Saturday Features

Muglan melancholia

Ram Krishna Sarki, of Sangam Tole in Changu Narayan municipality-4, left for Saudi Arabia in February 2010. His family was thrilled, for Ram Krishna would now be able to provide for them in a way he might not have been able to in Nepal. For nearly two years, he worked in the Middle East as a cobbler, his family’s hereditary profession. “He was happy because he was in our own profession in a foreign land, and he was making good money,” says Chature Sarki, Ram Krishna’s father.

Ram Krishna came home briefly for a holiday, delighting his family. They bade him farewell cheerfully one more time as he left once again, returning to the Gulf in October 2011.

Five months later, Ram Krishna had just returned from the day’s work when he began to complain of chest pains. He was rushed to a hospital by roommates, where they discovered that his extremities had stopped functioning.

“We heard that he was without oxygen for about 20 seconds. Then his body parts stopped working. One of the veins in his head had dried up,” says Maya Magarati, Ram Krishna’s mother.

Ram Krishna was in the hospital for three months, during which time, all the money he’d saved up over the past two years dried up. He was sent back home on April 28, 2012. For the past six years, he was comatose, unable to move or function.

Once Ram Krishna’s wife deserted her paralysed husband for another man, 70-year-old Maya took care of her son the best she could, acting as caretaker, nurse and barber. She’d trim his moustache and beard when they grew long, mop up his drool with a tattered piece of cloth and clean up after him. During the monsoon, she made sure he stayed dry, collecting rain water from the shed they have called home ever since the April 2015 earthquake destroyed their house. The Sarki family had planned to start a poultry farm in that shed.

“During the monsoon, all we see are puddles,” despairs Maya.

Seeing their plight, some donors helped build a small hut for the Sarki family.

For Ram Krishna, it was too late. He passed away on May 3.

PHOTOS and text: HEMANTA SHRESTHA

 

 

Published: 2018-09-08 08:09:28