My thoughts were so focused on my biochemistry book that I almost didn’t hear my mobile phone ringing. My 14-year-old sister, Tayyaba was on the line. It appeared as though she were in a busy area because it was difficult for me to make out what she was saying. Only after she raised her voice did I understand that our mother was in the hospital and might require an emergent surgery. Without a moment’s hesitation, I told her I would be there as soon as I can.
My village was approximately three hours by road from Lahore, the city where my college was located. I could either travel by train or go in a bus. As I hurriedly threw some clothes in a bag, I made up my mind to go by bus. The ticket would cost less and I didn’t have much money at the moment. One of my friends, Salman dropped me off at the nearest bus station and soon I found myself on a rumbling ride back home.
Roads and trees and people flashed by in a steady stream amid the noisy clatter of the passengers on board. I silently cursed the bus for moving so slowly even though the bus driver may actually have been driving a little above the speed limit. Thoughts of my widowed mother flooded my mind. Through all these years, she had always ensured that her children received the best she could give them. She had never complained about the way her life had turned out despite all the difficulties she had faced alone. My insides churned at the thought of her bearing more pain.
After three gruesome hours, I finally reached my village. Hailing a taxi, I headed straight to the hospital. Tayyaba had called to let me know that our mother was being taken for an operation. With worry gnawing at me, I rushed toward the waiting room where I found an ashen Tayyaba being consoled by our neighbours. Immensely relieved to see me, my sister hurriedly recounted what had happened up till now. So far it had been an hour into the surgery when we were told it would most probably take another hour or so.
The next hour seemed to drag by as I silently prayed for my mother. Tayyaba was also silently praying but her eyes were fixed on the door to the operation room. I tried not to think about the worst but I knew both of us would fall apart if anything happened to our mother. After what seemed an eternity of waiting a grim faced doctor finally emerged. A million thoughts went through my mind as I got up from a dilapidated sofa that had borne my weight since the last hour.
“Congratulations, the operation was successful…Mrs Rafiq has been shifted to the recovery room”