Saturday 1 May 2021

A Tale of Humility, Humanity, Hope, and Hugs

She walked on, trudged on, in the dark tunnel. All she had was a voice that called out to her... Her doctor's voice over the phone. Tired, exhausted, but reassuring. In that moment, she was humbled. This man who had a family of his own, hadn't seen them in weeks, because he wanted to ensure that he didn't carry the Pandemic home. This man had lost more patients in the last one year, than in his entire career of more than 3 decades. This man felt helpless as the system failed him. Yet, he found it in him, to reassure her, to advice her, to support her through the sickness of her family. She was humbled!

She paused before she dialed the next call. She was tired, numb, grief-stricken. It felt selfish to be grateful that her family was safe. She shrugged her feelings off. Survivor's guilt. She prayed again, a superstition maybe. She planned her meditation session. And then she got back to it. The number rang, she got lucky!

Oxygen cylinders were available. She called up the person she was supporting through the helpline where she was volunteering. "Didi, please share the oxygen lead to someone else, our patient is no more." Beep.... The line went dead. And with it, another bit of her humanity.

She binge watched, season after season, series after series. Anything to distract herself. Anything to lose herself, anything that could take her to a point where she wouldn't have to write 'take care', 'stay safe', 'be well', 'sorry for your loss', 'rest in peace'. She immersed herself in work, work she had been superb at, and currently was dysfunctional at. She was unable to sing much, unable to write much, unable to think, feel.

She was numb. But there was still hope. There was the vaccine, there was the possibility of all people above 18 getting it. There were lessons people might learn, intelligent questions people might ask, responsibilities people might take. There was still hope. As bleak, as threadbare, as fragile as it was... There was still hope.

She called them. She was finally going home. After days. Rather weeks. She had been stuck away from them. Not in a hospital, not in a quarantine centre, but in a distant location. She had spoken to them every day, seen them on a video call at least twice a week, but she longed for the touch. She longed for the hugs. She reached home. They hugged. There it was. Her anchor to her humanity. Finally.

She felt human again. She lived again. She loved again. She hoped again. She prayed. Once Again.
© Anupama 2021