I’m taking a break from my usual kind of posts, as I’ve received some devastating news. I thought I’d share it with you, not because I’m asking for sympathy or because I want to create some drama, but I think many of you can identify with this.
In the Middle East, everyone relies heavily on house-help. If you can only count the number of maid agencies, you’ll be really surprised. Every morning, I see busloads of these women being dropped at different homes. Most of them help in cleaning the house, and perhaps some of them are baby sitters.
We may all well agree that our house-help is essential to the smooth running of our lives, whether you are a high-flying career-woman or a socialite or even a stay-at-home mom.There are terrible stories of how house-help are mistreated by their employers. or even the reverse, of maids from hell who wreak havoc in a household. But sometimes, if we are lucky, our house-help is not a mere “employee” but inextricably becomes a part of our lives, as good as a family member.
Well, I had a lovely lady working for me for almost fifteen years. I don’t want to call her a maid as she was more of a companion and a family member. Bobby is her name, although she has a much more difficult-to-pronounce real name, Bechni Devi. She came to me when I was working long long hours, and she was indeed like a godsend. She blended in with our household from day 1.
Well, I grew old, and Bobby grew old along with me. In the last two years, she found she was tiring easily, so I had to call in for some extra help.
Then this March, after returning from her annual vacation, I saw that her health had badly deteriorated. She could barely climb the stairs now and spent most of the day lying in bed. She took the decision to return just a month after her return. By this time, she was in such a poor state that I had to arrange a wheelchair at the airport.
You may ask, why didn’t I take her to a doctor? Of course, I did. To three doctors, who couldn’t really diagnose what was wrong and gave her painkillers for joint pain.
With a heavy heart, I sent her back. The family took her to the best hospital in Delhi, The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and I’ve just got the devastating news that she has stage 4 cancer of the bone!
How did this happen? Someone who was hale and hearty not six months ago now diagnosed with advanced cancer? She had her medical checkups every year whenever she went on her annual leave. The doctors had given her a clean chit even as early as February of this year. She ate whatever we ate, and lived a comfortable life here- much more healthy and comfortable than what she would have had back home, living cheek-by-jowl with other family members.
Folks, sometimes there are no answers. Life is cruel. She is one of the finest human beings I know. She was not educated (in fact illiterate) but she had wisdom and good sense in plenty. She had weathered many ups and downs in her life, and wanted to spend time with her grandchildren when she returned home for good.
I don’t know what more to say, except that I hope through some miracle she gets better and responds to the treatment. Yes, miracles do happen and I hope against hope that she comes out on top.