Not Enough Stars to Count....

Vibhor Agarwal By Vibhor Agarwal, 13th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

A father try to teach his daughter by fulfilling a wish. Every time she counts a certain number of stars..

Not Enough Stars To Count

‘1.... 2... 4....,’ ‘No No you missed counting ‘3’ in between’ Siddharth was struggling with his three year old daughter to teach her counting. Every time he took her little fingers and placed them on the pictogram of three grapes. She corrected daddy by placing it back on the ‘five’ grapes calling it loud ‘tree’ aSiddharth felt tired and has almost given up teaching his daughter, the nuances of counting. But to his rescue, his phone rang and he gladly answered the cell leaving his little daughter playing around on the tricycle.

‘Hello ..’ he answered in a soft tired voice, On the other side of the phone, his wife was amused and was laughing knowing that she was going to win the bet.
‘Why are you laughing?..’ He asked innocently.
‘Well firstly, it’s the sound of my winning the bet and you loosing it, secondly, I wonder how you managed to teach anything to those grad students of your’
This was intolerable for Siddharth; he was going to hang up the phone when his wife taunted him for one last time “It is not in your stars to teach her...” With great vigour he said ‘good night and dashed on the red button.

But the last comment kept revolving in his head, and then like the flash of light an idea clicked in his head. He picked his daughter up in his arm and climbed the flight of staircase that led to the rooftop.

The sky was clear with countless glittering stars serving as the only light to cease the surrounding darkness, Riddhi was awestruck, watching the sky and in excitement she started jumping up and down, clapping and yelling at the same time. Siddharth stood close to her wondering his little prin-cess will grow soon and would lose the quality of celebrating her excitement in this grand fashion.
He again picked her up and said “Can you see those glittering objects in the sky?” she nodded her head.

“Let’s play a game. I want you to count those objects, and if can count up to 10 stars then one of your wish will be fulfilled, I promise.”

She looked up in the sky in bewilderment, confused which star to count first. She quickly solved this problem by deciding to start with the brightest star, slowly she raised her finger and started “, two, (then the magic happened) tree, fou, five, shiiks, savin, eighhh, nain, ten.”

She started jumping up and down as she finished the counting celebrating her victory; her father has a proud smile and went near her. She turned to him and wished “I want a chocolate.” He smiled, kissed her on the cheeks and took her back in the hallway, where he take out a chocolate from the fridge and gave it to Riddhi; she smiled back at him and ran away.
Siddhartha fulfilled her every demand. But only after she had counted a legitimate number of stars, so every time she wanted something; she would climb up the stairs and count stars. This way she got a Barbie Doll house, a new tricycle, her favourite princess dress along with a very beautiful tiara, she also got a teddy bear that creeps Siddharth out.

When Mrs Malhotra came back after a long a visit to her parents, she felt exhausted because of the journey and bumped into a sofa, wiping the sweat off her neck she called out for Riddhi, She came dancing like a butterfly, her eyes shining with bright happiness, she jumped into her mother’s lap for the fondling touch that she was missing for so many days. Caressing Riddhi’s hair her mother asked her to count up till hundred. Riddhi instantly came into an attentive mode and started counting as a pro, she would only stop in between to catch her breath, at last when she said “hundred” her mother got an astonished look on her face and slipped out a thousand rupee note aside to give it to her husband.

In the evening Siddharth was waving the thousand rupee note in a teasing manner and enjoying his wife’s loser look. She was curious and wanted to know what sorcery her husband has performed over their child, she tried to confront Siddharth but every time Siddharth waived her question by saying that it’s his little secret.

One night Mrs Malhotra woke up in the middle of the night to drink water. As she was moved in the corridor, she noticed that rooftop door was open; she hopped the staircase to enter the rooftop. She was amazed that her daughter was counting stars their “tree undred and fiv” Mrs Malhotra asked “What are you doing up here?” Riddhi relied in her sweet innocent voice “Papa promie me a bicycle if i counted upto For undred”

Mrs Malhotra has finally resolved the mystery and was quiet angry upon the idea. She called a meeting in the drawing room. Siddharth and Riddhi was sitting quietly like a disciplined student while Mrs Malhotra was going to &fro nagging... “You are spoiling our child, this way she would grow up with false believes which would harm her at some point...” she kept on nagging but neither of them listened but they vowed not practice such faulty tradition.

It was a fine bright afternoon, Mrs Malhotra was preparing for lunch, she was cutting vegetables when the first sensation of migraine was felt, she put down her knife and went for a nap, but the pinching sensation in her didn’t stop. She tried every medication that was in the house but it didn’t help.

When Siddharth came home, and found her in a dizzy state. He immediately took her to the doctor. The doctor wrote an MRI test along with few other test, they had to wait for week for the result. When they got home Riddhi came to her mother and curiously sat on her lap as if she noticed the tension on her face, Siddharth stroked Riddhi’s head and as she slowly dozed off...

The result came; it was a tumour formed in the left hemisphere somewhere below the cortex region, this news was devastating for the couple and with trembled feet they marched back home, Riddhi was playing on her scooter. They silently watched her play with tear in their eyes. Mrs Malhotra smiled watching her. It was then Siddharth decided that he will provide full treatment for his wife no matter how minute the chances are, they were still chances.

In the middle of night Riddhi climbed up the flight of stairs and reached up to the rooftop only to feel the awe of stars and started counting them, that night she counted five hundred of them and secretly made a wish.

After three months of intensive chemotherapy. Mrs Malhotra insisted on quitting as the pain was unbearable, especially after several tests there were no significant results. She wanted go home and live the last days of her life happily with her family. But Siddharth was not the one who will easily give up.

He consulted the doctor with reports; the doctor suggested there is one last measure that can be taken. They could operate her but the chances are minuscule, he needed time to make up his mind and more than him it was his wife whose decision mattered
Mrs Malhotra was listening to all the amusing stories of her daughter when Siddharth came for her consent. She wept for an hour and the papers permitting the operation were placed beside her. She looked at signature line. It was like signing your own death certificate.

She took a good glance over her daughter’s petite face, she was smiling unaware of the mysteries of life and death. With great strength she signed those papers; risking her life in the hands of a minute possibility.

The operation was about to start, Siddharth was restlessly moving in the gallery, he dropped his posterior on the cold metal bench all the while looking for the patient to arrive. A team of doctors paced their way into the OT along with the staff nurse pushing the stretcher into OT, a nurse shut the humungous door on his face.
His friends from the university came to support him. They were discussing about the beautiful cou-ple they have seen over the years. They were college love birds, a rare love at first sight from Siddhartha’s side.

It was not only her eyes that eluded him but her rosebud lips and her soothing black hairs that cov-ered the better part of face. He used to wait for her to come to college, would sit in her history classes even though he was pursuing Physics as a degree course..

He smiled with a tinge of tear in his eyes and saw Riddhi tucking his pants. “I want mama...” He looked her truthful eyes and took her up in his arms “Do you want your wish to be granted.” She nodded her head and he took her up the Hospital top.
The sky was filled with white glaring stars that looked nearer to her than when she used to count stars on her rooftop. The city skyline added to the glace of the picture perfect view that was in front of her eyes.

“You have to count all the stars in the sky to accomplish this wish.” She looked at her dad for a while and started counting as if saying ‘challenge accepted’.

She counted and was not stopping. All the while Siddharth was staring at those stars trying to con-vince his destiny to stop the prank. Riddhi was counting for an hour now and she was close to hit the mark of two thousand and she was nowhere near to stopping.

The dawn was near and the stars started to fade but Riddhi was still trying to count those stars but now her eyes were sore and she fell asleep. Siddharth waited for the sunrise on that rooftop. Somewhere, deep inside he knew that there were not enough stars in the sky to count that would grant her wish. He felt the first sunray kissing his forehead.

It was a miracle that doctors witnessed last night. While performing an intensive brain surgery that lasted about fourteen hours, the pulse rate of the patient gradually dropped and her heart stopped beating. She was technically dead but after five minutes of struggle they had lost their hopes when the heart rate again started to increase and she revived from death.

Siddharth was happy and surprised, so surprised that he started crying with rejoiced smile on his face. He picked up Riddhi and pushed the ICU door to complete Riddhi’s wish.......


Bet, Cancer, Counting Stars, Heart, Hospital Care, Little Girl, Stars

Meet the author

author avatar Vibhor Agarwal
For me writing is all about expression, like any other art I can express myself better and accomplish my creative pursuits

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