- by KParthasarathi 22 Dec 2008.
The phone rang. It was Rangan who said “Do you know Raju Mama has been admitted in Apollo hospital last night? I hear his condition is critical. The doctors are planning for an open heart surgery which may be tomorrow itself. I thought I should tell you since you are very close to him.”
I asked him “Who told you? Was there any call from his house?”My thoughts went to Raju Mama, my mom’s youngest brother. An extremely pleasant and jovial person, he had a special liking for me amongst his many nephews. Possibly it could be for the reason that I resembled him or play cricket, a sport he loved very much, in first division level. We used to attend cricket matches together whenever they took place in Chennai. We used to differ violently on many matters relating to the game and players. He had strong likes and dislikes which coloured his judgment. Be that as it may, this common interest brought us together.
It was with shock that I received the news. He was in his fifties but enjoyed good health with no complaints of blood pressure, sugar or cholesterol that he had ever mentioned. Nevertheless, heart attacks are silent killers giving no advance warning and come when most unexpected. He had young children, some still school-going and one daughter to be married. I did not think he had saved much or had any paternal property to fall back upon.
When I rang up his house, there was no response. This gave me worry. I rang up another cousin. He also mentioned that he had heard it from his niece and that in all probability the surgery could take place the next day. He added for good measure that he had news the surgery was a major one with fifty percent success rate. He also added that Mama was in intensive care unit.
It was 3 pm and I decided to rush to the hospital immediately. I started praying that Mama should come out of this ordeal unscathed as he had huge responsibilities towards his family. As I went inside the sprawling and jam-packed lounge of the hospital, I saw Vignesh talking to a relative with a cup of coffee in his hand. He was laughing and showed no sign of anxiety. I rushed to him asking “How is Raju Mama? What is the latest news?” He asked me in bewildering tone “What happened to Raju Mama? Is he here? Any problem? I came here to meet a colleague and happened to see our relative here.”
I could see none else known to me there. When I approached the help-desk dealing with admissions, they could not locate easily under the name of Rajagopalan in ICU.They said one by the same was in room L418. When I rushed there, I saw Mami standing outside talking to someone.
“Mami, what happened? Why did you not seek my help? Is Mama free from danger? How is he now and when is the surgery?” I asked her. “What are you telling? Mama is fine. He had this problem for a long time and was suffering silently. When it became unbearable, he went to the doctor. He said surgery is the only option and is slated for tomorrow”, she said.
"Who is the cardio vascular surgeon and who is the cardiologist attending on him” I asked anxiously. “What are you blabbering? Why cardio-doctors for piles operation? It is very minor and he will be sent home very soon. Go and see him inside. He is ordering all sorts of dishes from the canteen and enjoying himself”
When I went inside, the TV was blaring. He had a plate with pakoras and heartily welcomed me. “Nanu, don’t be upset with me. I didn’t want this piles business to be known to all. My children have all gone to Coimbatore for a marriage. So I chose this time.Mami stays here with me. Please don’t publicise this,” he said.
“Mama, I was greatly worried when I heard you had a serious heart ailment and was to be operated.” “Which fool told you? I told a few days ago that idiotic nephew, I forget his name readily, that I had heart-burn after eating the molagai bhajji (Hot delicacy with chillies). When he perhaps heard that I am in the hospital, he must have embroidered on that news to tell his cousin, graduating my problem to a heart ailment. May be in two days someone would have told you that I had kicked the bucket.”
News travel fast and often get garbled according to what one wishes to hear. A perfect misunderstanding without any basis, this one was. The moral is: do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. The lesson is to check with the source and not trust second and third hand purveyors of news. Most rumours have no legs to stand upon. So many relationships are broken for believing what all we hear without checking the veracity of the rumours we are given as news