Tuesday, May 17, 2016



Life Kashmir   )


Deen Baksh , a Gujjar from Kangan wants to go inside the hospital but is stopped at the gate by a guard in uniform.
 “ O, Khan! chalo baahar. Ye zenana haspataal . Idhar tera kya kaam. ’ meaning   ‘O, Khan! Move away. Get out of this place. This is a maternity hospital. What brings you to this place ?”

“ Idhar mhaaro humsaaya Nissar Chowdhary ka beewi aayo. Reechh naal zakhmi . Jenab haaput zakhmi keeno . ’ meaning  ‘ Sir, My friend  Nissar Chowdhary's wife has come here. She has been attacked by a wild bear. ”

“ Achha ! mein sab bolega woh kidhar hota hai . Pehle udhar se paanch cigarette laao,  Wills Navy Cut. ‘  meaning    ‘ Okay, I shall tell you everything. First, get five Wills Navy Cut cigarettes for me.”

Deen Baksh brings five  Navy Cut cigarettes. The guard puts four in his pocket while the fifth he puts under his lips and looking  towards Deen Baksh,   he says :

“ Idhar bachaa paida karne wala haspataal. Haapat se jang ka haspataal hedroon. Nawa Bazaar. Chalo. Chalo apna rasta naapo varna idhar labour room me bharti kar dega aur tum bhi khalaas ho jaayega. ‘ meaning  ‘ This is a maternity hospital. Those who fight with a wild bear have to go to Hedroon hospital, Nawa Bazaar. Now move away. Move away fast otherwise, I shall get you admitted into the labour room and you will also deliver a baby. Quick and get lost .”


The relatives of the indoor patients are gossiping and smoking in the hospital corridor. The sweepers are cleaning the floor. It is 9 a.m. Senior doctors are about to report for duty. One can see only junior doctors. They look tired after completing their night duty. Some look sleepy. Most of them are about to move out. The hospital attendants are active. They are moving in the wards and going to those beds where patients expect a discharge from the hospital. They are demanding
 ‘ Kharach’ or ‘Baksheesh’   or ‘ Chaai ’.

“ Aessi moklaaw . Aessi gatchhi na duty khatam . Aessi chhu pataa neirun  .  meaning   ‘Settle our things now. Our duty time is coming to end. We have to leave now.’ ”

 The close relatives of some patients are distributing fresh ten rupee notes in the wards. They are expecting a discharge from the hospital after the doctors conduct routine morning round. They have almost packed up.

Inside the hospital, there is an ideal environment; friendship, brotherhood and mutual help between attending relatives of patients. They share, tea, medicines, cigarettes, news and gossip. Altogether a different, secular and tolerant world.
New patients are being helped to move in by their relatives. Patients from the city are accompanied by two or three relatives while patients from rural areas have ten or more people with them. Sajja, a poor patient from Magaam ( a village on Gulmarg road ) cries loudly as she walks the corridor :

“  Hatha Sidda ( short name of Mohammad Sidiq,  her husband ), goya faaleijj. pyoyaa aatishuk. kathh taawanus laajithhus. …………………Me paekizi na nazdeek, athha laageizi na me zaanh. Dugg hai chhum … Maaeji.’   meaning  ‘ You Sidda. Let you fall a victim to paralysis. Let you fall victim to Syphilis. You have put me to this grave pain. Don't ever come near me. Now don’t ever touch me.  Mother ! I am in great pain .’ ”

Sarla Mattoo from Habba Kadal is uttering in a low tone :

“ Doctor saa'b me kareituv operation.   meaning   ‘ Doctor! please take me to the operation theatre .”

Maimoona  Rafiq from Soura is helped to go up the first floor of the hospital by her mother. She is biting her lower lips and saying to her mother :

“ Thuff kartam . Me laej treish . Chamaa ?    meaning  ‘  Hold me mother, I feel thirsty. Should I take water ? ”
I see Baja Singh, the head peon in our bank with his niece. He has come from Khanpur Sarai village in Kashmir. Baja  Singh’s wife consoles the patient :

“Balaai lagsaan . Sab changaa hosaan ’ meaning ‘  I die for you . Everything shall be fine .’ ”


Dr Farhat:

“ Why can’t you keep silent and allow our staff to do their work? This is a hospital, not a Bazar. If you cry like this and disturb others, we shall have to take you to the operation theatre. Doctor Reeta, she is already in her labour pains. And this Kulwant Kaur will also deliver normally. Her labour pains are distinct. I think we shall have to prepare these two patients for caesarean delivery. Put them on the drip. Watch their vital signs .”

When Dr Farhat leaves the  labour room, the junior doctors feel relaxed and tell Sajja:

“ Did you listen to what the doctor sahib was saying ? Now keep silent and endure this pain to save yourself  from the surgery .”

Sajja looks towards the ceiling of the labour room for a moment and then starts crying :

‘ You Sidda . Let you fall a victim to paralysis. Let you fall victim to Syphilis. You have put me to this grave pain. Don't ever come near me. Now don’t ever touch me.  Mother! I am in great pain .’
  Some young nurses giggle. An elderly nurse says,

“   Let her deliver. She will forget everything. ”

Baja Singh’s niece is also feeling great discomfort and changing her postures repeatedly on her bed. Maimoona Rafiq and Sarla Mattoo are silent.


I see Mohammad Sidiq ( Sajja’s husband)  outside the labour room. He keeps moving aimlessly in the corridor and smokes. With every shriek and abuse of his wife, he feels proud like a conqueror. Baja Singh’s wife is suddenly informed to bring new clothes for the baby. She feels relieved and rushes inside the labour room. Suddenly a nurse comes out and cries :

“Who is Mohammad Sidiq?”
“ What is the matter ?”
“ Your wife has delivered a male baby. Where is your mother or her mother ? Give me the clothes for the baby. ”

“How is Sajja ? Wait for five minutes. I will  bring someone to read Kalima into the baby's ear.”

“ Okay. Hurry up. I am waiting. Keep my Chaai / Baksheesh/ Kharach ready. Nothing less than three hundred rupees.”

And Mohammad Sidiq is suddenly agile with this happy news.  He throws the half-smoked cigarette on the floor and rushes out. An elderly woman holding a newborn baby comes swiftly to Ashok Mattoo and says:

“ Yemiss par ta huz bhaang. Khodaa saeb kaernai jaanus khae'r.   meaning ‘ Please read Kalima into this newborn baby's ear. May God grant you good health.’ ”

Tahir Rafiq is surprised. He offers his services instantly.

Dr Reeta Darbari comes out of the labour room. Ashok Kumar and Tahir Rafiq are smoking and discussing something. They throw their cigarettes on the floor and rush towards Dr Reeta Darbari. Dr Darbari   says:

“Mr Ashok Mattoo, you had brought recommendations of our senior Dr .P K Sopori. The doctor has also seen the patient. Your patient had false labour pains. We shall have to keep her under observation. She has been put on the drip again. And you are Mr Tahir Rafiq I presume. There was a call from Molvi Farooq’s residence for your patient. Molvi Sahib was personally seeking her welfare. At the moment, I can tell you that she is sailing in the same boat as Sarla Mattoo. She has also been put on the drip. I believe we may have to perform a caesarean procedure upon both the patients. Let us see how they progress. Worry not. Just relax. We are here .”


The moment Dr Darbari leaves, the guard at the labour room gate comes out. He asks for a cigarette each from Tahir Rafiq and Ashok Kumar Mattoo. Tahir Rafiq pushes half a packet of cigarettes in guard’s pocket. Ashok Kumar takes out three cigarettes from his ‘ Four Square ’ brand packet. He holds one within his lip and passes on one to the guard and one to Tahir Rafiq. He then takes a match stick box and after lighting his cigarette, passes on the burning match stick to the guard and Tahir Rafiq. The guard takes his first puff and says :

 “ You both are like my own brothers though you belong to the city and I am from a village. Please don't mind if I tell you the truth. Why don't your wives curse their husbands during labour pains? I don't understand this simple thing. They make no effort for their normal delivery. They sit silently making no noise and all this behaviour delays their normal delivery. To go for Fataafat  Khalaas ( quick normal delivery ), you need to speak foul and curse your husband aggressively during labour pains. You need to speak in a  rough tone like the simple illiterate women from our villages. Education and decency do not help here in normal delivery. Education is the biggest enemy of this normal Khalaas (non-surgical delivery). Education takes away Bardaasht ( capacity to endure )  from us. That is why educated Pandit and Muslim women from the city go for operation or cesarean delivery over here. My best wishes for your patients. May they deliver without operation! Don’t forget my Baksheesh / Chaai/ Kharach when your women have their Khalaas. This way or that way they have to deliver. My name is Bashir Ahmed Tota. You can keep my dues with canteen contractor Ghulam Rasool if you don't find me around.”

 ( Avtar Mota )

Lal Ded is a 700 bedded lone government maternity hospital and tertiary facility in the valley of about seven million people. It is an expansion of old 100-bed maternity hospital at the same spot.  The hospital faces a  huge rush of patients not only from Srinagar city but also from villages and remote corners of the valley. At any point in time, Approximately 2000 patients are seen admitted against an intake capacity of 700.

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.