The Wandering Soul
I can hear the sounds of wailing cries, despair, and regret ringing in my ears as I pass through the busy corridors of the Delhi Hospital. What day is it? I wonder as I walk by the bed of a young woman in her thirties, wheezing for breath, the nurses and doctor trying their best to revive her. I can sense the desperation in their tone as they converse about her condition with each other. Although they are covered in polyester yellow suits, shields, masks and eye protectors, their haggard eyes and tired voices speak volumes. The ECG machine attached to the ailing woman suddenly goes erratic like the wildfire in the forests. The whole floor is alive - Nurses racing back and forth, doing their best and helping the doctor resuscitate her back to life. The shrilling noise suddenly stops and is replaced with a long beep indicating flatlining.
I hear a collective heave of a sigh from the group surrounding the young woman as they hang their heads in sadness. After a prolonged silence, the doctor asks, "Is there anyone from the family waiting outside?" "No... The husband passed away last night. She has an 8-year old daughter" the nurse replied, her voice breaking.
It's been a tough year for all of them, I should know... After all, it's been six months since I've been stuck here. I still remember the face of the doctor, when they had to deliver similar news to my family. She had completed an eighteen hour-long shift, I was the third patient she'd lost that day. With her red, pruney hands from sweat and latex gloves and her eye bags protruding due to lack of sleep, she met my family and broke the news, holding back the urge to comfort them. She knew it could be deadly.
As I walk away from the young woman, I say a little prayer. In the past six months, I've seen children become orphans and parents becoming vilomahs overnight. The air of grief and loss becomes thicker, as I walk down, wards after wards. "I need to get out of here" I think to myself and rush towards the main entrance.
I'm welcomed by a pain-stricken old man weeping and pleading for admission of his 35-year-old son who lay on a vegetable cart gasping for breath. Tears brimming in my eyes, I leave him behind and bump into an unconsolable young girl, who held her unconscious brother's hand as she prayed to heaven above and bargained for her little brother's life.
I look past the young girl, only to find hundreds and thousands of people waiting in the line, cracking a similar deal with their gods. The scene looked like they were on a leave and evil ran rampant on every single street, lane, and road, in the country.
Tired of running away, I find a spot and sit down, as I helplessly witness this carnage unfolding in front of my eyes in the form of flames. The air slowly begins to smell metallic, across a burning pyre I see the 35-year-old man, standing next to a little boy, both waving at me with sorrow in their eyes.
***Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.***
- Dante’s Inferno