I started taking interest in the family after they had gone through terrible times about 3 years back, news travels and that's how I got wind of the same. So I sort of, unknowingly, exchanged more sentences with her and her family than I did in the past. I, again unknowingly, got more drawn to them, got closer. Things seemed to be okay for a while until mid-way through the last lockdown.
Shampa aunty started getting abdominal pains, heavy &continuous bleeding - but she refrained from going to a doctor. She was convinced that something major was wrong health-wise and with her elder son Kaushik's Higher Secondary exams looking large, she didn't want to rock his boat, so to say! But things got out of control and early this year, saddled with her ESI card, she visited the hospital and only to be tested and prodded and learn that she has multiple tumors (yet again) and she'll need major surgery (though doctors will try their best for microsurgery) and also have to undergo histectonomy. Aunty is barely 40 years of age. Worst of all, the Manicktala ESI has become a COVID center so, at this juncture, they can't operate her in those premises until June 30, at least. Doctors also say she can't wait that long. The operation has to be IMMEDIATE - immediate being May 15. But because of organizing funds, family, and what not - the operation will now be on May 28, 2021.
She had a major operation at age 14, at NRS hospital, when the doctors had removed a 7.3 kg tumor. This is why doctors are worried to operate upon her again - but there's no other choice. The family is distraught, yet again the older son is in a fragile mental condition though he and his mother are each other's strength and pillar and all are, thankfully, putting up a brave front. Our angelic Kaustav or Ganesh - as we all fondly refer to - is just 6 and wise beyond his years, despite all his tricks and naughtiness. It just breaks our hearts.
Aunty's father, who's is a priest in a village, nearing the Sunderbans, has probably mortgaged some farmland and raised some funds. But there are way too many heads of expenses. This is how we have segregated the same:
1. The obvious hospital expense -a package of INR 50,000
2. Incidentals - travel, blood bottles, medicines, and healthcare beyond the package - INR 10,000
3. Sustenance for 2 months - INR 20,000 (June & July). Aunty won't be able to go to the office - so no work, no pay!
We've raised some 5700 rupees in the last 5 days, through calls and text messages. We've not had the time to put our heads together until last evening (Monday being my day off) and come up with a plan. And these are trying times - trying for all of us as a community at large. It balks us to pick up the phone and ask for financial help - who knows how the other person is placed, health-wise and financially, during such times. not to mention all the varied fungus that is also on a rampage.
But then we see aunty and her family and Mintuda, her husband, who is so lost without her amazonian strength. And here we are, writing out this story... our appeal.