Rini Basu

Drama Inspirational


Rini Basu

Drama Inspirational



11 mins

30th December, 2019.

9.30 pm

Today our new paying guest arrived. She's Anjali, a fresh MBBS who has recently joined NRS Medical College for doing her MD. I immediately liked the sweet, soft spoken girl who, I guess, should be the same age as my daughter Payel. 

Anjali's father Dr Mitra came to drop her here. He's a veteran cardiologist working in Siliguri Govt Hospital. He lost his wife to cancer a few years back. After her premature demise, his only daughter Anjali has now become the sole recourse in his life. 

Dr Mitra was feeling a bit nervous as this is the first time Anjali would be living away from her home, that too in an unknown city. Before leaving he earnestly requested me to take care of his motherless daughter. I assured him that Anjali will always be like a daughter to me and I'll keep no difference between her and my own daughter Payel. Dr Mitra thanked me for my kindness and left a happier man. 

29th January 2020.

6.30 pm

Today we celebrated Saraswati Puja in our house. Payel invited her friends and colleagues and remained busy with them throughout the day. Thank God Anjali was there to help me. She took leave from the hospital just to give me a hand in the puja preparations. She is the sweetest girl I've ever seen. 

During this time Anjali and Payel have become good friends. They chat whenever they meet at home and occasionally text each other. They're even planning to go to a movie on Sunday evening. Payel had always craved for a sister. I think she has found one in Anjali.

14th February 2020.

8 pm

Payel is very excited today. She is among the few lucky software engineers whom her office has chosen to send to the US for special training. This training, she said, will immensely help her career. 

This evening her boyfriend (and my future son-in-law) Kaustav came to pick her up. They've gone to Taj Bengal to celebrate Valentine's Day. Wonder if Anjali too has a boyfriend. But I doubt it. The poor girl hardly gets any spare time after her long and tedious duty hours at the hospital. It must be frustrating for a pretty, young girl like Anjali to spend Valentine's Day in a melancholy hospital!  The girl needs to get some free time for herself. I must talk to her about this.

8th March, 2020.

9 pm

Payel's US trip got cancelled due to the outbreak of some viral infection there. They've named it 'China virus' because the outbreak first started in Wuhan district of China. It is now spreading like wild fire to different parts of the world.

Payel is extremely disappointed. She says that people are unnecessary getting paranoid about this silly Carona or Kareena or whatever virus it is! It's just a type of flu, nothing else. My heart breaks when I see my poor girl moving about the house with a long face.

But Anjali hasn't taken the virus so lightly. She said that WHO may declare the disease as a pandemic. She also said that travelling and attending social gatherings are very risky nowadays. Maybe she's right but I feel so confused. Different news are circulating on different social media. I don't know which one to believe and which not.

14th March, 2020.

7.30 pm

Anjali was right. The novel Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by WHO. But Payel still refuses to take it seriously. Today she has left for Darjeeling with her friends for a weeklong vacation there. We repeatedly told her to cancel the trip, but she said that after the unceremonious cancellation of her US trip she needs a break.

Anjali mostly remains busy at the hospital and never returns home before 10 pm. She is worried about her father's health and has asked him to stay at home until the pandemic comes under control. She is also trying to get a job in Siliguri Govt Hospital to be near her father. Although I'm really fond of Anjali, but right now I'll feel relieved if she returns to Siliguri. She spends too much time in the hospital and it's quite unnerving for me.

Thankfully Kolkata is still Covid free, but for how long? The lethal virus is creating havoc all over the world. Thousands have already died in China. Thousands are getting infected in Europe and the US. Countries are closing their borders to prevent the entry of infected persons. Many NRIs are returning to India and I'm sure that most of them are careers of the virus. I fail to understand why our govt is allowing them to enter now. I hope Kolkata, rather, West Bengal remains Covid free at least till Payel's return.

19th March, 2020.

10 pm.

Kolkata is no longer Covid free. The son of a govt officer imported the virus from Europe. The spoilt brat refused to undergo a medical test at the airport. He moved about freely for the next forty eight hours only to be later diagnosed with Covid 19 infection. I shiver to think how many persons he has infected during those two days.

Payel called us from Darjeeling today. She sounded worried as Coronavirus is proving fatal for the senior citizens. She has reason to worry as both of us are in our sixties.

20th March, 2020

1.30 pm

Last night Anjali returned home at 2 am. My husband refused to open the door and told her to go away. We felt bad, but under the present circumstances what else could we do?  Our own safety was at stake. Anjali, who must have been dog tired after a hectic day's work, repeatedly urged us to let her in for the night. She promised that she'd leave in the morning but we refused to take that risk. There's every possibility of her being a career of the Covid 19 virus. I know what we did was not right, but we were helpless. If we got infected by the lethal virus at this age we would surely die. We put off the lights, switched off our mobile phones and went to sleep. 

But sleep refused to come to me. I have failed to keep my promise to Dr Mitra. This is not the way I would have treated my own daughter Payel had she been in Anjali's place. My guilty conscience troubled me. After some time I forcefully subdued it and fell asleep. I don't know where the poor girl went at that unearthly hour, but when we woke up in the morning she was gone.

I expected that she'd call in the morning, but she didn't. Instead, a hospital attendant came to collect her belongings. From him I learnt that a senior doctor had come to pick her up last night and she was temporarily lodging in his house now.

It is sad that our sweet relationship ended on such a bitter note. I was really fond of Anjali. She had been such a sweet girl. Only if she was not a doctor!

Today I told the maid not to come from tomorrow. The pace at which the virus is spreading is alarming. Doctors are saying that the best safety measure at present is to maintain social distancing. Hence I've decided not to step out of the house and keep visitors at bay. The maid looked unhappy, but I assured her that I'll call her back once this pandemic is over.

22nd March, 2020.

11 pm.

Payel's friend Oindrila called me in the morning. Last evening they came down from Darjeeling and lodged in a hotel in Siliguri for the night. Payel had a dry cough and was running with high temperature. She had all the symptoms of Covid 19. So her panicky friends abandoned her in the hotel room and started for Kolkata without her. 

The impact of the news hit me like a bolt. I stood there, speechless and shocked. Oindrila disconnected the call without giving me a chance to reply. I understood that she had called just to inform us about Payel's condition. How could these girls, who are supposed to be Payel's 'friends', be so selfish and inhuman? 

I immediately called Payel but her mobile was switched off. I searched on the net and found the hotel's phone number, but it was unreachable. I burst into tears and told my husband everything. He decided to avail the earliest flight to Siliguri and bring back Payel to Kolkata. But then realisation hit us like a thunderbolt. No transportation would be available for the next twenty four hours. Today was the day of Janata Curfew!

I have never felt so helpless in my life. We know not a soul in Siliguri and that makes matters worse. My heart bleeds to think that my poor, sick girl is suffering in an unknown city with no one to help her. We repeatedly tried to get in touch with Payel but her mobile was always switched off. We tried to call Oindrila but failed to connect with her. Probably she has blocked our numbers.

Thankfully the net is still working. My husband has booked two flight tickets to Bagdogra for tomorrow morning. There is nothing more we can do other than wait and pray.

Luckily Payel's phone got connected this evening. But I was surprised to hear an unknown female voice answering her phone. Upon asking I learnt that she was Minati, a nurse working at Siliguri Govt Hospital. She said that Payel has been admitted to the hospital this morning. She has been tested Covid positive and is now kept in the isolation ward. The police are frantically searching for her friends who are possibly infected by the virus and can turn out to be super spreaders of the disease.

The news, though not unexpected, devastated us. Minati assured us that the doctors are doing their best and everything is under control. But that did not ease our tension. We're now impatiently waiting for the night to get over.

23rd March, 2020.

8 pm.

To make matters worse, our flight got delayed by an hour. We hired a car from Bagdogra airport and reached Siliguri Govt Hospital. We were craving to see Payel, but nobody was allowed to go near a Covid patient. We could only see her through the glass partition of the isolation ward. We couldn't meet doctor under whom Payel was being treated, but the nurse told us that she was responding to medicine. It gave us a huge relief.

We booked a room in a hotel next to the hospital. We'll be staying here till Payel recovers. After lunch I called her and she received the call. I can't express how happy I felt to hear her voice. I asked her how she got admitted to the hospital. Her answer really shocked me.

Payel said that she tried to call us in our mobiles after her fair weather friends left her. But due to poor connectivity she could not get in touch with either of us. She even tried to contact her so-called friends but they had already blocked her number. Then she rang up Anjali, being unaware that we've thrown her out of our house. She felt a bit surprised when Anjali disconnected her call. Payel concluded that she must be busy with her patients. She waited for about half an hour and then called again. This time Anjali received her call. At first she sounded pretty cold and distant. But her attitude changed the moment she learnt about Payel's condition. She immediately sent an ambulance to pick her up from the hotel and bring her to the hospital. It was Anjali who admitted her there and she is the doctor under whom Payel is being treated now. Payel initially thought that Anjali had come to Siliguri to visit her father. But later she learnt that Anjali has joined Siliguri Govt Hospital to stay near her father. But once the pandemic is over, she will return to Kolkata to complete her MD. 

I was relieved to see that Anjali has told Payel nothing about our inhuman behaviour towards her. 

I hung my head in shame and remorse. So did my husband when he learnt everything. Now I know how karma pays back. Of all the doctors in the world, Dr Anjali Mitra is now fighting to save our daughter's life from the clutches of death. This is the same Anjali whom I had thrown out of my house because she's a doctor. If this is not irony of fate, then what is? How am I going to face her now?

I have no right to criticise Payel's friends as I am no better than them. In fact I'm even worse. At least they did not break any promise. But I did. I had given my word to Dr Mitra that I will treat Anjali like my own daughter. Nice way I kept that promise! Mother, am I? Shame on me!

24th March, 2020.

10 pm.

We're now trapped into a 21-day lockdown. We were worried that the hotel might decide to close business for three weeks and ask the boarders to vacate their rooms. But thankfully they did not do so. They stopped taking new boarders but allowed the existing ones to remain in their rooms.

Since last night Payel's condition has deteriorated. She is running with high fever and has trouble with her breathing. We feel extremely worried about her. Today we again failed to have a talk with Anjali. Maybe she doesn't want to meet us and I can't really blame her for that. But we met her father Dr Mitra. From his cordial behaviour it was apparent that he knows nothing about our shameful deed. He said that Payel's youth and vitality will surely help her to fight with the disease.

31st March, 2020

8.15 pm.

The past week had been a nightmare to us. Payel's condition worsened so much that the doctors lost all hope for her survival. But Anjali refused to give up. She stayed by her side day and night, ignoring the risk of herself getting infected. Her efforts are yielding results now. Payel is now improving and responding to medicines. This morning Anjali said that her worst period is now over. I took her hands into mine and washed them with tears of remorse. She patted my hand and said that she no longer has any hard feelings towards us.

Once I had wished Anjali was not a doctor. Now I thank my lucky stars that she is!

14th April, 2020.

9 pm.

Payel has been discharged from the hospital today. The credit for her miraculous recovery entirely goes to Anjali. I am thankful to god that the girl herself didn't get infected by the lethal virus. We need doctors like her who risk their own lives to save others.

I'm sure that with the likes of Dr Anjali Mitra around us, the world will soon win the war against Coronavirus and become Covid-free. May god bless them.

        "We shall overcome someday,

         Deep in my heart, I do believe,

         We shall overcome some day."

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