Submitted into Contest #12 in response to: Write a story that features an ensemble cast of characters.... view prompt




Tara’s happiness knew no bounds. She was overwhelmed with joy. Reason --- she could hereafter be called by her original name, Nayantara. Thanks to Karuna who made it possible. Nayantara lost her ‘nayan’ that is, eyesight in her childhood due to a minor accident. Now after about fourteen years, she got her vision back. Her parents wanted that once she could see, after the successful operation she must open her eyes first upon the image of Lord MURUGA, their family deity. But Nayantara flatly refused. Instead, she insisted she would see Karuna only. She argued that Gods and Goddesses, the whole fleet of them, existed even during her dark days. They had turned a ‘blind eye’ to her problem and did not come to her rescue. It was only Karuna, who brought sight and light into her otherwise blind eyes. So Karuna was all the more powerful than any God or Goddess known to her. In fact, she would worship Karuna all throughout her life – as long as she had eyesight. She was happy she could play violin, with full vigour and vitality.

She could see now and the whole world was open to her, so enchanting and so beautiful. The world filled with so many colours, objects so beautiful – birds, butterflies, flowers, trees, fruits, open sky, the clouds ever changing their forms, her pet dog, her dresses, why her own self, her friends, her parents …. anything and everything. All that she learnt through her audio cassettes and Braille she could see in reality. Great! really great. Thanks to Karuna again. This life should be dedicated to her – she thought.  An angel, a fairy, coming down from heaven to bless her!

Kannan too felt exactly the same. His fate also was nothing different from that of Nayantara. He too lost his vision years ago and got it restored now by the courtesy of same angel. From childhood, he had been groping in darkness. Now he could touch, feel and SEE everything. He touched the feet of Karuna’s parents and expressed his gratitude. He ran short of words and tears came rolling down. Though the doctors had warned him against shedding tears, he had no control over them. He never dreamt of this day in his life. He had long back resigned to his fate and learnt to live with darkness. But Lady Luck smiled on him and he was totally a different person now. He was ready to do anything for the people who brought in, this change in his life. It would be, music-music and music only, all the way.

Satnam Singh was another person, who too was fortunate to be a beneficiary of the benevolent angel Karuna. He was earlier suffering from acute stomach pain and was admitted to the hospital in a hopeless condition. During the preliminary examination itself, the doctors declared that his liver was badly damaged and the patient was in a very critical stage. The only chance of his survival could be by immediate replacement of his damaged liver by a healthy one – which was rare to get. The doctors had given up hope and told his wife to be prepared for the worst and if needed, inform all kith and kin about his critical condition. But God is Great. Miracles do happen. Satnam Singh escaped from the clutches of Death. Had it not been for Karuna, he would not have had this new lease of life. She came to his rescue at the most appropriate time. Satnam Singh recovered very soon. He thanked Karuna’s parents profusely and vowed that he would never-never touch the damn liquor again, – the culprit of all calamities, which had dragged him to the point of no return. The very idea that he could eat well, sleep well and get back to his musical troupe was simply marvelous!  

The doctors wanted that Karuna’s parents to visit another ward also, where Neelakandan and Ramanathan were being treated. These patients were earlier undergoing dialysis on every third day. Though it helped them to prolong their lifespan, it was also indeed a big drain both on their purse and physical energy level. By the time they would gain enough strength, it was time for next dialysis. It was also a difficult task to arrange for funds, at short intervals. Both were declared as chronic cases and were in dire need of kidney donors. Just then Karuna’s timely help, worked wonders on them and now they were out of danger and were recovering speedily. Karuna had a unique magical healing touch running through her body. No wonder all those who were recipients of her benevolence were relieved of their problems. The best part of her magic was, all of them could get back to their musical life.

 Neelakandan and Ramanathan and their family members received Karuna’s parents with folded hands and tears rolling down their cheeks. The silent tears spoke volumes of their feelings and gratitude.

The doctors then navigated the parents to two separate ICCU wards where Suresh and Naresh were lying, after they underwent heart and lung transplantations. The visitors could not be taken inside as both the cases were major operations and  the patients could be seen only through the glass windows on the doors. Both were young men in their late twenties. Naresh was a chain smoker and got his lungs damaged by his constant smoking, but Suresh, despite his clean habits, had a unique problem – one of his heart valves required replacement urgently. The wonder of wonders was that with just 40% chance of acceptance of the organs, both the patients had very well responded to the treatment and the transplanted organs had fitted well with them.

Dr. Ramachandran MD. Orthopedic Surgeon, the chief in-charge of the Shri Ramachandra Super Specialty Hospital was deeply moved by the humane and noble gesture of the Karuna’s parents, who despite their soul stirring grief, extended their whole hearted support to the hospital’s newly launched programme MOHAN – Multiple Organ Harvesting Aid Network. He wanted to acknowledge their benevolence and let everyone know about their noble deed. So, he had arranged for a small gathering – to which a few well known philanthropists were invited. In the meeting, Dr. Ramachandran narrated the circumstances that led to Karuna’s Multiple Organ Donation. She was a victim of a road accident and she sustained injuries and was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state. Soon she fell into stupor and then coma. In spite of putting her on ventilators and life-saving equipment, doctors could not save her. The doctors declared her, brain dead. It was very-very pathetic to see Karuna’s parents lamenting over the loss of their only daughter. Premature death of young Karuna – a tender flower plucked forcefully in the prime of her youth, was tragic. Umpteen times the doctors had seen the battle of life and death in the very same hospital. But this one was very tragic. Somehow, they gathered guts and approached Karuna’s parents hesitantly and explained to them about the doctrines of MOHAN. Surprisingly, they agreed. Their dear-dear daughter gone – gone forever. But if she could instill or bring new life into few dying patients, then that would be the best thing they could do for the dead Karuna. ‘The very name Karuna refers to Mercy and Mercy is twice blessed – both the giver and the receiver’. So, they decided to make her life, rather death a meaningful one.

Dr. Ramachandran told the audience that Mercy was twice blessed but in Karuna’s case it was 7 times blessed. By one death, 7 needy and chronic patients were treated. Her act was a holy one and it would always be hailed in high esteem. Equally great was the timely act of her parents in agreeing to donate all possible organs. Donation of a different kind, Full of kindness…. For the mankind. Dr. Ramachamdran, after a pause, concluded that the best way to pay homage to the noble soul called Karuna was to give a philip to the newly launched programme MOHAN and requested the people assembled there to register their names for similar donations to be made effective after their lives that is after their deaths and the registry to be duly agreed upon by their children. He continued “Though no one ever wishes for an untimely brain-dead death, every living being has to die one day. In general, the mortal remains after death are either cremated or buried and the organs, otherwise available to needy persons go wasted. On the contrary if harvested in time, the multiple organs could save a few living fellow beings. ’Charity begins at home’, true. But it should not stop there. Let everyone know that Charity goes beyond the Grave also. Karuna has proved it by adopting MOHAN.”

He requested everyone who was present there to spread the message of Organ Donation.

Karuna is dead. Long live Karuna.

Karuna’s journey did not stop there. The seven re-born artists, who were earlier performing under different bands and banners, now assembled themselves and formed a new musical troupe under the banner KARUNA AND MOHAN. They included some more performing artists aided by organ donations received from good Samaritans. The entire ensemble of re-born artists—singers and percussionists, had an important mission and a compulsory agenda in their musical programmes.’Spreading and Spear-heading the message of Organ Donation’! They were the very living examples of such donors. ‘Gift of Mercy!’ Karuna’s parents Deenadayalan and Neelavathy were also included in their ensemble as Role-models and path-breakers. They were to show-case to the world, on how to overcome personal grief and act beyond. They found their own dear daughter Karuna, in each and every reborn person. Karuna is not dead. Karuna is immortal. All those like Karuna are also immortal, living again through those to whom they offered themselves. Karuna is living again and again. Karuna cannot die.    

October 22, 2019 06:24

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.