The Woman With (E)lephantiasis

The Woman With (E)lephantiasis

Varun had rushed Anandi to the Damodar hospital after the monkey attack. It was one of the best hospitals in Goa and was frequented by most celebrities in the state. The scratches on Anandi’s face were deep and blood was oozing profusely from them when she was wheeled into the hospital. They were first washed thoroughly with water after which antiseptic cream was applied on them.

The doctor who had attended to Anandi was a man by the name of Peter Ribeiro. After finishing with the first aid, he met Varun.

His first question was, ‘Hello Mr Varun, so you are Anandi Bhairav’s husband. I would like to ask you a few questions. I am being told that your wife is a famous Tollywood actress, and she was attacked by a monkey. I am surprised you know. Monkeys don’t attack anyone unless incited. And from what I can see of your wife’s face the attack must have been a vicious one. Can you tell me exactly what happened?’

Varun narrated his story again. ‘That is indeed funny,’ said the doctor. ‘We have given both anti-rabies and anti-monkeypox vaccines to your wife. They will kick in soon and there is no danger. We have bandaged her face and we are keeping her under sedation for some time. She will be awake in an hour or two and you can see her.’

Varun asked the doctor the question uppermost in his mind. ‘She is an actress doctor. Will she be able to act again? Acting is her life and runs in her blood.’

The doctor sighed and said, ‘The wounds will wear off soon and after that we may have to do a few correctional surgeries on her face. After that, hopefully she will be able to act if not as a heroine at least in supporting roles.’

‘Supporting roles!’ Varun exclaimed. ‘That just isn’t on doctor. She has always been the heroine and it will break her heart to be made to take up supporting roles.’

The doctor smiled and said, ‘We will do our best, Mr Varun.’

After nearly an hour Varun was allowed to see his wife. Her face was heavily bandaged. He pulled a chair by her bed and spoke in a soothing voice, ‘The doctor told me you will soon be fine darling.’

‘Varun, Varun. Will I be able to act again? Don’t leave me Varun.’ Anandi said in a pitiable voice.

‘Don’t ever think I will do anything like that dear. I have spoken to the doctor, and he told me you will be able to act again. It will just take a little time.’ Varun did not mention anything about the correctional surgeries or the supporting roles the doctor had mentioned.

They sat holding hands for half an hour and then Varun signalled to the nurse who was hovering in and out. He looked at her and said, ‘I have to go back to the resort and get some clothes and toiletries we will be needing for our stay here.’

‘Varun, please don’t leave me here. Take me with you.’ Anandi begged.

‘I will be back in a jiffy, dear.’

The nurse spoke to Anandi in a soothing tone. ‘I will look after you, mam. I am on duty for the next eight hours.’

Varun patted Anandi’s shoulder and gently disengaged her hand from his and stepped out of the room. He went past the lobby and the hospital gates and engaged one of the cabs waiting nearby. As he was about to board the cab, he noticed an old woman in rags moving towards him. Her right leg was swollen with filariasis commonly known as Elephantiasis.

She was close to him now and Varun felt an emotion akin to pity and revulsion. He was just reaching into his pocket for his wallet when the woman giggled loudly and said, ‘There is no need for that. Your wife will never get well anna. She will have to give her pound of flesh. You run now. Otherwise, you will also die.’

By then the security guards of the hospital came running and shooed the old woman away.

‘Don’t take any notice of her, Sir. She loiters around here and even claims she is actually a gypsy and can foresee the future.’

Intrigued and deeply disturbed Varun stepped into the cab.

                                                                                           To Be Continued...

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter E

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