As I was taking to the doctor, I could see my mother at the other corner of the hospital ward sitting on the bed and gently smiling at me. When I went back to her, she said in a soft voice “Son, when we go back home after I get well, I want you to fix our washing machine – it makes a lot of noise that irritates me”. But I did not want to say “Mom you may not live to go back home”. I was struggling hard to hold back the tears in my eyes.
I felt so sorry for my innocent illiterate mother, who doesn’t even know that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is being treated at the oncology department of the hospital. She believes that people go to hospital for fever and headache (she is not aware of any other ailment) and that this time she just got the fever and headache bit more severely.
I looked around the hospital ward. I saw a four old girl with bald head playing with a doll. She appeared happy and ran around her bed carrying her doll and yelling “Hiya Hiya, I am the queen”. She probably thought visiting hospital once a month for the chemotherapy session is a ritual for all kids of her age.
Adjacent to a window laid another woman in her early thirties. Her face was attractive but appeared strained. Her husband sat next to the bed holding an innocent sweet looking girl no more than five years of age. The woman has been continuously staring at the little girl without speaking much but with tears rolling from her eyes. The small girl was wondering why her mother had to stay away from home for more than two months in the hospital and why is it that her grandma from the distant village had come to stay at home to take care of her.
At the entrance of the ward was the nursing station where a duty nurse was checking at the data sheet of the patients’ drug schedule. Another nurse was engrossed in a chat with her boy friend over the mobile phone.
Suddenly I heard my mother’s gentle voice calling out “Son, son what happened? Isn’t getting late for your office?” I got back to my senses and realized that I must rush to my office. I picked up my briefcase and walked out of the ward.
As I touched the main road and headed towards the bus stop, I crossed a coffee shop. I heard loud laughter from inside. I could see about seven to eight youngsters, all from the school down the road. They were all freaking away, giggling and playing pranks. They all appeared colorful and full of life. Across the road, a cinema show had just ended and people were walking out happily reminiscing their favorite hero’s style and the sexy heroine’s show off in the movie.
Life appeared beautiful. At the same time, the yelling of the small girl at the hospital kept ringing in my ears, “Hiya Hiya, I am the queen”. I felt a sting in my heart.