PrEm Ji

UNSAVED IMAGES (Short story)

 

UNSAVED IMAGES

It was a fine morning in June.

We were busy packing our belongings from an old rented house. Life is journey from one rented house to another; it's true for almost every employed couple!

‘Premji,’ someone called me from outside.

Gopan, a bearded young-man, stood there at the doorstep.

‘Premji... are you going to vacate this house?’ he asked openly.

‘Yes…my friend…’

‘Will he give it to me for rent?’

‘He will give it to someone, whom I recommend!’

‘Sure! You are a good tenant...,’ Gopan laughed.

‘I will recommend it for you…’

‘Thanks Premji,… Do you have any information from Huntsman Corporation?’

‘No… his private secretary wrote to me, Mr.Huntsman would contact me… but, nothing happened so far….’

‘Really sad!’

‘Gopan… You know a specific shrub, which can cure breast cancer, advanced hepatitis and any sort of incurable wounds… But, the scientific world won't care you… They all need proof… they all need medical reports, graphs, scan reports etc… and, you don’t have all these…,’ I told

‘It’s a panacea… that’s why, we have been desperately trying to contact researchers and medicinal companies, all over the world, for the sake of you…But, we are helpless…,’ my wife said.

‘I know that, Madam’

‘Please try to gather some proof’

‘Any recent developments, Gopan?’ I asked.

‘Yes.’

Sunila Augustine, a twenty three year old, final year B.Sc Nursing student, woke up with heavy fever in the morning. Poor girl was busy attending the pediatric wards, where children lay unconscious, like silent playmates of brutal viruses. Her eyes, she felt them as two open hearths...

‘Swallow this and take rest,’ Parvathamma, her resident tutor, a stout Kannadiga woman, notorious for her short temper, nick-named as ‘terror,’ gave her a long tablet of Meftal-500.

Poor girl couldn’t believe her ears, as she had been studying in a private medical college near Bangalore, where no excuses were allowed for not attending classes. ‘Classes...what kind of classes? Just nursing...nursing... nursing...! Slavery is million times better!’ her inner-conscience started revolting.

‘Thanks a lot, Madam,’ a pale smile appeared on her face. ‘Are you on leave today?’

‘I don’t feel like, going today… Even, I too need some rest, Sunila… Anyway, let’s talk for some time.’

Their open conversation went on for nearly two hours.

‘Sunila is the gem of a girl!’ Parvathamma could understand a simple truth.

‘Resident tutor Madam, what a wonderful, soft woman, she is,’ Sunila too had a belated revelation.

‘Sunila… Nurses do agitation all over the nation for salary hikes and other allowances… They are fighting against all sorts of exploitation… You see... No hospitals, now-a-days, issue experience certificates to ‘freshers’ like you all… Then, how will you find money to pay back your educational loans?’

‘I don’t know,’ she could see her aged parents, feeding three cows, their only source of income, deep within her mind… Sadness, encompassed her mind like a thick cloud.

‘My kid… In future, you may get a maximum of around Rs. 4000 or 5000 as monthly salary… and you will have to pay back nearly Rs.300000 educational loan… How will you make it out of this meager salary?’

‘Impossible!’

‘The new generation banks, they know how to retrieve it…,’ Parvathamma laughed silently.

Her cows started walking towards dirty slaughter houses and her ancient home, stood alone, awaiting bulldozers… The poor girl could feel her blood starting to boil again...

‘One of your seniors, from very poor backgrounds, closed her loan immediately after the completion of her course,’ the tutor said coldly.

‘How?’ Sunila became very curious.

‘This is Bangalore, my kid… Anybody, has a minimum of ten million different options…here…,’ Parvathamma laughed loudly.

In a lone corner of that air conditioned hall, Sunila, patiently, waited for someone. Her beautiful body resembled an expensive Chinese doll.

‘I have completed B.Sc Nursing, with flying colours,’ she could feel the pleasant smell of freshly laminated certificates, kept beside.

‘Madam, here is the agreement,’ an aged man, whose cold face resembled that of a Nazi General, handed a stamp paper over to her. ‘Please read it… and put your signature, here’

She went through the matter typed in that hundred rupee stamp paper… ‘I hereby undergo the medical treatment of ……… on my on wish and will….’

‘Let me bear the whole risk! They are not responsible for anything... even if I die too...,’ she smiled while putting her curved signature. The pen moved above the expensive paper like flint stones on water...

‘Here is the first installment,’ the old man handed her over a demand draft worth 300000/-

‘Thanks’

‘Now, follow me…’

A large syringe full of some thick fluid dissolved into her veins.

‘Now, you can stay at our guest house,’ the Nazi smiled for the first time. ‘Don't ever disclose this matter to anyone; under any circumstances... understand,’

‘Yes’

‘Good,’ a 'multi-national' gray smile appeared on his grave face.

‘Mom, somebody has fallen down, at our doorstep,’ Sunny, a nine year old boy, cautioned his mother, who busy milking the cows.

‘Who’s that?’

‘I don’t know…,’ the boy replied while rushing along with his mother to the porch.

‘Mummeee….,’ Sunila fainted in her mother's arm, like a thin broomstick...

‘My God! Where is you long hair, silky skin, fleshy body and sparkling eyes…,’ the poor woman fainted on the spot.

‘Premji... I went to meet her, when she was rejected by several famous doctors and prestigious medical institutions... that too when she was in a very advanced stage of Hepatitis… Her entire body turned yellowish…’

‘Then?’

‘At her dilapidated home, she was awaiting death, peacefully… All I asked was this, do you want to come back in life again?’

‘Sounds great,’ I said.

‘Seven days,... I gave her that leaf extract, during early mornings. And she survived…,’ he smiled. ‘At last, she gave me a small present’

‘Is it?’

‘Yes… an ATM card worth Rs700000/-… Who needs that blood money? Then only, we could realize, what had happened.,’

‘I can’t believe it…’

‘Premji... every disease on earth has a cure, which is already available on earth... all we have to do is, to find that out... this is the divine law of God.. the divine law of nature... Illegal clinical trials of untested drugs on innocent people, is a crime upon humanity... We are not ‘guinea pigs...,’’

 

Premji


Postscript:  

The Supreme Court today sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking inquiry into the alleged illegal clinical trials of untested drugs in various states of the country. A Bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale issued notice to the Centre, Health Ministry and Medical Council of India seeking their replies on the petition. The court passed the order on a PIL filed by Indore-based NGO Swasthya Adhikar Manch which sought appointment of an expert committee to regulate the clinical trials done by many multinational pharmaceutical companies. The petitioner-NGO pointed out various cases of illegal drug trials going on in the country and has said such trials be stopped immediately. It has requested the apex court to intervene in the matter. The bench, after hearing the petitioner's arguments, agreed to hear the petition and issued notices, asking the government to respond.



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