I still remember that afternoon of June 24th, 2013. I and my dad were waiting in the lobby outside Manipal University at around 2 PM with loads of thoughts running in our minds. My counseling for MBBS was about to begin. We were exchanging looks wondering how many seats were vacant, as to get an idea whether I will get admission or not. Later on, we were relieved when we came to know that there were around 40 vacant seats.
At around 2:30 PM, they called out the name Rabeea Fathima Sherin P.K. and then called out my name. We exchanged smiles while submitting our documents. Then I gave a long smile to her mom (Actually, I thought her mom was the candidate! :-P)
On August 1st, 2013, after attending the orientation in T.M.A. Pai Convention Centre, Mangalore I reached my new hostel. Starting a new life in a totally different place was initially difficult. I was waiting for my new roommate, the person who was going to be my first friend in Mangalore. My roommate, Anjali Das reached around 8:30 PM. Along with her came another girl, a girl with a pleasant smile who seemed very simple and humble. I had a vague remembrance of her face then. Later on I realized that she was the girl I had met during counseling. Over time we developed a strong bond between ourselves. Then ‘we’ became friends with Loomila and Manisha and the ‘we’ transformed into a GANG!
Things changed and our friends’ circle grew bigger. Sheethal and Manognya also came into the scene. Manognya and Rabeea were roommates and so were Sheethal and Loomila. We all came very close.
Rabeea was a girl who does not always stay in a group of people occasionally gracing the crowd with her presence. She was a girl who never disappointed people, who didn’t know how to say the word ‘No!’ ,who knew how to please people and above all she was my ‘I-know-it-all’ Dissection Hall tablemate and my savior during practicals. She always stood next to me. Literally, I felt dumb standing next to her. She was the girl who taught me how to identify Histology slides. She was the girl whose watch I always used in Bio-chemistry practicals during heating experiments. She was the one in all for me. No one could trace a nerve or vein or artery as efficiently as she could and no one could hold a bone in its anatomical position as quick as she could. Hilariously, once me and Anjali spent 4 hours to hold the hip bone in its anatomical position which we thought was correct. Later on, Rabeea came and in a minute held it in the anatomical position and even told us that the way we held it was wrong.
Once when I was on my way back from practicals, Rabeea told me that Sessionals were coming in a month and we all should start preparing. I asked her help for Osteology and she told me that she would teach me on the scheduled holiday for Diwali.
Days rolled by…
October 1st was our Fresher’s Day! It was a night we would remember forever in the times to come. Then came the worst of all nightmares. I do not know whether it should be called as Sessional Mania or Sessional fever, sessionals were just 2 weeks far and all of a sudden the mood in hostel had turned grim….grim and panicky!
It was October 24th. Our batch mate Arnaz was serious battling for his life in the hospital. We had a prayer in girls’ hostel for his recovery. Irrespective of religion, we prayed.
The next day October 25th, we all went to the hospital. Rabeea asked me to call her when we left for the hospital, so that she could come along with us to visit Arnaz but I forgot to call her. That night, Arnaz met with an unfortunate end and left for the Heavenly abode. Rabeea felt very bad that she could not come to the hospital but it seems we are all slaves to our fates.
The college arranged a condolence session for Arnaz at 11:00 in the morning. After that, when I reached hostel, I saw Rabeea crying surrounded by many girls. When I enquired, she complained of knee joint pain. We rushed her to the hospital. In the evening my Mom called. While I was speaking to her in the lobby Loomila and Nirupa told me Anjali and Athena had come to attend Rabeea and so we could return to the hostel. Since I was on the phone, I did not say bye to Rabeea and left for hostel. Around 7:30 PM her parents took her home since she was not feeling any better.
On October 29th, at 12:04 AM, I called Rabeea but she did not pick up. I thought that she did not pick up as it was a very odd time. In class, a friend of mine texted me the most heart breaking message I ever received. I did not know how to react. The lecturer was right in front of me. My eyes were filled with tears. But I strengthened myself thinking that it must a rumor but then never is there a rumor that someone has passed away!
The following is the text conversation between me and my friend:
Friend: Where is Sherin? How is she? Is she fine? Sharon tell me.
Me: She is with her parents. She is fine.
Friend: Some sick rumors are spreading that she is no more. Tell me if something is wrong
Me: What? I called her this morning and she dint pick the call! Scary!
The first lecture got over. During the attendance of the second lecture, the Professor did not call out her roll no. Instead they called out mine. I was wondering why she did not call out Rabeea’s roll no. (In between, I forgot to tell a thing. Rabeea was a person who always day dreamed during attendance. She always missed it. It was always the others who woke her up from her reverie to answer her roll call.) This time, when ma’am missed her roll call, I got freaked. My legs started shaking. After taking attendance, Ma’am asked all of us to stand up to pay respect to the departed soul! I muttered to myself “Please do not tell me that the departed soul referred to is Rabeea”. In no time, ma’am told that Rabeea had passed away! I simply couldn’t digest it. It could not have happened at all! I wanted it to be a nightmare. She had passed away around 12:00 AM on that same day. When I had called her on the phone, she did not pick the call not because it was an odd hour but because she was battling for her life.
Apparently, life is very cruel in making us accept things. We had to accept the hard fact that Rabeea was gone. The most tough thing to accept was that I did not even tell a ‘bye’ to her on the day she was taken home by her parents as I had been busy talking to my mother.
Nothing is harder than seeing the place beside you vacant during practicals, knowing that it was once graced by someone as nice as Rabeea. And, she had promised me to teach Osteology on Diwali! How could she leave me without fulfilling her promise? But then she was gone and that was all I had of her now- one last unfulfilled promise!
Nothing is more painful, than saying “Absent Ma’am” for a person who is not just absent in class but who doesn’t even exist on earth anymore!
Well! Without any second thought, I can boldly say that she was the most amazing person I ever met! A classic girl! No one can ever beat her in studies and in her way of writing in English!
‘We never know how much a person means to us, until we realize that we are not going to meet that person again and sometimes it is not the person we miss, all we miss is the ‘fun once had’ which changes its reputation to ‘memories’! People come and go, but memories stay on forever!’
Rest in peace my Rabeea.
About the Author: Sharon J. Ebenezer is a 1st year MBBS Student at KMC, Mangalore.
Edited by: Vyom Agarwal