(This is the seventeenth part of a short story - Love takes courage) Mr. Karmarkar talked to his family the next morning. He communicated his thought process to them. They all agreed. Rohan told his father that he did not want to get a transplant in this manner. He would not endanger the entire family for this.
Mr. Karmarkar was happy. He headed for Breach Candy Hospital to meet with Dr. Mehta.
When he showed the file to Dr. Mehta, even Dr. Mehta was surprised with the level of detail to which these things are planned these days. Mr. Karmarkar also told him of his family's decision not to go ahead with this.
Dr. Mehta understood entirely. "Let us do this, Mr. Karmarkar. Let us apply for the transplant. Let us ask the committee to hear us out. I will testify myself. Rohan, Kunal and you can also testify. We will plead with them to understand the case. Kunal can explain to them why he is donating. Let us see how they reject this!"
"I totally agree Dr. Mehta!"
Kunal was called in by them and told about the plan. He was not at all convinced. He had heard of many cases with paperwork being rejected. Without the paperwork to prove that Kunal was related, the committee would never approve the donation. Dr. Mehta and Mr. Karmarkar explained to Kunal the extent to which the papers were fabricated. Eventually they prevailed upon him to go with the right approach.
Over the next week, they got all the genuine paperwork ready and submitted it to the committee. The interview date was fixed. On the date of the interview, the trio walked in to the room where the committee was waiting.
After the initial introductions, the committee asked Dr. Mehta about the case. Dr. Mehta explained how he had known Kunal for long now and what a good technician was. He then explained about Rohan, his disease and the reason a transplant would really help him lead a normal life. He explained about Pooja, the fact that they were about to be married when Rohan was suddenly diagnosed with kidney disease. He explained that the family did not have any matching donors and about how Kunal one day walked up to him and told him about his decision.
Rohan went next. He mostly corroborated what Dr. Mehta said about him. He explained how his life would change after a transplant and how thankful he was to Kunal who despite not being related to him or not benefiting from this donation in any way was actually donating a kidney to him.
It was now Kunal's turn. The committee put him a simple question, "Why do you want to donate a kidney to Rohan Karmarkar?"
Kunal began, "Sir, I was born to a farmer in the village of Javkhede. My parents always taught me the importance of doing the right thing. Despite having very little income, my father made sure I was educated. Beyond the fifth standard, there is no school in the village. My father made sure I went to Amalner to complete the rest of my schooling. After my high school, my father sent me to Mumbai were I joined a hospital where my cousin worked as an assistant in the dialysis unit. I slowly learned all about dialysis."
"I soon realized that corruption is a way of life in big hospitals in Mumbai. Everyone from the people who order stock to the ward boys to the managers - everyone is corrupt. People think corruption exists only in Government hospitals. The corruption in private hospitals is on a much higher scale. It is much less acknowledged and talked about. I saw my seniors indulging in all kinds of small corruption. It was easy money. They tried to involve me as well. I resisted at first. But soon, the allure of extra money without doing too much extra work got to me as well."
"I soon grew in my center. I became one of the senior technicians. With increase in my stature, the money I started earning from corrupt practices started increasing. However, every month, I dread the first week. That is when we have just received our salary. Ordinarily, that is a time when we are all very happy. But for me it is a time of dread. The reason is that my father writes a letter to me every month. It usually arrives in the first week. My hands tremble when I read the letter. He extols the virtues of being honest and talks about being grounded despite growing in wealth and position. I read the letter again and again but I am unable to shake off the wrongs I am doing."
"When I first met Rohan Karmarkar, I was very sad that he was undergoing all this at this age. I have seen many dialysis patients in my career. Most of them are fairly old. There are some young as well. The young are either already married and have support in the form of a wife and sometimes, kids. There are other youngsters who are not yet married but they do not have any plans as yet. They are still in college and some even in school. Rohan Karmarkar is in love with Pooja and they were scheduled to get married in a few months. They make such a good couple together. I felt it was horrible that their story was interrupted so harshly by this disease."
"Then I heard from Rohan about how Pooja decided to stay with Rohan no matter what when Rohan asked her to move on. I cried in my room when I heard this. What kind of girl is she? I have seen many people leave their spouses after they get onto dialysis. And here was a girl who was not even married and she continued to stay with this guy! I was really moved by this sacrifice and started thinking of donating my kidney to him. I already knew my blood group matched his. Then one day, Rohan was brought into the hospital in an emergency and had to get dialysis urgently. He suffered really badly that day. That was the day I decided I would donate to him. It would make my father proud. It will at least partly make up for the sins I have committed in the past."
By the end of the testimony, everyone in the room was spellbound. Rohan had tears in his eyes. So did his father. There was silence for a whole minute.
The nephrologist on the panel spoke. "Very good Kunal. I am happy that you all did not resort to the false paperwork we see regularly here."
"Please give us a few days. We will communicate our decision to you", said another member on the panel.