Cancer didn’t kill her will,red-tapism did
Diagnosed With Deadly Disease In Matric, She Made It To M Phil; Now Runs From Pillar To Post For A Job
BATTLING FOR LIFE AND LIVING
Srinagar, Aug 26: Sitting pensive at her humble dwelling in congested old City here, she often goes through contents of two files that narrate her life as she turns the pages one-by-one. One set of documents – mostly merit certificates and impressive marks cards –highlight the brilliant academic achievements of this M Phil scholar. The other set of documents is about her battle with cancer – the dreaded disease – Saqinah (name changed) was diagnosed with when she was a class 10th student.
Till 1999, she maintained just a file, the academic one, dear to her, where every new document would make the family proud again and again. By autumn of that year, the family was excited. Saqinah and her parents were curiously waiting for the day when she would appear in the class 10th examinations hoping to see the file go more colorful with her matriculation exam results.
THE TWIST IN STORY
But before the eventful examination, Saqinah started running high fever, which declined to recede despite various treatments for ailments like typhoid and viral infections. As the exam days came closer, higher the mercury rose on the thermometer, prompting the family to get worried about her health.
Saqinah, however, didn’t lose courage and managed appearing in the exams despite being terribly sick. Soon after the examinations, she underwent various medical examinations.
And before her much awaited class 10th results would be announced, came the bad news that the teenager was suffering from cancer.
THE MEDICAL FILE
The disease left this family of four including her brother with broken heart. By now another file, this time about her health, made way into Saqinah’s life, only to be more precious than previous one for it pertained to her life.
By the time, the class 10th results were announced the girl was undergoing cancer treatment. Though the meritorious student and family was least bothered about the academic results as her life was at stake, Saqinah’s marks sheet did not remain unimpressive. Despite being ill during exams, she had bagged distinction with 76% marks in matriculation examination conducted by J&K State Board of School Education.
BITTER REALITY TOLD
The doctors at SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar where she initially underwent treatment did not want to hide the ailment from the patient. More so presumably because of the side effects of Chemotherapy,the treatment which often leaves the patients more panicked because of the drastic weight and hair loss and other complications.
“They (doctors) did it very tactfully by telling her ‘Beta there’s a small problem inside your body to get rid of which we’ll make you lose weight and hair for sometime till you get well’,” recaps her father.
Within months the family had to shell out lakhs of rupees to continue the costly treatment. Saqinah’s father, the sole bread-earner and contractor by profession exhausted all his financial resources and borrowed heavily so that money didn’t erupt as hindrance between medical treatment and life of his daughter.
THE NEW HOPE
By May of 2000, there came good news for the family that the girl could survive but with a note of caution that she would need to undergo regular checkup so that recurrence of disease, if any is checked.
Being declared “cancer free” by doctors brought a new hope for Saqinah and she resumed her studies joining class 11th with Science subjects.
In between her studies, she needed follow up medical care, like the one in 2008 when she had to undergo treatment at AIIMS New Delhi. “We took her wherever there was a hope of treatment,” says her old turning father flanked by his homemaker wife.
NEED FOR JOB
Braving the ups-and-downs of her health, she completed her postgraduation in the emerging field of Environmental Sciences. And realizing that the family’s economic condition wasn’t good because of expenditure on her treatment, which cost over Rs 30 lakh, Saqinah pressed her parents that she would work “at-least to earn for her future expenditure on the costly follow up treatment.”
“We never begged before anybody by looking for charity through means like announcements in auto-rickshaws. So I too agreed with the views of my daughter more so because we have exhausted all our resources and borrowed heavily obviously on interest from banks,” confides the father, hiding his tears.
Looking ahead for job, the family approached Union Minister and NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah and narrated their woeful tale before him.
Official documents reveal that Dr Abdullah was courteous enough to forward the case on compassionate grounds to his Chief Minister son, Omar Abdullah.
“I have an application here as Ms XXXXX (name withheld) who has XXX cancer had has been treated for the same in the BR Ambedkar Institute of Rotary Cancer Hospital New Delhi. According to reports of the SKIMS she has come out of this disease for present. The parents of the girl have undertaken all treatment of her.
Now they feel she may be given on priority basis a job in the Higher Education Department keeping in view her qualification. Kindly look into this case on humanitarian basis and get it examined in your Education Department,” Dr Abdullah recommended to Omar on June 15, 2009.
In response, Omar acted courteous like his father and forwarded the letter to the then Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed writing a note that “Kindly see Dr Sahib’s recommendation and adjust this most deserving case.”
TEMPORARY MENIAL JOB
After some months, she was given a job at Directorate of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at consolidated wages of Rs 8000 per month. “I would be asked to staple documents, something which a peon could do. But I never hesitated and worked dedicatedly,” the girl recaps. She was however shown the door after six months.
The family again approached the authorities. After two to three months she was again asked to join the SSA office. “But this time within three months she was shown the door. When we asked why only three months, the Madam official replied that there was delay of some months in her getting the appointment order,” reveals the family.
Since then Saqina is jobless. But she did not lose heart instead she utilized the time to complete her M Phil. Also she qualified prelims of the prestigious Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) examination hoping to be an officer someday. But again there came a twist ahead of the Mains. “I had to suddenly undergo follow-up treatment in New Delhi,” she reveals.
For now this girl who braved the dreaded ailment is often concerned about her future. And so are her parents. “We are getting older and older with each passing day and her brother is settled outside. Who will look after her when we die?” these questions haunt her parents as Saqina looks pensive turning pages of the two files, which narrate the painful story of her life!
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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