Monday, September 17, 2012

No stranger bond - 8

(This is the eighth part of a short story No stranger bond. You can find the full story here.)

"I don't even want to talk about it!" said Sharada as Bala and Madhu sat down that evening after dinner to talk about the conversation Dr. Bhalla had with them that afternoon. Sharada had been unusually quiet the whole day. She did not come out of room after her nap. Madhu went and called her late in the evening. She was lying on her bed thinking.

Bala said, "Amma, don't take any hasty decision. Think about it. Think about your life without dialysis. No diet and fluid restrictions. No needles. You can lead a normal life."

"I don't want a normal life, Bala. Not if it has to come by begging before an arrogant old man!"

"Amma, you're being unreasonable! Nobody is going to beg before anyone! It is a simple swap!"

"I don't want to have anything to do with that fellow, do you hear? Also, have you thought for a moment? I am a Brahmin who hasn't touched non-vegetarian food throughout my life. How can I take a kidney from someone whose staple food is the flesh of animals! This discussion is over."

"Amma, wait! You're being silly, now!"

Sharada stomped out of the room.

Masih was not having an easy time either. "No way!" was Shuja's response when Masih broached the topic.

"I would rather die than accept a kidney from that woman's family! You know what kind of a woman she is. Her son would also be like her. We should not get into any kind of arrangement with them. It will only lead to a lot of problems."

Masih protested, "Abbu, we don't have to have any arrangement with them. Our arrangement will be with the hospital. You treat it like you are getting a kidney from me. What difference does it make to you? They will be taking a kidney from me and they will be putting a kidney into you!"

Shuja said, "Masih, the kidney that is taken from you would not be going into me, right? That is the whole problem!"

In the next few days, many times, both the kids would bring this up with their parents. Neither of them relented.

A few weeks later, Dr. Bhalla, on his usual rounds of the dialysis unit came to the beds of Shuja and Sharada. He was visibly excited. "You know I mentioned that there were two such matches that we found? The other match was between Govind Patel and Shomik Bhattacharya, both our patients. They agreed to the swap between Patel's daughter and Bhattacharya's wife! Their transplant is happening tomorrow!"

Both Shuja and Sharada did not show any emotions. But inside, both of them felt a sense of regret. Why did my match have to happen with his son? Why did my blood have to match her son?

After about a week, they got to know that the swap between the Patel and Bhattacharya families had gone perfectly well and all the four people involved were doing fine.

Another week went by. This week saw Shuja and Sharada doing a lot of thinking.

One morning, as both were about half way through their dialysis, Sharada called out to the technician. He whispered soemthing in his ear.

The technician burst out into a huge smile. "Sure, madam!" he said and reached out for her bag. He pulled out a packet that had a bowl. Sharada signalled with her head towards Shuja.

The technician took the bowl and offered it to Shuja. "Payasam, from Sharada ma'am for you sir!"

Shuja looked at Sharada. She smiled and nodded. Shuja asked for his bed to be raised. The technician helped him with the packet and bowl. Shuja took one spoon of the payasam. It was the sweetest thing he had ever had and the sweetness for not only due to the sugar.

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