The phone rang. He picked it quickly. He screamed into it & then burst out sobbing. He murmured as he ended his phone talk.” She is no more .” His wife nodded. They both walked slowly to the conveyor belt to collect their luggage. They picked up their luggage & walked to the cab outlet .They booked a cab & it drove them home.
At home, she quickly bathed & started unpacking her bag. He sat motionless till his wife told him to freshen up by bathing. He obeyed. After that , he just sat staring into space. He called up his brother & told him that it was impossible to travel home to attend the funeral. The funeral of his sister. What he did not tell, was that, he found it hard to believe, that she was no more.
His mother or rather their mother was in her mid eighties & sister who was young & sixty was no more ! Saurabh found it nearly impossible to imagine, the plight of his ( & her ) mother. What would her hubby do ? He was so dependent on her. And they had no kids So, they were fully immersed into each other. What would happen to him next ?
Saurabh thought of all this & more. His head started to ache He asked his wife to get him some tea They sipped tea while talking about the events of the days gone by.
His sister had been diagnosed with leukemia. And there was a story of neglect .Therein lay the story of omission…..The husband omitted to take any action as wife fell thrice in their home e. She brushed aside & he agreed, that it was of no consequence. She had started disliking food. And they left it at that. She had been suffering from bone pain & she took injections as pain relievers. No root causes were sought to be determined.
Both were too busy doing rituals , fasting, & worshiping the almighty. They never realised that their bodies needing looking after too.
She developed fever. Doctor was summoned. He gave paracetamol. Fever refused to subside. That’s when, experts were called in.And the culprit was identified as blood cancer.
The report was verified by a relative who was abroad. He was a doctor. He had to admit, that the patient was indeed suffering from leukemia.
She was then admitted to the biggest hospital in town where they specialised in cancer care. The chemotherapy started. And her body seemed to collapse. The doctors were alarmed. They were of the opinion that her body was unable to sustain the strong drug therapy . They were unsure, if the second dose of chemnotherapy could be given to her.
Her condition started deteriorating. She became breathless. She was put on oxygen cylinder She was unable to speak and eat. She was put on a liquid diet. For a person who was used to her own saatvik cooking, gulping hospital food was such an irony. Saurabh’s jeejaji continued to eat at his co brother s home. In such trying times, he was the one, who stuck to his rituals, though somewhat diffused , as his wife could not, owing to her illness.
Within a fortnight of her being hospitalised, the doctors declared that her condition was going from bad to worse. Saurabh was summoned. He visited his sister with his wife. He started sobbing. He was careful enough not to cry in front of his sister who lay in the ICCU with tubes all over her face.His sister asked his wife about their teenager .They just nodded to inform her that the teen was doing good. Saurabh realised that his sister was fully conscious even in ICCU & recalled that he had a teenager .He hoped that his sister would get alright as she was mentally alert even though she was in extreme physical pain.
The next day, the news was good. The doctors said that she was better. The family thought that things could only get positive from there.The next day Saurabh left for home with his wife. As soon as they landed in their city , they got a call that she had passed away just a few minutes before. Saurabh was crestfallen. He just couldn’t come to terms that his dear sister was no more. The view of the doctors ,that she was better just a day before was the calm before the storm.
The tragic part was that ,the couple never confided to their extended family that she had been having faint spells & that she had developed aversion to food. The couple just ignored the warning signs & went about their routine work. They perhaps felt, that it was better not to disturb anybody, no matter, even if they are family. Maybe, the family was unable to convey that the family would help them in anyway. Saurabh even wondered how God allowed his sister to wither away as she & hubby had been serving him in the right manner. Maybe as time passes, he will heal. And yet, will the members of the family understand that health is as important as rituals, worship et al ? Because, if health is lost, how can any rituals for worship or anything else ever get done ?