My brother calls me from the village to tell me that a relative of ours is sick and was brought to Thimphu Hospital. He wants my other brother to go and see him because he says, he keeps asking about him. But I know, I have to go and see him too. I personally feel very down when I’m sick. I feel like I’m all alone in the corner of the world without anyone to care. So I know how emotional someone feels when he/she is not well. I decide to go. Yes, I go and see him with my cousin. He seems well, except for a very swollen belly. Doctors have not been able to diagnose the disease. He and his relatives are beginning to think it must be something to do with ‘dhu’ (poison).
We talk to him a few words, tell him to take care and we walk out of the Surgery Ward. We also decide to leave because there are so many other people from our village coming in to see him. The bed is becoming rather too crowded. The new ward’s policy is that there should be only three attendants at a time.
Next, we go to see another patient from our village. He is a young lad who lost both his parents. His parents died young. And I know, his family wasn’t doing quite well. There were a few families in my village who did not have enough to sustain themselves and in my opinion, his family was one. I felt sad that now, he and his siblings had to face the world alone, without parents or elders to guide them.
He is here with problem on his right leg. His leg was swollen and when he was referred to Thimphu Hospital, he was suspected to have cancer. And so he was sent to Kolkata but there, the doctors said there was no cancer. So he came back without doing surgery. He says, there is not much pain now, except a little on the foot. He says he can eat much better too and as he talks, I can see his hope of getting better and going home. He has been sick for more than six months and earlier his right leg was completely numb. Doctors thought it could cause paralysis and might have to amputate it.
He has his eldest brother with him. He stays in Punakha. I didn’t know he stays in Punakha. I remember, he once went to school with me in the village but later, he dropped out. He was seen as a kind of a rustic fellow. I remember, I used to fear him like we fear the gangsters. As I leave, I take his number and I tell them that I will call them. I tell them that I would be able to get them lunch or dinner on a weekend. And I promise to myself that I will go and see him again, soon.
Reaching home, I am haunted by the picture of two young boys in the hospital with no other relatives. I ask my mother if they have no relative at all in Thimphu. She tells me a name of an influential rich person from our village being related to them. Then, why isn’t that man visiting them? I wonder. But then, I tell myself that, the world isn’t always fair. If they do not see the potential of returning their kindness, people most often choose not to be kind. Sad as I feel at this fact, I accept. But I tell myself that I going to see them again.