“Wee woo, wee woo”! The ambulance siren could be heard from far. The society guard opened the gates and let it in. “Screeech”…it halted in front of her tower.
Immaculately dressed as always, she stepped out and climbed in without any hesitation. The guard always gave her a heartfelt salute. He had not forgotten how she had saved his son from an exceptionally bad bout of diarrhoea and dehydration.
He had often witnessed her rushing in the middle of the night to help some resident in distress.
Mrs Sood looking from her balcony recalled how she had administered emergency medicines to her unconscious husband and stayed up with them till he regained consciousness. Mr Iqbal, out on his post-dinner walk, watched and thanked the Almighty for sending her in time for his daughter’s preterm birth.
How lucky they all were to have her in the society!
The following morning, news of the fatal pandemic reaching the city was all over. Everyone locked themselves in their apartments. The society premises were fumigated, entry restricted.
“Thup Thup! Clang Clang!” The towers echoed with the sounds of claps and thaalis. Her daughter jumped in excitement and her old mother proudly shared the video, making her smile within the folds of the two masks. She would be home soon and get some much-needed rest.
“Wee woo! Wee woo!” The familiar sound of the ambulance attracted everyone’s attention this time.
“Honk…HONK!”…the noise didn’t budge the guard. Nor did her exhausted face peeking out of the window.
Mrs Sood didn’t step out into her balcony. Mr Iqbal buried his nose in his book.
She understood. She cared. She waved at her daughter as her helpless mother came over to deposit a suitcase.
“Wee…wooo!” the fading sound ensured her departure.
How unlucky they were to have her in the society!
Unable to go home, she volunteered her services to the hospital, putting up in the cramped quarters with horrendous food.
A month of gruelling shifts with a shortage of safety gear and innumerable casualties later, it was now the last day of her quarantine post duty. She had managed independent accommodation for her family.
Enthusiastically preparing for the reunion, strange dizziness and tightness in the chest overcame her. “Thud! “
“Wee woo, wee woo!”The now unfamiliar sound of the ambulance awakened the society on Sunday morning. Everyone witnessed the masked men opening the vehicle’s backdoor to show a coffin to a little girl and an old woman.
The guard stood stoic like the iron gate.
Rrrrrr!A deafening roar from above diverted everyone’s attention. Mrs Sood, Mr Iqbal and others looked up.
As the distraction disappeared, their gaze now came back to the scattered orange and pink petals where the ambulance had stood a few minutes back.
“How lucky is she to get this honour!!”
Meanwhile, a post mortem report somewhere lay ignored.
Cause of Death :
Cardiac Arrest due to severe dehydration/exhaustion/anaemia
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