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Rename Ashwathaama


Rename Ashwathaama

Lying on the bed in Covid Care Centre, I was reminiscing my name, and suddenly the voice of the nurse ringed softly into my ears, “Ashwathaama, it’s time for your injection.” I saw the lady in the PPE kit holding the injection syringe and loading that strangely named medicine - Remdesivir. The hospital ward was filled with lethal uncertainty and heavy breaths of infected black lungs. Ray of life was a mirage shining at the edge of the horizon. The world believes that Remdesivir is the panacea for this invisible dart of death, but none is sure about the judgment of God. The nurse cared neither for the patient’s name nor the name of the disease or the medicine. She injected the medicine into the catheter and glanced with an ironic smile which explained that the medicine can be injected but not the life. Honesty in her work is unquestionable but the guarantee of a patient’s life is doubtful. The nurse returned to her desk and I turned my ventilator-covered face towards the wall and started to think again about my name.

“Ashwathaama- a name symbolic of immortality. It has infused the strength and courage amongst humans to fight against all the odds. It has a gigantic role in the Mahabharatha,” I remembered my mother’s words. As I scrolled the WhatsApp statuses, my friend posted a quote from Jonas Salk, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination,….” Gradually, I felt the effect of sedatives and slipped into slumber. I felt helpless and prayed to Lord Shiva to save me. The next moment was a miracle to see Lord Shiva walk down the Himalayas in his majestic appearance. “O! Ashwathaama, your name commands respect and hence I have come to help you” Lord Shiva spoke in his typical divine voice. I was struggling to comprehend my miserable condition, words choking and devoid of senses like Gregor in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Uncertainty lingered on my life which was a gift of heedless human evils. “Ashwathaama hatho hataha?” words resounded in my ears. Lord Shiva spoke, “Human immune system depends on the food and air that goes down through the throat. So, I filter everything through my throat. Everything has to pass through the burning poison and reach the lungs and bowels. And, that’s why people call me Vishakantha. I have brought this Sanjeevini for you. Do you want to try this?” Vishakantha was holding the bowl of poison churned out from Samudra Manthana. I was shocked and perspiring and woke up from the nightmare. “Poison gives immortality?” My question remained unanswered. But, I sensed the truth of Lord Shiva’s words. Now, I wished that my mother should rename me as Vishakantha@Ashwthaama.

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