56 In Quest of the Last Victory
in most cases. The survival rate for people with my kind of injury
was extremely low. I couldn’t scratch my nose if I wanted to. I tried
drinking liquid by a straw that was put in my mouth but it was
horribly difﬁ cult to swallow the liquid. The ﬁ rst time I tried drinking
water I choked badly. It took me a long time of thumping by the
doctors to get my breath back. I didn’t try to drink again for two to
Eating was out of the question. While I could chew something soft
I couldn’t swallow it and it had to be taken out of my mouth. I don’t
remember getting any sleep. Day after day after day, I lay there awake.
It was very difﬁ cult to kill the time when I was alone and especially
at night as I lay there. I tried re-living every moment of my life. I ran
the routes, I trekked the hills, I did my physical exercise routines and
I went over the likeable and unlikeable incidents of my life. I went
over the cherished moments and the horribly painful and humiliating
memories. The falling in love when I was fourteen and it lasting over
the years despite negligible contact with her ... I wondered what she
would be doing now. I wondered whether she would ever come to
know what fate I had met. I had planned to go to her once my training
was over. I re-lived all my memories.
One day I was looking at the ceiling when a spider caught my
attention. It was making its web, thread after thread diligently, never
even stopping for a break. I took a liking to watching the spider
work tirelessly. The spider became a friend for me in that room.
It was always there. Every other day the spider web would be wiped
off by the cleaning staff of the hospital and every time the spider
would start again. The spider and I were ﬁ ghting a similar battle. It
was a battle of survival against repeated setbacks, every time starting
from a scratch.
A red sign by my bed said DIL in big and bold capitals. Although the
word would have meant ‘heart’ in Hindi, it stood for ‘Dangerously