“Don’t worry, everything would be fine,” I assured Debolina as she wept on her bed ready for her next chemotherapy in the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital. I could see the tears coming out from her eyes. However, she was not as weak as she appeared today but the future of her 3 year old continued to haunt her even as she struggled to survive these days. Little Dabbu also ensured her that he will be a good boy in the absence of her mom and would not do anything that would hurt her. Debolina wanted Dabbu to be taken away before she went for her final round of her sessions. So, only Subodh, Debolina’s Husband stayed there while I along with Dabbu started our journey back to home from Parel to Vashi in Navi Mumbai.
I bought Dabbu his favorite Kinder Joy as well as Crax chips and sat in the cab which was waiting for us outside the hospital. “Chalo Bhaiya” I told the driver. While Dabbu got busy eating and playing with the toys in the Crax and Kinder Joy, I saw a happy couple crossing the road and went into flashback.
It was year 2006 and I was doing my Post Graduation when Debolina and Subodh shifted next to our home. Since, both of them were working, they often kept their single key at our home and that is how I was introduced to them through my mother. Debolina was a perfect modern women – She was gorgeous, fashionista, well-educated from a prestigious college and had a decent job. To my surprise, she was even a good cook and had a great sense of beautifying one’s abode marvelously. Subodh was a perfect match and complimented her well.
The guys in our housing society often eyed Debolina and would envy Subodh. On the other hand, girls would want a husband like Subodh who was not only very caring but also a devoted husband. As the days passed, I slowly got to know the couple well. In Debolina, I found my sister who had recently married. While Subodh was like an elder brother always ready to help with my career woes. Sunday was always a fiesta time when in lunch Debolina prepared my favorite Kosha Mangsho (Mutton dish), Aloo Pasto, Bengali Fish Curry and in the evening me and Debo would chat and have girl fun while Subodh would either make some continental food or take us out for dinner.
I had become a part of their family and shared some idyllic moments. A year later, Debo gave birth to Dabbu. Debolina was a career-oriented women but she would not compromise anything with Dabbu and soon left her job. Subodh who always wanted to be an entrepreneur could not quit his job to pursue his dreams because he had to support both Debo and Dabbu and also pay the house loan. Yet he was more than happy to compromise his dreams for his little blissful family.
Soon 2 years passed, I completed my graduation, had a break-up and started working. Debolina was completely married to her household work and in bringing up Dabbu while Subodh concentrated in his work. Subodh was now promoted on a much senior position and was sent to the headquarters in the New York City. Dabbu was growing up and since he was a special child, Debolina was 24×7 behind him, stressed with his health and habits. Besides, she was all alone since her love, Subodh was busy earning grands to support the house and Dabbu’s medical bill.
In the process, Debolina forgot that she needs care for herself too. She would often ignore her health and physical conditions. In addition, since Subodh was not here, she even had to look after the bills and other work which normally men around the house do. Any peculiar pain and symptom was sidelined by her as Dabbu became her priority and she casually ignored any warning signal of her body thinking it might be stress, strain or the daily pressure.
Days passed and soon it was a big day for Debo and Subodh as little Dabbu turned three. I still remember the day, it was January 1st 2010. Subodh was here in India to spend a month’s time with his family. But Fate had his own plans. Debo had a very serious stomach ache, so much that she could not even stand. We soon hospitalized her. After the doctor’s inquiry we came to know that Debolina was having such stomach aches from long back. However, she ignored thinking it would be due to other reasons. After the initial round of check-up, the doctor revealed to us that the pain Debolina has is not any normal pain but that of Stomach or Gastric Cancer and she is on the last and final stage of her life.
Subodh was shattered to hear this but he could not reveal his pain to Debolina who was battling for her life. Plus, Dabbu was just three and a special child. How would he and his son do without their major support. Soon, Debolina’s fight began. This was her second chemotherapy.
The flashback was interrupted by the driver who parked his cab near my building. After an hour Subodh gave me a call only to declare the fateful news that Debolina, his lifeline was no more. She had tried her best but her fate was decided. So, within three months from Dabbu’s birthday and roughly after two rounds of chemotherapy she left us alone and brought an unusual void in our lives, especially Subodh’s and Dabbu’s.
Three years has passed by, Dabbu is now six years old studying in a hostel in Panchgani. He is a big boy, and very matured from the boys of his age. He is best in his class and a performer. Every summer vacation, Subodh comes to India only to spend 60 days with his son. The house next to us which remains isolated all through the year once again lightens up with laughter once the duo comes. However, they both miss Debolina, the doting wife and caring mom. I have seen both of them sobbing when alone but trying their best to hide in front of each other. However, if Debolina had not ignored the initial warning signals of her body the outcome today would be different.
The medical inquiry showed that Debolina had witnessed symptoms of all the three Stages of Stomach Cancer. From early stage symptoms of Heartburn, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, to symptoms of later stage like bloating, nausea, weight loss, diarrhea and bleeding. However, Debolina continued looking after her family neglecting her health as all the mothers do. Had she seen a doctor in the early stages without ignoring the warning signal the story of her family would be different today. Subodh would neither live a sorrowful life nor little Dabbu would have to stay in a hostel deprived of his parents love. The little family would be blissful and not devastated as it was today.
The moral of the story being, a woman is the pillar of the house, a strength that no money can buy. Plus, she is the one who can easily hold things together that are beyond the capabilities of men. So, it is very important for every woman to take intense care of her body and health without ignoring any peculiar warning signs and symptoms in their body.
No matter how busy you are or what the priority list is, take care of your health. Your health is important. It not only affects you but the entire family that depends solely on you. If you are hale and hearty, your family is, but if you ignore your health the future of your family goes on toss especially the children’s life. Life without a mother and wife is no more less than a hell for the survivors.
If today Debolina would have survived, Dabbu’s life would be much easier and so would Subodh’s. I haven’t seen him smiling expect the time he plays with the little matured Dabbu. The little bundle of joy wants to become a doctor so that he can save all the patients from dreadful diseases and every time he sees the doctor in the Colgate Total Ad in TV he yells that I will become like him one day and save all the mothers of the world.
Find more about Colgate here: http://www.myhealthyspeak.co.in/