Tuesday, October 23, 2007
She kept blabbering something. I couldn’t make out the guttural whisper. I suppressed my nausea as the stench of blood, urine, sweat and tears wafted from her, filling my nose.
One half of her face was swollen. She had multiple contusions all over the body, fractured ribs and bleeding from her ears. The right eye looked grotesque. The pulse was feeble and the BP, not record able.
She was in shock.
I started an I/V line, sutured a gaping lacerated wound on her forehead. A batch of tests, painkillers and antibiotics were advised. Neuro, ENT, Surgical and Opthal consultations were ordered.
No, sedation would have to wait much as I would have liked to sedate her.
The bleeding from the ears looked ominous. Head injury had to be ruled out first.
“Sister, tell the bystanders to come to my room.’
I told the sister as I walked out of the ER.
I felt furious.
It took about 20mts for someone to turn up. A middle aged bulky woman. She stood near the door.
‘No I’ll stand’.
‘No you sit.’
‘The Police is searching for him.’
‘Her boy came and called me.’
‘Boy? How old?’
‘He was in tears. Told that his amma was hurt and crying. I went with him to see what had happened.’
I could feel her panic as she recounted what had happened.
‘ I didn’t find her in the house. Then I found her.. In the verandah at the back. She was lying on the steps leading to the backyard. ‘
‘Didn’t you hear anything?’
‘No, the TV was switched on in both the houses.’ She shifted her eyes
Where is the child now?’
‘He wouldn’t come to my house. I left my kids with him’
‘Has this happened before?’
‘C’mon you must know.’
‘ Oh. Ok. Yes.’
‘You spoke to her about it?’
‘It’s a personal matter. These things happen’
‘But you never discussed it?’
‘She didn’t tell you anything too?’
‘No. She was a very quiet woman’
‘Yes. Quiet… Soft ... Timid… Shy… She never spoke about it to me. And I didn’t want to ask her’
‘What about the husband?’
‘ A good for nothing fellow. Drunkard…Involved in Petty crimes. Never gave her peace’ .She shuddered. ‘We avoided him, my husband and me.’
She rose up again. Eager to leave.
‘M’am I’ve to go. The kids are alone. They must be scared and hungry’
‘But some one should stay back.’
‘We have rung up to her father he is on the way.’
‘Where do they live?’
At Neendakara.... They are on the way..’ She repeated as if it was an excuse for her to leave.
‘I have to go. My husband will be here till they come’
‘Ok. Tell her father to meet me.’
The Causalty was busy that day. I got time to talk to her father only late in the night. A shriveled, defeated man. His shabby terlene shirt hung loosely around the frail old body.
‘You saw her?’
‘Understood her condition?’
The sunken eyes beseeched me. The gaunt face looked tired and drawn.
‘Do you think she will survive?’
The softness in my voice made him jerk in pain.
‘To be frank I doubt it.’ I persisted.
I knew that I was driving the arrow in his heart deeper. But I had to be open in this hopeless case.’
‘We will try for the best. . But...’ I left my voice trailing.
Yes I had to be open. Her reports had come
She had fractured skull. Intra cranial bleed, ruptured spleen, fractured ribs and Contusion in her lungs.
There were cigarette burns on her cornea.
She was already in coma .It was highly unlikely that she would survive.
‘You know what happened?’
‘ You know that she was often being battered?’
‘Yes?’ I couldn’t keep my anger out of my voice.
‘ Yes. I know that her suffering started the day she married him. She would come to my house and weep’
‘First it was for dowry. Then a scooter. Then whenever he had problems
He was involved in petty crimes. Didn’t have a proper job.’
‘Was she admitted before?’
He wouldn’t look at me.
‘Once with a twisted arm and once with fracture ribs.’
‘You never reported it to the police?’
‘He told he would set fire to her body. Pour acid on her face.’
He paused for a moment and looked into my eyes as if it was a confession.. Then he continued.
‘Last month she came to my house. She refused to go back to him.
‘It was I who convinced her to go back.’ The old man started to shake.
‘You convinced her? Why?’
‘I told her that she must go back to her family.’
I felt the nausea rise up my gut again.
‘Yes. Her husband and kid’
‘But why?’ I didn’t ask that but it my silence did.
‘My Ganga was a timid girl. I felt that she wouldn’t be able to manage alone. Who take care of her after my death? ? But she has left before me… I can’t bear this…!
He started to sob again.
‘Ok ok.’ please calm down.’ What has happened has happened. You did what you felt was the best for her. Don’t torture yourself... Please. ‘
My heart went out to the old man. I could feel his deep pain. His regret... His guilt.
‘Take some food and try to get some sleep. I’ll tell sister to give you a mild tranquilizer.’
That was all I had to offer him.
Also, I too was tired and hungry. I needed some rest badly.
Quiet. Soft... Timid… Shy..
The words kept resounding in my ears, as I lay sleepless.
Quiet.. Soft…. Timid.. Shy...
Ganga didn’t pass the night. She died during the early hours of dawn.
Quiet ,Soft, Timid, Shy , Ganga.
The words often used to describe a woman
High time it is changed to Bold. Spunky and Smart …
And of course ‘Self-sufficient...’