琳谷在早晨5点醒来，翻滚她被虫蛀坏的床垫 – 那床垫是她其中一位雇主用过不要给她的，就用铁箱搭着。她的两个小孩在下垂的吊床中辗转难眠。这天很平静但是琳谷稍有点问题。到了中午她要给四户人家做事，送小孩去上学，洗床单并晒乾。到了下午回家後，从吊床下面拖出炉子煮午饭 – 两块煎薄饼、两个青辣椒、还有她其中一位雇主昨晚用过的一团辣豆，琳谷得提前筹备晚上的事情：去一躺粮食配给店，再为4户人家做事。
WORLD’S END – PART 1
世界的终点 – 第一部份
Rinku woke up at five in the morning and rolled her moth-eaten mattress – a hand-me-down from one of her employers – and placed it by the steel trunk. Her two little children tossed and turned on the sagging charpai.
琳谷在早晨5点醒来，翻滚她被虫蛀坏的床垫 – 那床垫是她其中一位雇主用过不要给她的，就用铁箱搭着。她的两个小孩在下垂的吊床中辗转难眠。
The day was breaking but that was the least of Rinku’s problems. By noon she’d done four households, dropped her children off to school, washed and hung to dry the soiled bed sheet, and brought home two sloshing jerry cans of water from a truant Jal Board truck.
By late afternoon, after having returned home, dragged the stove out from under the charpai and cooked her lunch – two chapattis, two green chillies and a dollop of last night’s dal, a hand-me-down from one of her employers, Rinku was gearing up for the evening ahead: a trip to the ration shop, four more households, dropping her kids to the tuition and making dinner for her family.
到了下午回家後，从吊床下面拖出炉子煮午饭 – 两块煎薄饼、两个青辣椒、还有她其中一位雇主昨晚用过的一团辣豆，琳谷得提前筹备晚上的事情：去一躺粮食配给店，再为4户人家做事。
By nightfall, Rinku was nearly there. She had accomplished the arduous task of having to live one day less from the thousands more that lay in store for her. The brisk walk from her final household was scarcely a few meters from the finish line when Rinku felt a sudden pain. She clutched at her stomach with both her hands. Then she doubled over and collapsed on the road.
Then her problems began.
I am standing outside the Casualty of one of the largest hospitals of India – The Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. The famous tomb of Safdarjung is barely two kilometres further down. It is well laid-out, with manicured gardens and a magnificent entrance to welcome the visitors – mostly foreigners – who descend from Volvo buses carrying packed sandwiches and mineral water bottles.
我站在印度最大间医院的急诊室外面 – 在新德里的萨夫达加医院。有名的萨尔达加陵仅仅占地2公里，布局严谨，有修剪整齐的花园和一个雄伟的入口迎接游客 – 大部分是外国人 – 他们从运送塞满三明治和矿泉水瓶的富豪集团巴士上下来。
【转自网路：萨夫达尔陵墓 – 這座建于18世紀中葉的陵墓，是由阿瓦德的納瓦布為父親薩夫達爾疆修建的，這也是莫臥兒王朝衰亡之前，最後一座具有那個時代風格的建築。因此對莫臥兒王朝曾經的輝煌，是一個華麗而空洞的紀念。】
But the visitors who arrive at the Hospital that bears the erstwhile Governor of Oudh’s name don’t descend from Volvo buses. They don’t carry packed lunches or mineral water bottles. They haven’t come for sightseeing, or to admire the well laid-out gardens – there aren’t any. They have come with a singular purpose: to delay the end to their miserable lives, if only by a day, a week, a month. For many, though, this Safdarjung will turn out to be their tomb, a final resting place that no one will come and admire.
但是前往那个有着昔日总督奥德名字的医院的人，并不是什麽富豪集团巴士的游客。他们不携带满满的午餐或矿泉水瓶。他们不为观光而来或只是欣赏布局 严谨的花园 – 并没什麽。进入医院的人为了一个目的而来：拖延他们悲惨生命的结束，哪怕是一天、一星期、一个月。虽然对於许多人来说，萨尔达加将会变成他们的坟墓，一个没有人会来欣赏的最後安息之地。
When I’d visited Safdarjung Hospital last – this was five years ago – it was to check up on Rinku. She had been operated immediately upon arrival – a chunk of her intestine that had burst because of an ulcer had been removed by the Safdarjung doctors – and there she was, all sewn up, lying on a steel bed in a ward that was teeming with life just like on our railway platforms. Her two kids were beside her, so was her husband, now sober.
我上一次拜访萨尔达加，已经是5年前的事 – 那一次是给琳谷作检查。她一到达就立马动了手术，她的小肠一大块破裂，因为胃溃疡已经被萨尔达加医生移除。她的两个小孩在她旁边，还有她丈夫，现在清醒了。
I remember the scene like it was yesterday. I am standing at the threshold, a little stunned. Neha, Rinku’s seven year-old daughter recognises me. She tugs at her mother’s salwar. A tired smile forms across Rinku’s face. I nod my head, indicating to her that I’d better see the doctor first.
The recollection is vivid because of what happened next. I didn’t have to go far in search of the doctor. He was in the next ward, which reeked suffocatingly of phenyl – an overcompensation by the cleaning staff to keep the dreaded MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infection away.
这段回忆因为接下来发生的事历历在目。我没有跑老远的去寻找医生。他位在下一间那充满了令人窒息的苯基臭气 – 由一个严密包裹的清洁人员跟可怕的MRSA (抗药性金黄色葡萄球菌)隔开的病房里。
The doctor’s desk was of battered wood and his chair of torn cane. Patients were trying to break the queue they had formed grudgingly in front of his desk. The doctor was young, perhaps in his late Twenties, and he was strict. He had to be – the line now snaked well beyond the ward and spilled into the corridor. A steel bed was placed adjacent to the doctor’s chair. A patient was asked to jump on to it every now and then – jump because the bed was high and the step-ladder was missing.
医生的办公桌木头磨损，他的椅子藤条断裂。病患们试图破坏医师桌前已经勉强才排好的队伍。这个医生很年轻，可能快要三十岁，而且他很严厉。他又 必须这麽做 – 现在排队的蛇行已经远远超出了病房的规模，而且人潮涌进了走廊。一张铁床被摆在医生办公桌的旁边。病患时不时被要求跳上去 – 要用跳的，因为床很高，而且床梯不见了。
I took my time reaching close to the young doctor. Then, all of a sudden, I found myself standing on top of him. He was scribbling prescriptions. His hand moved furiously and expertly, as a doctor’s hand usually does. He wore surgical gloves. The gloves had blood on them.
He looked up and knew at once that I wasn’t a patient. This irritated him – a few precious seconds were lost because of me. I stepped aside, and he was once more among his patients who, like the petals of a carnivorous plant, engulfed him in a flash.
The wall nearby advertises an ICICI-Lombard insurance policy. It is comprehensive: if you die within seven days of getting a vasectomy your family is richer by Rs 2 lakh; if a few weeks longer, then only Rs 50,000. If, on the other hand, you face Jatilta or difficulties after being discharged, there’s the princely sum of Rs 25,000 to be had.
【译者注：上面是由印度卫生和家庭福利部用於计划生育的保险政策。由印度最大的私营保险公司 ICICI Lombard负责。】
20万卢比 / 每宗个案在出院後7天内死亡
50,000卢比 / 在8 – 30天内结紮手术後死亡
25,000卢比 / 用於治疗术後严重的并发症费用
Sterilisation has been excel-sheeted. Not long before they rename the scheme Sanjay Gandhi Nasbandhi Bima Yojna.
The humidity outside is stifling and I decide to venture in, negotiating my way through abandoned wheel-chairs and metal stretchers and unconcerned guards.
My guide, Dr Kandwal is running a few minutes late. I move my limbs, frozen and rooted till now, to wander. I see a patient being carried by his relative like a gunnysack and then off-loaded onto a bed that already has two patients.
I see a woman sobbing as her husband’s pulse is checked by a doctor who, if he didn’t have the stethoscope round his neck, would appear to be a Class 12 student.
I see that the doctor is diminutive, but not when he opens his mouth, which he does often to scold a patient who interrupts his pulse-taking every few seconds.
I see the plaster peeling off the walls, I see the tilted and corroded water cooler, I see a small flat stone underneath one unsteady leg of a bed that has three young boys arranged head-to-toe.
I see that they lie stiff, fearful perhaps of what awaits them.
I see patients slap the prescription pamphlet, I see doctors slap the prescription pamphlet, I see nurses slap the prescription pamphlet, and yet no one utters a word, as though the rude gesture of slapping a prescription pamphlet held aloft were some signal understood by all.
I see no ventilation to speak of, none from a window or a ventilator at least.
I don’t see the Health Minister, I don’t see the Planning Commissioners, I don’t see the High Commands or their Commandos.
I don’t see the Casualty. I see Platform no. 1 at the Nizammuddin Railway station.
This is how India welcomes its sick and weary to a hospital. This is how we slipped in our ‘I’ in BRICS and fooled the world. This is what makes us the aspiring superpower that we dreamt of becoming ever since an idea whose time had come, came.
This is us – naked, scruffy, sweaty, rude, impatient, in pain, angry, hopeless, searching, longing, about to die, about to live. This here is the real tomb of Safdarjung, and it carries his soul that never found peace.
How can a govt. which fails to provide health security for all citizens boast about food security? Cong and BJP equally responsible for sowing seeds of poverty and use the poor to stay in power.
Sir, sometime one of your column makes us smile and amused on your great sense of humor and then suddenly the other column makes us feel bad and again amused on the deepness of your heart and power of your pen. The situation of our Hospitals and healthcare is even more worse when we compare this to services provided in govt hospitals in rural areas (since I have spent 18 years in rural area)..one doctor takes care of whole hospital, who consider himself as king and patients as slave..He will come to see patient when he wishes and will leave to home again when he wises..*He tells you- “Would you please shut up I am doctor and I will know about your problem” when you try to tell him what problem you have or what you are suffering from*…
This is called Journalism, compared to tabloid reporting on other channels. Kudos to your portal for not bowing to dumb journalism…
Sad State of Affairs. Remember going there when I was kid in 80s. Compared to today’s it was better. Thank you so much for highlighting true picture of Safd. Hospital and standing up for truth and objectivity…
I am plus 70 in age,after reading this I cried at the callousness of the people who govern us.I remember my father who is past gone also cried at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947,when we were all glued to the radio to hear that we are free people after being slaves for nearly 1000 years!!!!cry my beloved country as you have been abandoned by your people
But the British ruled us only for about 300 years, they left our country after that????? How did you get this figure of nearly 1000 years??
before that we were ruled by Muslim invaders..
Oh my god! Is there any hope for our country? ” Hell” must be Disney Land in comparison!
Another Bill, another amendment, another day in Parliament.. and people.. real breathing, living people dying all around!!
A good article yet again!!. It is increasingly becoming clear that the nation is failing its own people. Every time, we ask ourselves where are we headed, there only seems to be darkness. Even empathising with the poor and downtrodden in this nation brings out so much anger as to what the nation has done to its subjects. How have we sinned to be meted out this shoddy treatment?