It’s 11 pm when Shaheen’s phone rang. Shaheen got up half asleep and took the phone in her hand only to face penetrating screen light. It was Malini ma’am. With flickering eyes Shaheen stared at the phone thinking if she should pick up the call or not.
“Pick up the call, girl. She is the only person who calls you”, said a voice inside her. She calls it her “inside”.
She tapped on the green icon.
“Ma’am, aren’t you asleep? “, said Shaheen in a husky voice.
“Well, I am but I am also a somniloquist”
“You are som… You are what? “
“I am a sleep talker”
“Dude, why me? You have a husband irritate him, please”
“Dudet, I am in the hospital. Why are you asleep by the way? It’s only 11”
“I don’t have a job anymore, remember? Anyway, I am trying to fix my sleep cycle”
“Okay. And you of course had your dinner, didn’t you? “
“Actually, no. Asif ate away my share of food. Anyway, what are you doing? “
“So, basically Asif had your dinner. Hmm so much love”, Malini ma’am giggled. “I am sitting in my cabinet, I had 5 operations to do today. Many doctors are busy with COVID19 patients. So, we have to shift workloads.”
“So, you are free now? “
“Not really. I have one more operation to do at 11:33. So, I thought I can call you. I forgot to call you back yesterday”
“33 again, great!”, said Shaheen in a monotonous voice. “Anyway, I had called you to ask why did you gave my number to that guy? You know I don’t like….”
“Oh God that guy. Good that you reminded me. That’s Mr. Alif Shaikh”, interrupted Malini ma’am. “He is the son of Mr. Shaukat Shaikh”
“Okay. I know and they are kind of rich”
“Rich? I guess they are richer than what your tone just suggested “
“Come to the point, will you? “
“Oh, I am sorry. I am sorry I gave him your number without your consent because number one I was in a hurry I was getting late for the operation and number two they are good people they just wanted to thank you….”
“In-a-better-manner”, Shaheen interrupted.
“Dude, they are rich. I don’t know what to ask for? Any ideas? Like it’s not that I readily accepted it, it’s just that they were insisting “
“I don’t know may be a car or something. And you know what? They promised to finance the education of that auto driver’s kid.They are so generous”
“Ugh! Auto-rikshaw driver. It created all the misunderstanding “
“Why? What happen?”
” I mistook Alif for the driver”, said Shaheen in a low tone.
“You, what? ” , Malini ma’am laughed out loud.
“You are gonna let the whole hospital know about it, don’t you?”,Whispered Shaheen grumpily
“No, ma’am. No. Uh. I am sorry”, Malini ma’am giggled.
“Yes and I also told his mother that they don’t need to thank me and I can help them raise some funds if they need”, sighed Shaheen.
” I can only imagine what you must have sounded to her”
“Dumb. I must have sounded dumb”
“Yeah, pretty dumb”
“Shall I ask you something? “
” As if you won’t if I say no”
“Why do you sound like you know these people? “
“Because I know. Like, not personally but I know things about them since I was there in H-city for my medical studies “
“Oh. What kind of people are they? “
“They have some business of gold in Dubai. I think they have showrooms of gold jewelry there. And they are really famous for there charity and helping nature. It’s been 22 years now. When I was in my first year Mr. Alif’s parents were a newly married couple. They sent food to every orphanage in the city on their wedding day. I got to know from my friends who were localites that Mr. Shaukat Shaikh would help anyone who asks for it no matter how poor or rich the person was. Mr. Shaukat’s parents and his brother used to live in Dubai back then and for some reason he decided to stay here in the country…”
“Wait, wait. Too much information. And how do you know so much? “, Shaheen interrupted.
“I guess back then in the city everyone knew these things. They had that good reputation and I guess today people respect them in the same way”
“Oh. Rich and kind, rare combination. I must admit that lady, Alif’s mom was really kind to me. She didn’t get offended when I said those things to her instead she was trying to calm me down and make me feel less embarrassed. Now, I have decided I won’t call them back”
” Why? “
“They are richer than I thought. What if they think I am a gold digger? I don’t want to sound desperate for money or anything “
” But they are good people. I know they genuinely want to thank you. But it’s your decision”
“Hmm. I won’t call. They are good people I don’t want to bother them”
“Bother? How? Like how would they be bothered? “
” I couldn’t find the word to describe that thing you know so I just said bothered*. I didn’t mean that, I mean something else but couldn’t find the right word”
“Oh sweety. It’s okay”
” I won’t call them. It doesn’t feel right now when I know they are nice people. I don’t feel like doing so”
“Don’t do it then. Decision is all yours. And it’s okay, don’t think about it much now. Go to sleep and sorry for ruining your sleep cycle”
“Hmm… It’s okay.Good night”, Shaheen tittered.