Monday, 29 July 2013


They rushed to the City Central Hospital with hopes in their heart and a prayer on their lips.They both expected a miracle to reverse the worst  fear that their inner mind was forecasting. Shankar Shastri knew his losing  battle with the inevitable but Janaki Shastri had a faint glimmer  of hope as a mother hopes the best for her child. Her unflinching faith in God gave her an opportunity to cling on to the  slender twig of hope.

They reached the Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital and saw through the clear glass barrier that separated them from their only son, fighting a losing battle of life and death.They could get only a glimpse of their  son and were quickly ushered out while the father of the patient was called to sign papers. Janki with a host of her relatives who  had gathered in their hour of need and tragedy sat on the cold metals chairs in the lobby where  a marble statute of Lord Ganesha was installed. Her gaze fell on the idol and she closed her eyes to say a silent prayer as she had done  exactly a month ago.

A month ago .......................

She was waiting patiently at the entrance of their row house craning  her neck to get a glimpse of Raja riding the bike.She garlanded the bike, anointed the black metallic vehicle with  kumkum and haldi (red and yellow powder) and Raja completed the  auspicious ritual by breaking the coconut in front of his prized possession.It was his 21st birthday. It was a gift from his father as he had got a job in a MNC.


A month later he was involved in an accident . His dream vehicle was crushed beyond recognition and so were the hopes of his parents.

Shankar Shastri came out to the lobby. He suddenly had aged , his gait giving a sign of the turmoil raging in his  heart. He came  and sat  close to his wife whose hopes  were balancing on the precipice leading to an unfathomable valley of death. He took her trembling hands into his and without  making an eye-contact with her, closed his eyes and the tears burst the dam of calm composure that he had been withholding. Janki , too cried. The couple without a single word being uttered ,communicated the worst fear. Raja was  declared brain dead. Their only son lay like a vegetable whom  they had  raised so lovingly. Their hopes of getting him married  and playing with the children that he would have sired , a tradition of seeing the family lineage continue has now ended. Shankar Shastri now had a mammoth task ahead on him. Janki refused to hear his pleas as he tried to make her understand. She argued that it was against tradition and she was a firm believer in re-incarnation. She was sure that her Raja would come back to her in some form but this act of her husband acted as an impediment . Shankar Shastri reminded her of the 'daans' (numerous charities) she had done and this was the highest form of donation and they could be sure of Raja 'living' through the various recipients that would enable to revive the dying hopes of others. Finally Janki agreed to her husband. The doctors were informed and they both signed papers for organ donation.


Losing a loved one is terrible and Shanker Shatri and Janki's grief knew no bounds. But they decided to allow the doctors to harvest the organs of their son to enable others to begin life after Raja's death. This is the highest form of donation and some state governments in India are working  towards the success of organ donation. There are various cumbersome laws . Various NGOs , social workers  and doctors  are working towards raising awareness and  making pleas to individuals to pledge their organs after death.

Readers, do share your views on this delicate but important topic?