Soon after dedicated teaching work and physical
exercises, Prakash retires to his room to relax for a while? Soon he finds
himself glued to pen and paper. For he never wastes his time in idleness in his
youthful days but always busies himself in extra official work, physical
activity or writing work with dedicated devotion as scribing has become a
passion with him. Tired after half days work one day, he prefers to relax in his
retiring room but the reflexes of writing finds him deep in contemplation.
Just at the same moment enters an accountant, an old
student of his, accompanied by a robust young chap of fourteen or fifteen years
"Master ji, Namaskar, excuse me for the
interruption," says the accountant.
In response, Prakash looks up and replies, "Namaskar,
accountant sahib Namaskar. It's alright. Please take your seat. What makes you
to come and do me the rare honor of a visit for the first time?"
"Thank you sir, This boy is my nephew. His matric
examination in theory ended. He needs your expert guidance for practical work.
Would it be possible for you to oblige, busy at work as you are?"
"Don't you worry. Don't worry. I'll do all I can to
guide him." replies Prakash.
"Thank you so much, sir. Thank you. I'll tell you his
tale sometime after wards. Namaskar". Saying this, the two visitors leave.
Long after, the accountant pays a second visit to him.
Exchanging usual greetings the two sit together for a while and engage in a
In the middle of the discussion, Prakash interrupts and
asks, "Accountant Sahib, what was the tale you wanted to tell me about your
nephew, the other day?"
The accountant narrates the tale thus:
"My sister was in labor pain when she came to ours at
the time of his expected birth. She stayed with us for several days and behaved
as if the time of her delivery had not arrived.
But one day at mid-night she felt restless and cried in
labor pain. Her painful screams penetrated our bedrooms and the whole family was
agog. We rushed to her room and were alert and agile to nurse and help relieve
her pain. She delivered. But alas! The newborn neither cried nor displayed any
sign of life. This was sister's first delivery.
Thinking that she had polluted
her bed with excretion, she stood up quickly but suddenly fell down unconscious,
luckily not on the new born.
An atmosphere of gloom and panic
enveloped the attendants. Breast-beating, weeping, and wailing followed. Chaos
resulted in helter-skelter movements and groping in the dark. In such a panicky
atmosphere, no body knew what to do.
The clock ticked off time. Hours
rolled by. It was early dawn. The birds chirped. One of the attendants slipped
away and called in a nurse.
Slowly, steadily and cautiously, the nurse started the
needful cleansing work. It took her an
hour or so to complete the process. It was now time for her to begin nursing and
trying to restore my sister's consciousness, which took her another couple of
hours or so.
Subsequently, the nurse diverted her attention to the
newborn which was dumped as a dead mass of flesh in a nearby basin. She held it
in her hands, shook it, held it by the legs suspended it and shook it again. She
tried her best to bring it to life.
Nothing materialized. There was no response, no sign of
life. But the undeterred nurse * persisted. She pondered over the problem. She
asked for a garlic or an onion bulb. The demand was met as the market was
nearby. The expert nurse crushed the bulb near the nostrils of the dead mass of
Lo and behold, sneeze after sneeze thundered out as the vapors
that diffused irritated the olfactory nerve endings inside. The baby began to
breathe and cry to the joyous surprise of all.
The robust tall boy is that baby whom you guided for the
ensuing practical examination. He is my nephew."
Palour began to tinge Prakash's ruddy cheek imperceptibly
all along the narration of the gripping tale. His face fell and wrinkles of
grief appeared on his broad forehead. He looked blank and aghast as if prickly
thistle bullets were shot at him in dozens.
Apprehending something wrong had been said and fearing he
had hurt Prakash's feelings somehow, the accountant, in a low faltering but
sympathetic voice asked him, "What has happened, Pandit sahib? You have
turned pale and wear a grief stricken look? Why are you silent? Have I injured
your feelings in any way?"
Prakash heaves a deep, cold sigh and tears roll down his
cheeks. He bursts into subdued sobs and says, "No dear accountant sahib,
you have not injured my feelings in any way. You have simply opened my eyes to
our unbaked knowledge and inexperience, sadly enough after the event and that
the heinous crime that has been committed in my budding youth. It was early
dawn. My life-partner had felt the need of going to latrine half-an-hour earlier
than usual, but contrary to her expectations it proved to be the call of a
different nature. She rushed out, lay down and delivered.
The cat was out of the bag, concealed secret came to light.
But alas! the fruit of labor was mum and lifeless. It revealed no discernable
traces of living.
The birds chirped outside and the eldest, experienced
sister-in-law, came rushing into the room to see what all this chagrin was all
about. Every effort was made to check-up the newborn for signs of life. The
consensus of all those, who had arrived there by now declared it dead.
Wrapped in a sheet of cloth, I carried it to the cremation
ground under the guide nee of an elderly uncle. There I dipped it in the nearby
stream for a pre-burial wash. A brisk effervescence profuse of air bubbles
followed, hissing out from underneath. A lot of these bubbles were seen sticking
to its chest and head after bringing it out. These remained there for a few
seconds. The cue remained un-understood. Hence ignored.
Ah me! The baby was buried in a small grave!!!
THIS IS LIFE. FACE IT WITH COURAGE,
KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM AND FORTITUDE
* Foot Note: An object lesson for parents,
prospective parents, Nurses and Nurse trainees etc.