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LOVE IS TO GIVE, NOT TAKE

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Ayat and Aarav were childhood friends and neighbors too.  They were almost of the same age, just a few months apart. They were best of friends, tough competitors, and shared everything in life. They played together and fought bitterly too. Everybody in that small village knew them well. Villagers knew that if any work were to be done by Aarav, Ayat should be informed and vice versa. Both were excellent in their studies and extremely brilliant.  They were tough competitors to each other in both studies and games.

Days passed, and they started growing. With passing years, they stepped into 10th grade. Aarav wanted to succeed and stand first to the whole state. He wanted to go to the city to study further. He persuaded Ayu to explore too. Her parents were willing to send her to the town if she did well. Both worked hard and came out with flying colors. They were permitted to go to college in the city. It was two hours distant from their village. Every morning they would go together and return together on a govt bus. Aarav was very particular about Ayat. He always protected her from every boy. When no seat on the bus, he would willingly give his to her. She always felt safe with him. Aarav had taken science, and Ayat had taken arts as her main subjects.  Despite being in different classes and another time, he would go with her and wait until she finished her studies to come back.
They cleared their 12th too. Aarav turned out to be a very handsome young man. More than beauty, his intelligence attracted people. Girls would search for a reason to be with him. He honored every girl with the utmost respect. That is what made him special.  Ayat also turned into a beautiful girl and was naughty and understanding.  She was very possessive about Aarav. Both joined degree college in the same city. But now, Aarav had taken engineering, and Ayat had taken BA. Though they came and returned together, they separated in the town to go to their respective colleges.
Evenings would be an excellent time for them, and they shared the entire day’s activity. It was great fun for them. As days passed, both got entangled in their studies. They would hardly go together now and would meet once a day. They could not survive without that. Aarav would get very restless without meeting Ayat. His day felt incomplete without seeing her. He would wait for hours to meet her if she would be busy with anything. If she ever spoke of any boy, his entire body would burn in anger. He hardly understood this feeling. He would not talk to Ayat the day she said of any boy. Ayat felt it peculiar, but she ignored it.
One day Ayat told Aarav that she had to say to him something fundamental. But she said that she would say to it after the exams. Aarav grew excited. He knew that she would express her love for him. He desperately waited for the exams to finish. After the exams, he ran to her. He asked her what the matter was? She blushed.  She looked beautiful with a pink shade on her cheeks. Aarav felt like pulling her in his arms and kissing her, but he controlled. He said,” Tell me fast, I have been waiting to know it for a long time.” She said, ” You will not react adversely. you will be patient.” He agreed. She went close to him. Aarav heart almost came to his mouth, and he was missing a breath. She came close, blushed again, and said that she loved a boy. Aarav was also red now. He said,” I almost guessed it. Now please disclose his name,” knowing that it would be him. She said at the top of his voice, “Aarav, I love Tarun. He is the most handsome boy I have ever met. He is soft and caring. I think he, too, loves me. I thought I would tell you before I told him.” Aarav was dumbstruck. He felt as though a heavyweight truck passed over him. He wished the earth would split open, and he got into it. He could not bear the pain he felt in his heart. Seeing him go silent, Ayat asked him what happened?  He gave a bitter smile and said that he was astonished. She said that she would accompany him the next day to meet Tarun. 

When Aarav met Tarun, he felt something very peculiar about him. He seemed to be an over-ambitious and short-tempered person. Aarav tried to tell this to Ayat, but she was in such deep love with him that everything went on deaf ears. When Ayat was very stubborn about marrying Tarun, he just went quiet. She asked Aarav to persuade her parents. He did as he was told to do. Parents agreed after a lot of persuasions. They were married in a very pompous way. Aarav did a lot of chores in her marriage. The day they got married, Aarav wept the whole day secretly. His eyes were as red as blood. People thought it was because Ayat got married and he would miss her.

Ayat went away from her village to stay with Tarun in the city. The initial days of the marriage were just heavenly.  They had the best days of their life. They would dine outside often. They enjoyed spending evenings together watching movies. Every day was a feast for them, and she was on seventh heaven. Days passed quickly. A year had gone away as though it was just a month. Slowly days started changing. Where does one understand the character of a person initially?  As days passed, Ayat started complaining that Tarun paid more attention to his work and less to her. He would return late from the office, and when asked, he would scream at her. He was quite a miser too. He would not quickly empty his pocket. Though he loved her, yet they would have a lot of difference.

Ayat would get depressed at times. She would always think of Aarav care and friendship.  Once, she called him and urged him to meet her. When he refused, she started weeping. Aarav could hardly bear her cry. He immediately rushed to her rescue. She was eagerly waiting for him. As soon as she met him, she hugged him and started crying. She told him how she was lonely. She also complained about Tarun’s anger issues and misery. He smiled at her and said to her that he had told her about him. She just gave him a stare and consoled her, and told her to bear. She nodded to Aarav’s advice.

Few more days passed, but the situation did not improve. Ayat was still in the same depression. One day she fell severely ill.  She had a severe stomach ache. She was shown to a doctor who gave her few tablets. The news reached him, and he rushed to Ayu. On seeing her plight, he started crying. She told him that she was okay. He got angry at her for the first time in his life. He said that she was thinking a lot about her condition, and it was toiling her health. She said, but she was trying, but the situation was not changing. In a fit of anger, Aarav told Ayat to divorce him. She thought it was fun and asked what would happen to her next smilingly. He said that he would marry her, and she was taken aback, and she wondered what he was saying. Aarav told her that he loved her from ever. That day she thought that he would express his love to her, but things changed. She was aghast. She stared at him with dismay. She said that she loved Tarun heartily. Their problems did not mean that they separated.  His words had hurt her. She asked him to leave her and not to see her ever. Aarav tried to convince and coax her, but she did not listen to him.

Days passed, and Ayat was falling sick sporadically. Doctors asked for series of tests. After many trials, it was diagnosed that her liver was completely damaged, and it needed replacement.  Tarun was shocked and was very much disturbed. He told doctors to do their best, and they said that they immediately wanted a donor. They noted that even Tarun could do so. He nodded. That night he went home and thought a lot. He loved ayat a lot but not to the extent of donating his liver. He thought of all the possible troubles he would go through post-donation. He thought of the pain he would go through.  He was utterly disturbed. Without understanding what to do, he called Aarav and told him the entire scenario. Aarav gave him courage and asked him not to worry. Tarun also said of the money it would cost. Aarav told him not to worry about the funds. The next morning, he transferred all his savings to Tarun.

At midday, Tarun received a call from the hospital giving him the good news that they found a donor. Tom rushed to the hospital with full excitement.  He had funds as well as a donor. What else he could ask for. As he reached, he ran to meet the donor and to thank him. He was undergoing some tests. So, Tarun waited for him outside. Doctors called Tarun to buy few medicines. Tarun rushed to get them. When he returned, he asked the doc to meet the donor. Doctors said that, as the patient’s condition was too critical, they had to start the operation immediately. They said he could meet him after the procedure. Tarun agreed and prayed to God to give him long life and make the process successful.

The operation took place for a few hours, and Tarun was exceedingly stressed. He could neither sit nor stand. He was too nervous. As soon as the doctors came out of the operation theatre, he rushed to them, asking about the surgery. Doctors smiled and said that it was successful but both, donor and receiver, were weak. They had deficient immunity.  Tarun asked to see them. Doctors said that they were unconscious, yet he could see them.  Tarun was surprised to see that the donor was Aarav. He had donated his liver without a second thought. That was the intensity and depth of his love.

It took days for them to recover. Aarav recovered before Ayat. He requested Tarun not to tell Ayat that he was the donor. Tarun refused and said that Ayat deserves to know about her friend’s sacrifice. Aarav ordered that he hid the fact at least till she became strong to hear the news. Tarun agreed to this. He told Tarun that he would write a letter to Ayat, and he handed it to her when she was firm and healthy.

Aarav took nearly a month to recover.  He was discharged after a month with a lot of conditions to take care of his health. Doctors said that his immunity was weak, and it needed months to recover. Aarav agreed to follow all the instructions and went back to his village. Tarun thanked a ton and arranged for a vehicle to send him to his town. Aarav wrote his letter and asked him to hand it to Ayat when she recovered completely. 

Ayat recovered slowly and gradually.  She improved day by day. Within few months, she had started eating and moving. But she was yet hospitalized. She always asked Tarun about the donor, and he would say that he did not know. After few weeks, she was discharged too. When her condition grew stable, Tarun handed over the letter to her. She asked what it was. He said that it the letter of the donor to her. With great excitement and happiness, she opened the letter. It read,
‘Ayat, I hope you are fine now. My heartbeat stopped when I heard you were so sick. Had I committed such a grave mistake that you did not inform me about the disease. I am hurt. You did not want to see me face to face. That is why I thought of residing in you becoming your organ. Now I am in you, and yet you need not see me. Recover fast and lead a happy life. I am always with you as your liver. Love you.”

Ayat started crying and urged Tarun to take her to the village to meet Aarav. She wanted to meet him and thank him personally.  Tarun agreed and took her. As soon as she reached, her face glimmered seeing the village.  She was enthralled. As they proceeded, she was surprised to see no one on the street. She grew exceptionally concerned to see a crowd gathered in front of her house. As she rushed, she saw someone’s funeral procession, and to her surprise, it was Aarav’s. She fell on the ground and screamed aloud, and Tarun was equally shocked. Her mom rushed to her. She consoled her and said that the pandemic has made him sick. He could not recover from it at all. Ayat cried at the top of her lungs and said she did not mean this when she said she did not ever want to see his face. She said that she would preserve him in her with utmost care and love. She was sorry.

                                   

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