Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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Location: Monroe Twp, New Jersey, United States

TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

She made me bankrupt

Most of the men's hostels in IIT Madras are sandwiched between two small gates at the rear end of the beautiful IIT campus. The hostels are named after the rivers in India and spread over one kilometre stretch between the rear gates. The gates do not allow heavy traffic as it has width just enough for a bicycle or motor cycle. One of this gate, situated close to the hostels where graduate students live, opens to Velacheri and the other one, which has an easy access for the under graduate students, to Taramani, two slums where mosquitoes have a better standard of living. I was living in Brahmaputra, probably the hostel with bigger rooms and an easy access from the upper floors to the hostel mess hall, closer to the Velacheri gate.

On a beautiful nice evening in Oct 1998, a rich mosquito from Velacheri made a visit to my hostel room. As a matter of fact, mosquitoes never required an invitation or security check to visit the hostels. Hence she* came, accepted my hospitality, kissed my cheek, drank my blood and left the room in haste without saying thanks. In fact she had brought me a present called Malaria which I could know about in a few days time. For a day or two, I was having fever that would come and go and temperature used to peek during evenings followed by a sudden dip that would make me shiver. Usual prescriptions for fever did not bring any relief and when I could not handle the chills anymore, I wanted my friends to take me to the IIT hospital.
The students ward was almost full, with a bed or two vacant. The ceiling fans were on and seeing that I promptly requested for a bed in the staff section, just opposite to that of students. Fortunately the request was granted and I had the whole ward for myself as there were no other patients. Friends used to take turns, to keep me in good spirits, including one woman who later became my wife. She brought me food everyday from the home of Gangadharan sir who was doing his PhD but living in a quarters with his wife. Narayanankutti went to the extent of washing my clothes. It took two complete weeks to recover and get discharged from the hospital but many more weeks to get back to normal health.
I wanted to thank Gangadharan sir and decided to take him for lunch or dinner. I was indebted to him, like many others. He told me that if I really wanted to repay the debt, I should help people in distress and need. He wanted me to have the debt unpaid. His wish was to get the debt multiplied so that the good deed would carry on. I realised for once and all that I had become bankrupt where money would never have a say.

* Malaria (n.): An infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected FEMALE anopheles mosquito.


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