Her room was locked; she was nowhere to be found. We had already searched the classrooms, the auditorium, the library, the canteen â€“ everywhere there were chances of finding her. The time was already getting late for the hostel gates to be shut, and she was nowhere to be found. Her roommate had no idea where Priya was. Someone remembered that she always carried her mobile wherever she went; we now tried to reach her by phone.
It was ringing, and ringing; but strange enough, Priya seemed to be in no mood to pick the call. Normally she would have picked it in the first few rings, especially if she saw it was me. Though not belonging to the same class, separated by geographies, we still had a warm relationship between us, and were pretty close to each other.
By now, it had started raining too. Our warden was a frail old lady, too weak to handle all this stress told us that she had a terrible headache and thought that maybe it was her blood pressure. We took over the situation and started operation search â€“ the hunt for Priya.Â
Some construction work was happening in the annex building within the campus, and suddenly it occurred to me that we had not searched for her there. I immediately told my friends that I was going to look for her there and carried a torch with me as it had become pitch dark by then. Balancing an umbrella, a torch and trying to call Priya on her mobile, I reached the site and thought I saw a light flashing in the dark over there.
Rushing over, I found her lying in a pool of blood. The first thought that hit my mind was, she might have tripped on a stray rod or a stone and fell. I remember praying to God and hoping that it was nothing serious. By the time I realized that the slash on her wrist was self inflicted, the girls had broken into her room and found an empty bottle of sleeping pills.
The ruckus that followed cannot be described in words. We called for an ambulance, gave her some water with too much salt in it so as to make her vomit, convinced our warden that she could handle it and somehow got an unconscious Priya into the ambulance with me and our warden in tow. On the way, as her head was resting in my lap, she vomited a lot, slipped between consciousness and unconsciousness.
The first hospital that we went to refused to admit her and dressed the wound on her wrist and referred us to another one in a bigger city. Reaching the Big Hospital, as the doctors took her inside to tend to her wound and to wash her stomach, we had a tough time convincing the authorities not to register a police case, which was necessary because technically this was a suicide attempt, an offence punishable by law.
Cutting a long story short, the documents in the hospital claimed Priya as my sister, who had an â€˜accidentâ€™ and thankfully, she was declared out of danger after almost 24 hours.
(This is a true incident and any names taken are fictional and cooked up to protect the privacy of the people involved.)
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