Free counters!
FollowLike Share It

Sunday 18 December 2011

Burning rage and disbelief - In one week, my kids have changed

Burning rage and disbelief
- In one week, my kids have changed

Subhashish Chakraborty, whose wife Munmun (below) died in the fire, outside AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, on Friday morning. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Subhashish Chakraborty, 42, can still hear wife Munmun’s voice over the phone — 4.21am it was, he remembers precisely to a second.
He can still relate to her sense of foreboding when she told him she would die if he didn’t come and save her. He can still feel his heart pounding as he sat in the speeding taxi that appeared to him slower than anything he had boarded before. He can still see his hand shaking as his thumb searched for Munmun’s number on his cellphone keypad. He can still feel his spirit sinking as her phone continued ringing. He can still recall her incessant coughing in that last call she took. He can still hear the gasps around him as they brought her down through a broken window, lifeless.
For Subhashish, unemployed since a problem in his vocal cords ended his career in music six years ago, how 36-year-old Munmun died has been more difficult to accept than her death. The couple’s 11-year-old daughter Shivamrita, a student of Class V at South Point High School, has gone into a shell. Her brother Rishiraj, 2, thinks his mother is still in hospital nursing a hip injury.
On Friday, The Telegraph accompanied Subhashish back to AMRI Hospitals in Dhakuria, outside which he stood reliving the tragedy and sharing the anger that will never die down.
My mind was a void as I left AMRI with my wife’s body last Friday. Munmun had been lowered by a rope from the second floor a little while ago, yet I was unable to fathom the enormity of my loss.
Today, returning here after a week, there is one dominant emotion within me — anger. My wife was murdered by people who flouted every rule in the book to maximise their profits. They took a chance with the lives of so many people by trying to put out the fire by themselves. It is unforgivable.
Were they insane? I keep asking myself.
I am told the directors have not yet been booked for murder (they have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder). I can’t understand why. If this is not murder, what is? I had filed a complaint with Lake police station, mentioning how the hospital’s negligence had claimed so many lives, including Munmun’s. They accepted the complaint but didn’t give me an FIR number because a case had already been filed against the hospital by then. I will go to court and make sure the charge against the hospital is of murder, not anything else.
Today is the first time I have set foot outside my home since that incident. For the past seven days, I have not been able to think of anything other than what I saw at AMRI.
I had reached the hospital by taxi at 4.36am after receiving a call from my wife. I dialled her immediately after getting off the cab and was relieved when she took the call. But she was unable to speak properly. I could mostly hear her coughing. Every time I called back after that, the phone kept ringing.
I know that my wife was alive till at least 4.36am. I am also sure the fire had started around 2am. So what were the hospital staff doing for two-and-a-half hours? Wasn’t that enough time to move her and the others to safety?
My nephew Niladri Shekhar Chakraborti, a footballer, was able to climb up a fire brigade ladder and reach the second floor by breaking a window. He entered my wife’s ward along with some firemen around 6.45am. Forcing open the door, they found all three patients dead. Even the railings beside their beds hadn’t been lowered. They would have had to jump from their beds to escape, but how could anyone immobile do that?
I soon have to start worrying about things that my wife used to take care of. I need a job desperately, but do not even know where she kept my education certificates. My son has become very irritable. His teacher has advised me to consult a child psychologist. My daughter hardly speaks.
Munmun used to do theatre with the Sangbarta group and I would often visit her at rehearsals in Chetla, where she also ran a photo studio. This evening, I have to go there to attend a condolence meeting.
As told to Rith Basu

No comments:

Post a Comment