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I have been receiving phone calls, mails, etc., after friends learnt of the news of Shanta's accident. At 11 am this morning, there was a frantic call from another friend that blood was urgently required. After asking around, my friend Vishaka and her friend, without a second thought, accompanied me to the hospital. We met Shanta's brother who was there with two other friends. Luckily they managed two units on time, and we we were asked to stand by for another surgery (one of many) tomorrow. I sent a mail addressed to all in the office asking if there were willing donors. Some people have been so forthcoming.

My friendship with Shanta goes back to our days in The Times of India in 2001. The time flies. She was a confidante, an agony aunt almost to most colleagues -- earnest, hardworking and trustworthy. There were times when we would be irritated with her slowness, but she was a joy to work with because she would never refuse work and would always pitch in if someone did not show up. We shared an extra intimacy -- coming as we were from the same hometown, Gawahati, and our families having met too. We hadn't met for the last one year or so, but were in touch on phone off and on. A week before the accident, I had spoken to her. Seeing her in this state today leaves me in an utter state of disbelief. I haven't gathered the guts to see her at the ICU, but her brother and other friends, who have met her says she is aware and responding positively. When the doctors explained to her that her leg was to be severed to save her life, she responded "go ahead." I salute her bravery.

The reaction of people around me is noteworthy. Some are so nonchalant, some terribly moved and disturbed and some are plain inquistive. When I got the news, I couldn't contain my emotion and while discussing this with other friends, I distinctly remember one colleague who was too engrossed in his story to even turn around and react. Accepted not all people are the same and, hence, react differently, but to keep mum and not say a word is, again, disturbing. Have human beings become so feelingless in the pursuit for goals? Or, have we become so organised in our vulnerabilties?

I was seething in anger the other day on the way back from the hospital when this woman, who offered to give us a lift back to work, left no opportunity to gossip amid her packed car of friends and strangers, "Oh Shanta, isn't married na? I think there was talk of her doing so..." I mean, how in the world can one choose a moment as this to satiate one's thirst for prattlings? And what's it to her if she isn't married? Does that make her less fortunate or worse? Later, I aired my disgust to a colleague who was in the group but she casually replied "Oh yes, she is quite blunt." But blunt is not the word. So hard-wired are gossips in some people that they can sink to any lows, anytime, anywhere. It's seriously sickening!


Shanti Thokchom said…
Indira, you are doing a great job of being by Shanta's side at this time of her life!!People become so numbed & maybe thats why sometimes there is no reaction from them!! My prayers& sympathies to your friend Shanta!Do all you can to make her feel loved & cared for!!
Shanti Thokchom said…
It is indeed sickening to even know that some one would go down that low to gossip about a person's marital status even when that particular person is in the ICU fighting for her life? I say thats not called bluntness but total lack of respect for a fellow human being!!What does it matter if Shanta was married or not?Its nobody's business.It was her choice!!Let the poor woman recover from her injuries & give a good bashing to that one!!
Unknown said…
yes life is indeed unpredictable! i felt sad reading your blog, but indira there is no point in getting angry with others insensivities,this is the time to pray and put up a brave front for the sake of your friend,she needs your support and friendship,ur being there by her side is what matters most. i will pray for her quick recovery.

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