The Ailing Angel

We, me and my friend, were basking in the warm winter sun after a sumptuous lunch. Lying on the lush green grass, in the midst of the garden, we were enjoying the bright day. At a distance monkeys hopped from one branch to another. Butterflies busily sucked nectar spreading their wings every now and then. Birds twittered and played around us. We reveled in the beauty that lay in front of us.

Towards late afternoon, we heard fearful shrieking from inside the house. It jerked us from reverie and we ran into the house. We frantically looked out for the voice. It was her mother’s anguished cry. Chasing the voice we reached the room located in the corner of the house. She was sitting on the bed side holding her ailing father’s hand that was quivering.

The room was cold, dimly lit, with a small window on the left wall. There was a room heater placed at the other side. The only furniture in the room was a bed and a side table. Lying on the bed, wrapped in a dirty blanket was an old man in eighties. He had a freckled face, bald, half open eyes, parted lips, gasping and shivering. The room emitted a strong smell of mustard oil.

We quickly ran towards him, covered him with more blankets and telephoned the doctor. He was going to be there in half an hour. My friend and her mother turned stone as his conditioned worsened. I kept myself alive, jolted my friend and ordered her to bring mustard oil from kitchen. A similar experience in the past had taught me to rub the patient’s chest, palm and feet with warm oil to generate heat in the body and restore normal breathing.

Taking the lead and praying silently, I asked everyone to start rubbing his hands and feet. Thank god! It helped. After fifteen minutes of constant application of oil his body calmed down.  We heaved a breath of sigh.

My friend’s mother got control over her and asked the doctor about his whereabouts. Soon he was there. After examination he recommended immediate hospitalization and appreciated our presence of mind in giving first aid.

After everyone had left the room, I stayed back and looked at the old man. He was lying peacefully with his eyes closed. His face had an angelic disposition. He glowed in that dull room. Slowly he opened his eyes and flashed a faint smile at me. Feebly he raised his left hand towards me in a gesture of blessing. I thanked him and left.

The old man passed away after two days in the hospital.    

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