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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mumbai Malaria

This is a story I wrote almost 10 months back, when I just recovered from malaria. Was reading back found it worth posting.

In October 2008 I fought a severe attack of malaria, which made weak enough to realise the power tiny mosquitoes hold over an ever progressing human race.

All these three decades I thought I was invincible to malaria. I have survived it all. In my University days in Allahabad, on the banks of the Yamuna and surrounded by 600 hectares of agricultural land, where mosquitoes were omnipresent, I survived.

They sucked litres of blood from my body, but I was never victim of their dread. Four years in University made me ignore them and gave me the confidence to venture into mosquitoes territory without any fear.

A year in my journalism school in the hills of Dhenkanal, Orissa and another year in the of southern districts of Jharkhand, all falling in the malaria prone corridors of the country, cemented my confidence that I have some inbuilt resistance to mosquito related diseases.

In Dhenkanal many of fellow mates in the hostel would lost to the mosquitoes face but I was unscathed. In Jharkhand when I was into my unfulfilled social engineering dreams, the situation was alarming. In the 36 villages I was working everyday some or the other house will have a malaria patient.
Many of the didis in the 60 self-help groups I was working with would be absent on weekly meets. Either they themselves would be ill or their children.

I have seen with a weak and guilty heart many of them losing lives to the dreaded mosquito related disease. The poor guys had no option but to rely on the local quack, for which some of them had to walk as much as 60 kilometres.

But today I fear a mosquito more than ever. Also my utopian believe – Indian metro cities have no such old world oriental diseases as malaria – died for ever.

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