Wednesday, 21 January 2009

One Night in the ICU

I woke up to the sound of someone screaming.

In my heavily-sedated state, for quite some time, the screaming was just so much background noise and I just lay there, passively listening to it. Couple of hours later, when the effect of the sedatives had begun to wear off, I glanced around and could zero in on the source of the bellowing. It was from the bed diagonally opposite to mine, where lay a strapping young man, surrounded by the paraphernalia of monitoring equipment.

He was not just screaming. He was also cursing in general, with lots of wild ranting, partly directed at the nursing staff, and partly at himself. He seemed to be in some sort of delirium, not quite aware of what he was saying or the inconvenience he was causing to the other patients.

I pieced together his story partly from what one of the nurses in the ICU told me that night and partly by using the internet during my convalescence to browse through the fortnight-old newspaper reports that carried his story.

Sreejith, 29 years old, was a CPI-M loyalist and was working as the secretary of a local cooperative society. On 30th December, while travelling on his motor bike, Sreejith was waylaid by suspected RSS-BJP activists and attacked mercilessly. He suffered stab wounds and serious injuries to his head, legs, and hands.

Sreejith’s marriage had been fixed and was to take place on the 28th of January.

When I saw Sreejith that night in the hospital, he had already been in the ICU for over a week. The doctors had already amputated one of his legs and the concussion in the brain made him confused and disoriented. His pulse was unsteady and his BP had plummeted to alarmingly low levels. He was in a critical state.

Even after I left the hospital, I kept track of Sreejith’s condition and felt vaguely relieved few days later when I came to know that he had come out of the crisis and would survive.

For the past decade or so, the northern districts of Kerala, especially Kannur, have seen increasing incidents of violence between the cadres of the CPI-M and the BJP/RSS. Hundreds, mostly misguided young men who know no better, have been killed, maimed for life, or suffered grievous injury in this bitter struggle for supremacy between the two political parties. Mostly, it has been the lowly party worker who has suffered and, in some cases, paid with his life, while his political masters, content to play the puppet-master from a safe distance, have got away scot free.


Razigan said...

Thoughtful one.

Suggest u to forward it to a newspaper or media. People who have to read this has access only to those.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

this is so distressing. and such a waste isnt it?

Vijay said...

wow..must have been tough to witness...
Agree with Cynic...

gauri said...

Very disturbing. The sad part is that these young scapegoats are practically brainwashed when they're most vulnerable in forming idealogies.

I hope you're recovering well yourself. I read your posts quite often - had commented on a Mangalore post a few weeks ago; was told the comment was held for moderation and never showed up :(


Rada said...

@ Razigan: Thanks, but even more damning reports have appeared on local TV and Newspapers with little effect. Sigh!

@ Cynic: Statistics are that more than 3500 such politically-motivated attacks have been reported in the last 15 years. The mayhem continues!

@ Vijay: Yes, it was tough. After suffering through the whole night, the poor man could sleep only by dawn, by which time, all other patients had lost their sleep.

@ Gauri: Indeed! What you state is so true.
I'm recovering well. Thanks.
And so sorry for inadvertently holding up your comment on the Managalore post. The error has been corrected.
Thank you for visiting! :-)

padmaja said...

So depressing... Our country is too deep-rooted in all this muck, that even god cannot save them... I was so disheartened a few years ago, when a group of educated men failed in their efforts to bring decency to politics...

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.