The Instrument Of God
The Instrument Of God
"I don't know how she will get through it. She is 70 years old. And all of us know how efficient the health department is in our country. Gold digging mercenaries, each one of them. All they know is how to fill their own coffins even at the expense of human life." Deepak was ranting away. And he had good reasons to do so. His mother, Deepa, had been infected by the Covid 19 virus and his entire world had toppled upside down. His worries were further aggravated by the fact that his mother was elderly and a diabetic who needed insulin at regular intervals.
"It has been fifteen days since she was taken away in the ambulance. Since then there has been no word from the authorities. I don't know how much more trepidation I can endure", said Deepak's wife Amrita. She was already in tears. Her mother in law was a most endearing person and Amrita loved her a lot.
Deepak was desperately trying to reach the authorities in the health department. He had been trying to do so for the last 4 hours, but all his efforts were futile. Exasperated and enervated, he sat on the floor gingerly. His life was falling apart and he could not see any glimmer of hope.
Amrita called out to him, "Please come and have something to eat. You have not had anything since this morning. At this rate, your health will go for a toss". Deepak was just about to retort angrily. But he realized that Amrita was right and he abstained from doing so. He sat at the table and started to have one of the sandwiches that were laid out on the table.
Many hours had passed. The weary couple had dozed off at the dining table. Over the course of the last fortnight, they were living in extreme fear and apprehension, which had taken a toll on their constitutions. Moreover, even after fifteen days, there was no sign of respite for the unfortunate couple.
Suddenly, Deepak was awoken by a tumult of noise. He was sleepy, yet he could discern the source of the noise. Some were beating their utensils, a few were singing triumphant songs and some others were just clapping. The noise was really overwhelming and Deepak was very agitated at the people who were part of this untrained and impromptu orchestra.
"What is happening? Why is there so much celebration in such troubled times?" enquired Amrita who had awoken with a start. "Must be another of the so-called 'encouragement drills' that the Government is orchestrating", Deepak said in a contemptuous tone.
In the very next moment, the couple froze because their doorbell rang. They had been indoors for many days and no one had visited them at this time. Moreover, they had not ordered any essential service to be delivered at their doorstep. With a curious glance at his wife, Deepak put on his surgical mask and answered the door.
What transpired next was surreal. Deepak felt a surge of relief and euphoria that seeped through his entire body. The health authorities had arrived at his residence to drop his mother, who had recovered from the deadly virus and was beaming at him with tears of joy in her eyes. Deepak's world was restored back to its pristine. It had a profound effect on him and he regained his vitality and vigor. His mom entered the house with tears in her eyes and was greeted with ebullience by her daughter in law. Amrita was overjoyed. Her mother in law had returned and she could not suppress the tears of joy that were raining down heavily from her eyes.
After having a warm cup of coffee, the elderly woman narrated the incidents that had occurred in the last fortnight. She said that the Medical officers, nurses, and other authorities had been most diligent in providing the necessary treatment to her. There were other patients in quarantine at the hospital and all of them were well taken care of.
But suddenly she started weeping. This time the tears that flowed were not of joy but sheer sadness. "Dr. Awasthy was a medical officer who was in charge of our ward. He treated us in a most amicable fashion and was everpresent during this period. Unfortunately, he also acquired the virus and ........"
"And?" enquired Deepak.
"And he succumbed to the virus. Today. He had come out of retirement to fight this dastardly pathogen, to serve his country........and now he is dead. His family was informed over the phone and the poor man's body was incinerated. The unfortunate man did not even receive a natural cremation as per our rituals. The poor bereaved family members could not even see him for the final time" said Deepa who has to howl in grief and despair.
Deepak hugged his mother and tried to console her. He felt compunction as he had cynically criticized all doctors and the medical department in these recent times. He understood his folly and was feeling extremely guilty.
His mother again spoke:
"Whenever we recover from an ailment, we thank the almighty. And rightly so because without his blessings we cannot recover. But we often undermine the contribution of the doctors, the men, and women who impart great service to the society, even at the peril of their lives. It is natural to thank god for our recuperation. But it is also imperative to respect and glorify the people who don the surgical mask and unflinchingly risk their lives at this hour. For they are not just mere mortals, they are the instruments of God".