at the hospital, unsuccessful this one time in her life, leaving behind a shattered family and a long list of shocked well-wishers. Most were wondering now as to what happened?

While it was true that Kiran had been a witness to the murder in her neighbourhood, she was not aware of who exactly had been killed. And this had not been a high profile murder to gather any publicity. While the murderer’s were aware of Kiran being a witness to their crime, they had over a period of time also realized that Kiran had not been hurting their cause by reporting anything to the police or making any visible noise about being a witness. While they had been chasing her for a while, they had given up that chase eventually, realizing the futility of pursuing a harmless witness and not wanting to create another situation. The detective agency meanwhile, got to know about this as well, but kept this fact to themselves, in the interest of their continued services being provided to Kiran. And the “Romeo” from competition turned out to be someone who looked up to Kiran as a role model, and hence was more in awe of her, rather than in pursuit of any romantic misdemeanours. Kiran never really executed her plan and strategy of using this “Romeo, to her advantage.

The cloud of success that Kiran had been riding on for all these years seemed to have gathered so much water in them that perhaps, they simply burst that fateful morning. In her several successful pursuits, Kiran perhaps had made a fatal mistake of not prioritizing her health pursuit, adequately. Over the years, something more important and urgent always seemed to come in her way of being able to allocate a little time for her health. It happened in her childhood when she had hurried back to good health, not giving enough time for her body to heal and recovered back from her stitches, quickly. She even hurried through her life without spending much time, either mourning her parent’s death or her broken love. She made a resolve to be strong, so strong physically and mentally, that she would not allow anything to shake her. Over the years, this resolve became a reality – perhaps a deadly habit, as she grew from strength to strength, in her successful journey of success, until that fateful day.

The post-mortem report revealed that the cause of her death had been due to a massive stroke she had suffered that day. Perhaps, she had ignored the excessive sweating, attributing it to her jogging in a hot and humid weather. Perhaps she had been unfair, in trying to be too strong and keeping to herself, the bother of the murderers and the Romeo, as well as the results of her health check-up. Perhaps, her strength had acquired forms of extreme, in-human rigidity. Perhaps, her husband, children and friends could have gleefully given her a shoulder to relax on, had she shared a few more valuable moments of life with them. Perhaps, things would have been different, had she not been rather excessively strong in her childhood, or later in her youth or even as late as recently. Perhaps she could have afforded being a little weak, fragile a little less successful but happier. Perhaps, she had not worn the facade of unreal strength continually. Perhaps she had fallen and failed a few more times and grown a bit wiser. Perhaps she could have lived a more meaningful, complete and worthy life, not only for herself but her family and well-wishers as well. Perhaps, she had been a little less strong and successful. Perhaps!

1 comment:

  1. The price Kiran had to pay for success.But why restrict it to Kiran--in our daily lives there are thousands of Kirans and they are not aware of the price.