Ramphal Singh – Mumbai , 2009
I am Ramfal Singh, resident of Borivali East, M G Road, Mumbai. I had gone to Boisar as my wife had not conceived a child even after seven years of marriage and a treatment was available there. In Boisar, I took her to Dr Urmi, who after finishing my wife’s investigations took my blood test. It was sent to Dahanu Road for investigation. When I went the following day to collect the reports, the doctor cautiously called me aside and asked questions about my close family. I told her about my father and brother who were farmers in the village. I also told her that I lived independently and that she could tell me anything she wished to. My wife was asked to wait outside the cabin. The doctor revealed that I had blood cancer. She told me not to worry, but to go to Tata Memorial Hospital and get an investigation done. I was to show her the report after which she would start the treatment. She again asked me not to worry as she would give me Ayurvedic medicines free of cost if I could not afford to buy the same. She asked me not to reveal anything to my wife at this stage but to go back home and rest while she would get the blood re-tested as she wanted to be certain. She advised me to be courageous. I tried to keep a brave face but my feet gave way. I had to literally drag myself out of the clinic. I went first to the PCO booth and called up my employer Mr. Rajesh Jayal in Mumbai who was shocked to hear the news and he enquired why I had the blood test and so on. I broke down and narrated the whole story. He asked me not to worry and said that he would even send me abroad for treatment. He asked whether he should come to my place or if I would return to Mumbai. I told him that I would prefer the latter. The next day I was in my Mumbai office with all the reports. I went to Tata Hospital and met the renowned Dr Tapan Saikia. Once inside his cabin, I broke down as I could not afford the expensive treatment. But somewhere there was hope in my heart.
I left it to SAIBABA to pull me my out of my situation.
I wept and told Dr Saikia that we were childless and my wife would have nothing to look forward to in her life if I were to die. I had taken the sacred vows with her and I felt it was my moral duty to take care of her. I wept so much that my handkerchief and clothes were soaked in my tears. Dr Saikia gave me a lot of courage and assured me that I was in the right place and I would get the best treatment. He told me that there were new drugs available in the market. He also asked me to get my blood tested again as well as have a bone marrow test and to see him with the reports. He prescribed some drugs to be taken if I had pain. Suddenly I felt very weak and could barely walk.
Viji Amma told me not to worry and to be strong.
Within a week I got all my reports and I went to see Dr Saikia again. He prescribed three tablets of Hydrea 100 mg- to be taken half an hour after dinner before retiring for the night. He also typed a letter, gave me some bus numbers and asked me to go and seeViji Madam at the Max Foundation. I reached the Max Foundation office and fell at Viji Amma’s feet. She lovingly picked me up and made me sit on the chair and offered coffee. She patiently heard my story. I told her that I had to give up my studies after Std 8 as my father was in debt due to my sister’s marriage. I started working in a medical store 3 kms away from home in a village named Kasna. It was a semi wholesale medical store and doctors saw patients for four days in a week .I helped with the patients’ prescriptions as well as their purchase of medicines and also collected money owed to my employer. I was so good at my work that my employer was happy and got me two pants, shirts and also enrolled me in Kushinagar College and asked me to pursue my studies. I began managing work, studies and also helped him at home. This way I finished my schooling, Intermediate, BA and MA. But after a certain incident I left him and came to Mumbai and joined Tismati Enterprises as a marketing consultant and had worked for them for the last ten years. I had no savings because all that I earned was sent to my parents and my sister who was a widow by then. I supported my nephew’s education, got my niece married, and also helped anyone in my village who needed it. Viji Amma assured me that I was under her care and that I need not worry as she would see to it that I got the medicine. I was told to be brave and to see my physician every time I was asked to do so. Novartis was going to include me in their donation programme.
Initially I had to see my doctor every week with my CBC report, after which I went every fifteen days, then every month and later every two months. Now I need to see my doctor once in six months. I go to Max Foundation every three months for my medicine.
Now, I do not have any problem whatsoever.
Sometimes when the weather changes, I get fever, that’s all. It lasts for a day or two and goes after I take Calpol. I have a two year old daughter who I have named’ KHUSHI’. I am grateful to Amma and Dr Tapan Saikia and will remain so all my life. Whenever I meet Amma or Dr Saikia, I touch their feet. I feel like giving them something in return but I know I cannot measure up to them. They and all the other staff at the Max Foundation are great. I will always be indebted to all of them. They all are like God to me and I have no words to express my gratitude. If I have made any mistake, I ask them to kindly pardon me.
Translated from Hindi by Vidya S Tahilramani