“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Mumbai has bee under siege past two weeks. Incessant rains pouring all over Maharashtra and the adjoining areas, flooded roads, all modes of transportation affected, people stranded everywhere. It was during one of these days that I received a call from my cousin brothers wife. He had a major heart attack and was admitted at the hospital in a critical state. Any other day, I would have reached the hospital within an hour but on that fateful day with heavy rains pouring around it took me 7 hours to reach the hospital. With roads blocked the cab guy had to navigate through several routes before I could reach my destination. It was quite tense at the hospital. My cousin is a chief engineer at L&T and was at work like any regular day when a sudden chest pain started and luckily for him since his office was not far away from the hospital his co-workers got him admitted in time. Although the doctors had started with immediate treatment somehow he was not responding very well and his condition was critical. As I entered the waiting area near the ICU I could sense my heart beat faster and I knew all was not well. My cousins wife was weeping uncontrollably. She was paranoid and was pacing around. Her brother and mother were there too but nothing could calm her. Frankly speaking, I am no good too when it comes to hospitals. Infact I hate hospitals and if there is one thing I pray almighty is never should such a situation arise for anyone be it me, my dear ones and even my worst enemy. I still gathered all my courage, if there was one thing my escape from an abusive relationship, the divorce, being a single mom and living alone had taught me that was the will power to push through. So there I was shaking inside but maintaining a calm exterior and speaking to my cousins wife to stay strong and pray. I tried to speak to the specialist doctor and he confirmed that my cousin brother was critical and they were trying their best. I returned back to the waiting area with a fake smile and consoled his wife saying doctors were trying their best, stay calm and pray. I walked towards one of the chairs around the corner near a window and looked up at the sky. Dark clouds with heavy rain were lashing on the window panels. As I watched the rain pour I slipped down memory lane - few years before, a similar dark day in my life sans the rain as I prepared to go to work my ex started his daily dose of abuse. It was something I endured daily during those times when I was too naive to understand why he behaved the way he did. I decided to ignore and started walking towards the door to get out to work, my only escape from the torture. But that day was different. He twisted my arm and started hitting me with his belt. The thrashing continued for a good 10 mins till I fell on the ground. I lay there on the floor with a bruised body, weeping inconsolably. My ex left out feeling satisfied. As I gathered myself up I realised I had nobody of my own, my dad was no more, my mother never wanted me and I had no siblings as well. It was at this time I called up this cousin of mine the only person I spoke too although I never really liked to involve anybody from either my moms or my dads side as nobody actually cared. But this cousin of mine was different. We barely spoke to each other but I knew I could still rely on him. It was 9am that day. With trembling hands I called my workplace stating I was very sick and then sat down to call my cousin. He picked up the call and all I could do was cry. There was no conversation from either end. When I calmed down a little all he said was if you have the guts get your baby just take a flight, come down and don't worry about the rest. There was silence and I just said hmm and disconnected the call. That assurance was all that I needed then. The same day within two hours I was in a flight with my baby at his place and what transpired after that is another story. The same cousin lay battling for his life. What an irony? I looked up at the sky and was fighting with the Almighty, why, why you do this to good people? Why do you do this to people I care about? What do you want from me? What is it that you expect from me? Why? Why? Why? It was getting darker and the responses from the doctor were not all that great too. It was almost midnight. Tense environment everywhere. Heavy rains, floods, chaos. Outside I could see ambulance bringing in more casualties due to accidents caused by the bad weather. I was almost on the verge of tears but preferred to break down elsewhere. I got a cup of coffee for my cousins wife, assuring her of everything being well and walked down. As I walked down the aisle of the ICU the nurse informed me that my cousin was still critical. There was a particular injection which was required and unfortunately the hospital pharmacy had exhausted the stock and the rains had made it difficult to get the supply. However, they were trying other means to procure it. I just couldn't bear it. I was bursting out in tears so I just rushed towards the elevator and got down to the ground floor. There was a prayer hall down and I felt it was the safest place at that point of time. I had so much anger, so much to vent. My cousin had two girls, twins both in 6th grade. My cousins wife was a simpleton. Hailing from a native village her world revolved around her husband and kids. Family was all that she knew. She was not that educated as well. My thoughts were getting clouded by this time. It was almost midnight and as I entered the prayer hall I saw many people, some praying silently, some weeping quietly and praying. I looked for a corner. The place was dimly lit. I finally found a place to sit where I could break down. Tears came rushing down my face. Just couldn't bear it. I was unable to pray. I was too angry with the almighty. I had lost faith. Just didn't trust him anymore. My eyes were all teary and shut and there were questions and sad thoughts running through my head. I felt numb at that moment. Suddenly, I felt a wet hand hold me. It was a young girl in her 20's. She was drenched, her hair and clothes all wet. She was clutching on to a tiny black bag in her hand and was shivering. As I looked up at her she said 'Aunty can you please buy me a tea' I am feeling very cold. For a moment I was stunned and angry as well. Here I was crying and out of the blue this girl asks me for tea ! I was unable to say anything but got up along with her and as we walked out of the door I could see why she was desperate for the tea. She was wet, shivering and probably been that way for a very long time. Barely in a position to speak, she told me her name was Kirti. I didn't query her much then and we went straight to the cafeteria and I ordered a cup of tea and brought a packet of biscuit. As I handed it over to her, I could see she was shivering really bad. Luckily I had carried extra pair of clothes expecting to stay back at the hospital. So I told Kirti to wait for me and rushed back to the ICU floor to get my bag. I went back to the cafeteria and gave her a towel and a dress of mine. She thanked me handed her black bag and went to change. 20 minutes later Kirti arrived. I asked her if she felt better. She just clung on to me crying. I was surprised, astonished, zapped. I was unable to understand anything. Suddenly I was no longer angry nor I had anything to speak to the Almighty. I just sat there calming Kirti all the while. I think it must have been 30-40 minutes when she was able to speak. I came to understand Kirti was alone at the hospital. Her father had been admitted for a heart condition and was in a critical state too. She was the only daughter. Her mother had gone home to get some stuff to stay back at the hospital but the rains must have made it impossible for her to travel back. Her phone was dead and she was unable to make any calls. I gave her my cell phone to call but her mothers number was unreachable. I asked her if there was anybody else I could call but she had no one relatives in Mumbai. I offered to buy her something warm to eat which she refused at first but later accepted. I realised the girl had eaten absolutely nothing. She finished her meal and as we walked out of the cafeteria, Kirti informed me her father was admitted in the ICU as well. Together we walked to the ICU and as Kirti sat down at the waiting area I saw the doctor coming out of my cousins room and informed that the situation was still critical as they were trying to source out the one injection which could probably get him out of the critical state. We spoke about alternatives but since my cousin had some major allergies the medication had been carefully chosen. I walked up to my cousins wife. She had her eyes shut, tired and exhausted. I walked up to Kirti again and asked her whereabouts. Kirti worked as a call centre agent. Her father worked as a clerk at a retail store. Her mother was a housewife. She had no siblings. They had just moved to Mumbai from Kolhapur about 6 months back and lived in a chawl nearby. Her father had been admitted last night when he complained of a chest pain while having dinner. The doctor treating him was the same one who was treating my cousin as well. Kirti told me that she had called her supervisor that night informing him of her fathers situation and had requested the company to assist her with an urgent sum of money to admit her father to the hospital. Later at the hospital, she was asked to get medications for her father. The injection prescribed was very costly. Kirti's mother had decided to sell of her of jewellery to pay for the hospital expenses. Kirti had later called a couple of pharmacies in Mumbai which were located at different areas and finally found one pharmacy at the far end of Mumbai which fortunately had the injection. She had been running around all day and thankfully because of the loan she got from her workplace she was able to purchase the injection. Since the injections and medicines were expensive she had not much left on her except for her travel back to the the hospital and she had not heard back from her mother as well. She had reached the hospital and handed over the injection to the doctors and then had come straight to the prayer hall so she could ask someone for assistance and that was how she found me. My heart went out to the young girl who had endured so much. I just gave her a hug, held her hand and sat along with her. We spoke a bit more and I came to understand that Kirti was a 12 grade topper and she was planning to complete her studies and had aspirations to become an Engineer. The call centre job was to help her save so she could study further. The poor girl was so exhausted that she literally kept her head on my shoulders and within seconds was sleeping. It must have been an hour or so when I saw a couple of nurses and doctors rushing in and out of the ICU. My heart started pounding, I walked up to speak to one of the doctors and all the while bad thoughts were running in my head. The doctor informed me that it was not my cousin but Kirti's father. He had not responded to the medicine and was fading away. He had seen me speaking to her and requested me if I could inform her and accompany her to see her dying father. I stood cold there. I had no clue how to inform this to Kirti. I tried reaching out to her mother but her cell was still out of network coverage. Again my thoughts were directed towards the almighty. Why again me? What pleasure do you get putting me in such a situation? What am I supposed to do? What do you expect from me? Please stop torturing me this way. As I walked towards Kirti my whole body was trembling. Suddenly I felt I couldn't speak. There was this huge lump in my throat. I couldn't sum up words to speak. How or what should I explain or speak to a 20 year old. I slowly sat next to Kirti and woke her up. I hugged her again and slowly whispered her fathers deteriorating condition. She sobbed out loudly and clung to me. Never had I felt so many different emotions at the same time. Sadness, hurt, guilt, pain the list was endless. I held her hand and together we walked towards the bed where her father was. He seemed frail and weak. His eyes were shut. As he lay there breathing his last, I told Kirti to hold her fathers hand and speak to him. I had never seen death this close. There is no explanation to what I felt then. It was a like a huge dark void. A while after that I held on to Kirti and got her out of the room. She was in a state of shock. For a few minutes she seemed like a stone to me but later broke down inconsolable. It was like time stood still for me as well. I had even forgotten about my cousins state then. Finally, I had Kirti call one of her relatives in Kolhapur to inform about the death. Her mothers number was unreacheable and that got me worried too, given the grave situation of the pouring rains. Kirti still clung to me like a child. By the time hospital authorities started their formalities, Kirti had composed herself. I had admiration for the girl who still found the strength to stand up inspite of what fate had thrown at her. She took out her bag and fetched out a couple of injection ampoules. She informed me that perhaps the nurse can administer that to someone in need and save them. I carried the ampoules and approached the doctor. My thoughts were since the injections were expensive and given the situation the hospital pharmacy to buy it and she could get some funds to help pay the bills. I handed over the ampoules to the doctor and he looked at me back in surprise. For a moment he stared at me and the ampoules back and forth. Suddenly he had a smile on his face 'this is the injection we were looking out for to save your cousin' from where did you get this? why did you not give this to me before'. So saying he rushed inside my cousins room and I was left speechless and wondering ! What had just happened? I was not even given an opportunity to explain. My head and mind was dizzy then. Was I supposed to feel happy or sad? I sat outside the ICU waiting for the doctor to get back with a response. Suddenly, I felt some positivity inside me. But I still feared the worst. 45 minutes later the doctor came out smiling. The injection had worked. Although my cousin would be kept under observation for 72 hours it still looked positive. I rushed back to Kirti and told her about the incident. She had tears in her eyes. Her response was God saved another father and his children will be happy to see him back. At that moment I felt so much love and admiration for Kirti. I made up my mind then. I will be the one to take care of her as a sister or guardian whatever she wanted me to be. We were able to reach out to her mother finally and it was a very sad situation when she reached. Two relatives had also arrived from Kolhapur. Kirti informed me that her mother had sold the jewellery and got the money but now everything had changed. The formalities completed I took Kirti's contact details, gave her my number and asked her to call me whenever she needed anything. I transferred the cost of the injections to her account. I was unable to attend the funeral but have been in touch with Kirti. Today is the 15th day at the hospital. My cousin is out of danger after a surgery and recovering. I informed him last evening of the events and how the injections he desperately needed reached him miraculously. Today morning we saw clear clouds and the first rays of the sun after a long dark spate of rains. My cousin called up Kirti and spoke to her. He will be supporting her education and also get her a job at his place of work so she can get better benefits. All her debts will be paid and she will have a better life. As for me, I have finally found myself a younger sister. An extended family. And GOD there is so much to look forward too Today while praying I felt this strange peace inside me, I kept relating to the events of that day, how everything transpired. I felt the almighty wink at me with a smile and asking me 'So Sandy, do you finally see the purpose of your life on this earth' Some connections cannot be explained off words alone. Its a soul thing, a feel. As the saying goes "We don't meet people by accident, they are meant to cross our path for a reason"