| Monika Das at GMCH. Telegraph picture |
Guwahati, April 21: A young woman, confined to her hospital bed, is waging a battle against pain and loneliness with little more than sheets of paper and a pen — inking poetry that has found its way into print — while she lay waiting for painful surgeries.
It is room number 25 on the first floor of the new building of the Gauhati Medical College Hospital where 29-year old second year degree course student Monika Das has been her scribbling poems.
This is what has kept her going for the past 16 months.
She was a student of Class VIII when rheumatoid arthritis struck her and rendered her immobile.
In and out of hospital for treatment for the past 16 years, it is poetry that has helped her keep her sanity; her third collection of poems, Waqt Mile To Aa Jaana, being published while she was still in hospital, her home for the past 16 months.
More than seven poems she had written from the hospital bed have already been published in different newspapers and magazines, besides the translated Waqt Mile To Aa Jaana.
Monika, though, isn’t alone in her journey. The Sahayog Trust was constituted by a group of poets, writers and journalists to help her family fund her treatment.
“Each operation she undergoes costs from Rs 1.25 to 1.3 lakh. The GMCH, however, bore the expenditure of the first operation while providing a host of other facilities. The expenditure of the other surgeries was borne by different charitable organisations, including Sahayog Trust,” said Babul, her elder brother.
“I seek solace in poetry to dispel loneliness,” said Monika, who lost her ability to walk 13 years ago.
She was afflicted by the disease in 1995. Within two years, Monika couldn’t walk anymore. “When the pain became unbearable she left school in 1997. We were afraid we would lose her but Monika is a strong person,” Babul said.
“When I was lying in bed for months, alone and despondent, my brother advised me to write. He told me, start writing, it will bring friends for you from across the state. He brought magazines and newspapers for me. It was then that I started writing poetry,” she said.
She has published her poetry collections, Edinor Babe Mok Aponar Preyoxi Buli Bhabok (December 2008) and Tomar Hatot Hat Thoi (March 2009).
“In 2002, when she felt better for a while, she went back to school and passed her matriculation in 2006. She grew more determined by the day. Life to her is now a challenge,” Babul said.
Doctors said Monika may be released from the hospital by May 10.
Till then, her poetry will keep her company.