No Affair6 mins 289 6 mins 289
I was busy in the labour room of my hospital. Yeah, I work as an obstetrician. A man, whom I can reluctantly call young entered the room. The staff sister and I simultaneously reminded him that the area is prohibited for males. And he went out.
Pointing her finger towards a very young woman standing inside the room, the sister told me that she was his wife who was admitted for gastrointestinal upset.
-Why should such a patient be admitted to our department? All right I will see her after finishing the routine work of examining all patients in labour pain for the decision of the further management of each of them.
I remained busy. It took time. In the meanwhile the man entered to the room several time and each time we told him to keep patience. Of course, our labour tables remained behind the screen and his entry was not interfering the privacy to a larger extent.
He kept peeping and sometimes entering inside the room that irritated us.
This process continued until the turn of the said young lady came. Her name was Jingi Kudankel, an illiterate woman who could not understand or answer our questions. We couldn't extract any history about her illness. She probably belonged to a village deep inside the forest. Their language is different. And she couldn't learn the language of our state, that is Odia. I knew a little bit of the language she tried to talk. But that also couldn't help. Now we called the man. The man Rama Jena talked well in Odia. He also did not know her language.
He couldn't point out the problem properly and belonged to that variety of difficult patients who never came to the point and only moved around the bush.
Finally we had to drop down our irritation and surrender to listen to his narrative with the hope that we could extract some clues.
- Sir, she used to drink heavily and I did not drink. But it was beyond my tolerance. Sometimes I tried to explain her. Sometimes I became harsh to her. But I never did harm to her. How could I beat her, she is not my woman? I never did so even if I wanted to teach her a lesson. So to mask my conscience and then to beat her I took liquor yesterday. I assaulted her with slaps and feast blows. After the effect of alcohol was over she complained about her painful abdomen and I brought her here.
I did not believe his narrative and asked him,. - She is not your woman but you behaved like her man! Why at all she stayed with you and what about the little boy who must not have crossed his infancy? Whose son is he?
Holding the kid in his arms Rama answered. - He is her son. She and her husband always quarreled and physically fought with each other. Both of them drank a lot. One day her husband brought another woman and drove her out. Out of the rage she also left the house. Her parents are dead. None of her two brothers kept her with them.
I found her weeping under the banian tree of Lord Sambhunath. Have you seen Sambhunath temple sir? How can you see? It is not a tourist spot. Yes sir it is there in Satyapur village. Lord is there since Satyayug. But no one came to the temple except the local village folk. So it remained a lonely place all the time. There I went to offer my prayer while I was on the way to my village Tretayagarh. Sir our place was touched by Ramachandra during his forest exile. And so the name is Tretayagarh. I became very much a devotee after the death of my wife. So sad sir, I brought her here. She was in advanced pregnancy. She was having fits. She had high blood pressure. You were not here sir. The then doctor, Dr Sharma referred her to Cuttack. The doctors there tried their best but they couldn't save the mother. It was my fault sir. Probably I did not do enough care for her during the pregnancy. I have a daughter, Priya. I raised her with all care. I did not marry again. My father died in my childhood. My mother died when Priya was three years old. Now she is five. So I am a man of misfortunes. But you see sir, what was God's wish.
Yes I saw her weeping under the tree at Lord Sambhunsth. I was touched by kindness under the spell of a compassionate mood in the place of Sambhunath. I tried to calm her down. It was approaching evening. The priest just arrived. I asked him about my duty. He told me to take her to my home, for her safety. You know sir, we are labour class people. I was working alone, now both of us worked. My daughter actually became happy to see a baby boy and a woman.
But sir, she earned and her old habit of drinking came back again.
And sir, the drinking increased. My daughter's future was my concern. The little girl always loved this woman, she begged her not to drink, I begged her so . But nothing worked. I could not stop her going to work and earn money. Had she been an animal I could have chained her. In the morning, she did all works perfectly. Took care of my daughter. Cooked the day's meal. Whenever she did not drink the evening became very nice. But sir believe me, when she drank she got drunk. And my life went to hell.
So I wanted to control her. And sorry sir I too took liquor yesterday only to beat her. And this happened.
- But why at all you brought her to our department. Our department does not deal with cases of assault.
Rama now lowered his voice and told, - Confidential sir, for some period she abstained from drinking. I became very happy. And I feel very shy to say that we spent some good times during that period. And you know sir, she is not having her periods for last two months, she is having reeling of head and not taking food. And sir, should I explain more to you a doctor.
Sir, you know, fault or no fault I am ready to take the responsibility. But is it good to drink now? Please ask her not to drink.
I and the staff sister became reaction less. What to react to the real plight of two ordinary human being? What is good or bad? What is the legal aspect? What is human right? And certainly my job was to give medical aid and do counseling.
The man was sent out.
We did all routine clinics and investigations.
With my a little knowledge in her language I wanted to counter check the man's statement.
Yes, the man did not lie.
I did not trespass my limit in counseling her beyond asking her to abstain from alcohol and to come for regular check-up.
Did the matter end there? What should I do on their next visit. How our health department should register the vital event. What is legality? What is morality?
What I loved about our side of the story was that we did not become judgemental.
I hope next time they must have solved all these dilemmas from their side and introduce themselves as what they are going to be.