Monday, 7 September 2009

The Grass is not always greener on the other side!

I am sitting with a toothache because of some exposed nerves in my tooth and it made me reflect upon how many people in India are not privy to medical care at all. If anyone even so much as murmurs about government hospitals being places where the poor can receive medical attention and comfort from their ailments, I think my grumpiness from my toothache will erupt ! I feel so angered by the Shree Sayajirao Gaekwad General Hospital that bears the name of the late ruler and which has decayed into a hell hole. It rambles across prime land and is a white elephant in a city that needs to re organise much of it's infrastructures of civil support.
On one of my few visits to this dreadful place to visit a patient I was confronted with aborted foetus's in a ditch that dogs were feasting on. This macabre sight was so impactful in its disregard for all that we consider civilized and I felt emotionally drained for weeks. Also because it was extremely difficult to get anyone to even listen to this complaint, let alone act upon it and find a solution.
The poor in India have no voice because their poverty imposes a shroud of silence upon them from the fear of consequences, and the rich couldn't be bothered by the trivialities of others, painful or otherwise. The middle class are so caught up in upward mobility, and so whose left to really champion for the Aam Admi's medical care. Rahul Gandhi dear boy, are you listening? Isn't this grass root enough for you?!
The real Gandhian era seems a thing of the past with benefactors doing service via mobile clinics that provided health care to the poor and destitute and often in remote and far flung regions in the country . Today its owning cricket teams and selling dreams through beauty pageants and bollywood fantasies that are the philanthropies of the rich and famous. Pus and the smell of rotting flesh, or bloated stomachs and deceased people do not make for photographs for the jet setters and the page 3 groupies.
As I sit pampered by friends and family and even my cat (!), I know how fortunate I am to receive the care and attention for the silliest niggly ache to the times of more serious ill health; and that the medical care I take for granted is accessible to me only because I can afford it. I know that the British National Health Service is a debatable issue for many as to whether it is praiseworthy, but that all British citizens who can provide proof of residence have access to free health care is something worth applauding as far as I am concerned.
My family often raises their eyebrows and I see amusement flicker across their faces every time I remind us of how fortunate we are to live the lives we do, because every where you glance around you in India on the roads, you cannot escape the disadvantaged and their plight. Who knows why science produced you in the chromosomes that you took shape from, but I feel hugely responsible that we choose not to ignore that India is not a country of equal opportunities for all. So in moments such as these where I sit with a throbbing tooth, I know in fact that I am truly one of the lucky ones : To be encircled by those who care for you and to be able to provide for oneself, is indeed a great luxury in life.

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