Thursday, May 1, 2014

Getting to know Meenabai.

Meena Bai was nineteen years ,seven months in the family way.She worked as a daily labourer in the road and earned all of one rupee and twenty five paise. She became unwell so came to the mission hospital for treatment. The mission people had an unusual way of treating patients .They not only gave medicines and examined ,they also spent a long time talking to patients. Sister Barbara was one such lady who counselled her for a long time.She specifically remembers being told not to keep too many things in mind or worry too much. Life was difficult.Her husband had an erratic work.When there was work there was enough to eat. The hospital ,when she was about getting discharged ,conducted a camp for surgical patients.The doctor asked her to help out in the camp.She still remembers she was employed for fifteen days at a stretch . They gave her all of sixty-five rupees at the end of it. She had never seen so much of money in her life. That is how she started working in the mission. That was forty odd years ago. She still continues to work in the hospital. She remembers the dedication of the doctor sahab then. Every patient who used to come to the hospital gasping used to get mouth to mouth resuscitation. One such patient was rabid. According to her the doctor contracted the disease and became mad himself and so was taken away to Scotland for treatment. She tells me once he recovered he came back to serve again. I express my doubt about it having been rabies in the first place, and she tells me,'ask Ramabai she also remembers.' Off hand she adds, she has a son and a daughter-in-law,she is going to retire in 2015 so she plans to take a premature retirement so that her daughter-in-law can replace her because she needs to feed her kids. I am touched by her naivette and her simple calculation.I just smile.

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