Untouchable in Pune: Mixed media by SAVI SAVARKAR
Untouchable in Pune: Mixed media by SAVI SAVARKAR
  Two in the next world
 

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  Sitaram Yechury
  Omprakash Valmiki
  Rajendra Yadav
  Malkhan Singh
  Omcherry
  Abhayanand
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Rajendra Yadav

Ink on paper by BIPIN KUMAR

Brothers, I have found ease in the next world. Let’s set aside the complicated question of whether this is heaven or hell. Suffice it to say that the doctors bought me my ticket from the hell of this world to that of the next.

It happened like this — I was scheduled to undergo a complicated operation. A government surgeon would handle it. But I learned that he was from the reserved quota. In other words, there was no question of him being either capable or skilled. I sought the protection of a young, presentable and clever doctor in a famous nursing home. The fees and other charges took the starch out of me. But my family decided to gamble on it. If my life could be saved, they reasoned, I would get it all back. But I died on the operating table. Just bad luck, I suppose…

Now, in the next world, I have learned that the young doctor had made his way through the medical course by greasing palms with lakhs in cash and grabbing the feet of ministers and officers. And the day he graduated, he had collected a dowry worth crores and set up this nursing home overnight. Who knows where he had found the twenty-odd doctors who manned it. He must have recruited them in the hope that they would not be like him.

The doctor’s young wife had committed suicide because she could not extract enough from her parents to meet her husband’s needs. The day the doctor operated on me, he also made an alliance with a highly placed and prosperous family for his second marriage. And yes, the drugs which he had prescribed for me were fake. They were from a chemist’s shop conveniently located in the nursing home, established so that patients would not have to rush hither and thither to get their medication. So you see, I was fated to die.

Anyway, I’m fine here now. I think I’ll look for the doctor’s first wife and strike up a friendship with her. Poor dear, she must be somewhere hereabouts.

Translated from the Hindi story ‘Do Divangat’ (2006) by Pratik Kanjilal

 

One of the originators of the New Story movement in Hindi literature, Rajendra Yadav is the Editor of ‘Hans’,
an influential literary magazine in Hindi. He lives in Delh