Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Memoriam

For what is it to die,
But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?
-Kahlil Gibran, from "The Prophet"

There are so many things that I thought I'd write about.. the story of a little girl named Pushpanjali in a small remote village, just one among the seven siblings, who had never been outside that village, never seen the 'world', who never hurt anyone and who had the smile of an angel. No, this isn't about sentiment. Although I was one of the last people to see her alive when I drove her and her parents to the district hospital, this isn't about my feelings.
Its about the way she died.
Of jaundice.
Here we are, at the cutting edge of medical science trying to find cures to all those scourges of planet earth - malaria, AIDS, cancer and we have children in our villages dying of jaundice!! Is there any reason why we should not hang our heads down in shame?
Perhaps, the most disturbing thing for me was the stoicism with which her parents took her death. It came from an acceptance of the fact that such things have always happened and will continue to do so. There are six more children in the family. And
that is why there are six more and not just one more. Deficiencies in basic healthcare, high child mortality rates, low nutritive food, no hospitals in remote places, no doctors in the hospitals, no medicines... ahh.. issues issues issues... maybe someday we'll start doing the right things..
maybe the next Pushpanjali will live..

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