It was awkward to work in a place where all you could see was people screaming and dying. One such person I was confronted with was Anita, a teenager, who suffered third-degree burns. The left side of her neck, face and hair were burnt to the bones. A spurned lover splashed a glass full of concentrated sulphuric acid on her. What remained was dripping flesh and charred bones. A beautiful girl, who was crowned Miss Photogenic in her college was permanently disfigured. She had become half blind, her hearing was impaired, throat toasted, and tongue burnt. Her soundless cries vented out as tears. A month and seventeen surgeries later, her senses didn’t improve. The pain was still a conscious throb. She could communicate only by writing. That’s how she gave all her statements to the law. Her family started living in penury. More surgeries were required. Her continuing misery and two-face visage made me thank God for the life he gave me. Her struggle was getting tougher. She was a courageous fighter, but she couldn’t let her family die with her.
During my routine visit one night, she gestured to communicate. I held a notepad as she wrote in broken letters ‘e u t h a n a s i a’. The ground shook below my feet. My hands trembled as I tore and trashed the paper.
“There is nothing I can do, Anita. The law doesn’t allow. They want you to live.”, I said with a thick throat holding her hand and slowly stroking it. Her quiet cries filled the long silence that ensued.
Anita’s hollow eyes posed the same question every night. I knew how her intense pain crippled her bit by bit and I couldn’t see her suffer. One night, a sudden rush of emotions overpowered me. Fear and disgust tripped. Kindness and pity arrived. I injected a 10 ml air bubble into her drip and left. Her perpetrator gave her a life sentence. I just ended it.
Since then, my conscience worked overtime giving me sleepless nights. Pangs of guilt left me cold making it difficult to move on. One night at the hospital, I wrote my confession in an email to the Dean. Before I could click ‘Send’, I was startled by cries of Sonia. Her diagnosis reported cancerous growth of cells on the surface of her cervix. The tumour had grown, she bled abnormally and her pelvis throttled with pain. The virus caused heavy vaginal discharge, urinating issues, bowel problems, and a swollen left leg.
I took this as an escape route. Maybe Satan wanted me to save Sonia too. All she expected was an intravenous to melt in her blood and end her ordeal in a quick, painless and distinguished fashion. Again the law thought otherwise. They wanted Sonia to die in agony. Continuous chemotherapy had made her fragile. Like Sophia, her struggle was getting tougher every day, but she wasn’t ready to give up. On one occasion, she finally whispered to me through her oxygen mask. “I don’t want to live.” A deluge of tears spilled from her beautiful eyes. I knew how much distress she had bore. With weight on my chest and shivering hands, I removed her oxygen mask, sat back for a few minutes, placed it back and left.
By then, I had buried my conscience in its grave and wore a smile to work every day. For years, how many I don’t know, I continued to kill. It was agonising to see a four-year-old girl wailing because her innocence was assaulted, a recently married lady torched with blazes of greed, a would-be mother giving birth to a stillborn baby, and a 7-year-old bravely fighting leukaemia.
People know me as a doctor, a saviour, a guy in white coat, but in reality, I am a cold blooded murderer. Call it luck or the Devil’s favour, the law never got to me. But in my own court of justice, I can never acquit myself. I had a responsibility bestowed upon me, but I used my power against the law to sin instead of save.
Every night, fangs of agony inject poison of remorse inside me. My dead conscience nurtures nightmares of every killing. My hands shudder as I write this confession. No one, except you the reader, will know my ’sins’.
Okay, so where do I post this? I am here in some anonymous ward. It looks familiar. Seems as if I have been here for weeks or months. The door’s locked from outside. Why am I dressed in white pyjamas? Where is my coat?. My mind feels frozen. May be I have a condition. Oh, my eyes hurt. Maybe I haven’t been sleeping. There appears to be freedom outside this window. One big leap and I will join all those whom I killed and ask – Are you feeling any better?