“Heart break is an inaccurate term I feel. It is your soul that splinters. It is up to you how you pick up your torn pieces again and ultimately negate all wrong moves that stymied your journey towards happiness.”

It was the year 2013 and I was imparting my usual spurts of divine counseling to a friend who just had a bitter breakup. It seemed the be all and end all factor. It seemed I knew all the general ethos of heartbreak industry. Well….at least till now. A Facebook notification was waiting for me. Rashmita Gupta had pinged me nearly 2 years after we passed out from our batch of Journalism and Mass Communication. I was little puzzled at first but then chose to go along with the conversation.

“Hey Cutie. How are you? Married?” She asked.

“Hey I am good. Nah…no trace of being married and I am enjoying my single-hood to the fullest. What about you? In Kolkata?”

“No..I am in Delhi”. She responded.

“Great. Doing job there?” I thought the conversation is going to head towards that boring zone of how much you have achieved—and how much I have achieved.

“I am here for my treatment”

“Treatment?” My yawn was interrupted midway.

“Yes.. I am suffering from blood cancer so here at AIIMS since last 6 months.”

“What? You are kidding right?

“No dear. Why will I joke about something like this?”

And my mind went numb just like an ECG reading going flat.

I was already battling my mom’s relapse of breast cancer at that time. With this news, again, my peace of mind was precariously eroded and it precipitated to an impending breakdown.

I typed like a fanatic. “Ohh shucks. How is that possible? I am feeling out of breath on learning this.”

“Chemo is going on and it will continue for next 2 years. I am a bald girl now. Hahahaha”

I was enormously impressed that despite discussing such a critical situation she still had her finger on the pulse of humour. Just like the old Rashmita we knew.

“Hey don’t say like that. Being bald is not that important. Important is that you should come out of this perfectly. Even my mom underwent chemotherapy so I am fairly accustomed to the process. The bottom line is that you should fight like a tigress and you will I know.”

Our chat continued for another 30 minutes and we signed off. But that was just the start of our occasional online nudging of each other’s well being. She notified me of the number of chemotherapies she was undergoing. 95 was the number when last time we spoke.

 

rash

Yesterday was again one such day. I was talking to my mom on phone and she was confiding how the regular doctor visits to hospital are getting more painful with each passing day. It was churning up my sanity to the extent that I was not able to think of anything else. Later in evening, my husband and I were having a philosophical talk on life and the nauseating hardships that comes along with it. Suddenly I saw a post from Rashmita that said “Watch me on Zee Bangla today on Dadagiri.” For all my non-bengali friends, Dadagiri is a game show hosted by none other than our dada Saurav Ganguly. I am always unmindful of TV shows in general, but something inside today told that I have to see her.

I called my husband and we both started watching the show reveling in the pleasure that there is someone known in television today, completely unaware of the fact that this will be more than a game show.

rashmita 1

She came and conquered not just the fellow participants and the host, but each and every person who get bogged down with little adversities of life. I once told her that fight like a tigress and she truly did.

The way she put a brave front on the show while talking about the day she got to know about her medical condition; how doctors told her that she has only 20% life expectancy; how she went for painful bone marrow test 4 times; how she took 160 chemotherapies in the tenure of 2 and half years; how some of her close people stopped coming to their house thinking that it is some contagious infection; how a firm rejected her on knowing that she has blood cancer, but hanged Yuvraaj Singh’s and Manisha Koirala’s picture outside their conference room with the tag line WE ARE PROUD OF YOU; how she kept repeating that she is a conqueror and will emerge strong out of it……It was so surreal……..and finally she won the game show.

She was so phenomenal that even Saurav Ganguly was forced to come at her place and shake hands to remove the stigma that cancer is contagious. It was bloody applause worthy. Pardon my language but I can’t control my soaring heart and gasping breath even while writing it. The show ended with her holding the trophy in hand and we having tears in our eyes. An hour before, we were discussing that how life can bring burden of prejudice and loathing at times, without having an iota of contemplation that life gives extreme highs and lows to everyone. It is up to us how we fight our torn reflection and see ourselves in the mirror every single day with the same zeal.

rashmita 2

We sat in front of the television as the end credits rolled and my mom called me.

“ I saw your friend today on Zee Bangla. If she can take 160 chemotherapies and refuse to give up, I will not let 8 chemotherapies breed fear and helplessness in me anymore.”

Many knotty issues got straightened out today. There are so many perspectives to ponder upon with that one hour episode and one phone call from my mother. Rashmita Gupta is an inspiration. And no matter how much I write it will always be less. My tank of angst is empty today.

Thank You Rashmita!

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Comments
  1. Akshit Choudhary says:

    Quite inspiring. Like Rocky says in his movie Balboa, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
    My best wishes to Rashmita and your mom! They are real fighters. 🙂

    • @Akshit: Very true. I read somewhere “Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can! and I will”. I can so much see the grit and determination in both the people mentioned in the write up above.

  2. Pronotosh Debnath says:

    Hi Indrani,

    Just read your blog about the genuine warrior like “Rashmita Gupta”.

    Myself being an oral cancer patient (since May 2015 and at this age of just 30) can truly feel the magnitude of pain (mental & physical) and social isolation she had gone through. The way she hold up herself while explaining the ordeal throughout the show and the grace which was there in her way of presenting herself is simply incredible.

    My prayer and best wishes to Rashmita and off-course to your mother too !! Indeed, everyone’s life is a story for others.

    There is a saying which I immensely believe in and that says ” jiske paas sacha umeed aur housla ho woh lakh baar har ke bhi haar NAHI sakta”.

    God Bless 🙂

    P. Debnath

    • @Pronotosh: First of all, thank you for taking out time and reading. Often we feel bogged down with slightest of problems but when I look at people with this level of grit and determination then everything else seems inferior. I salute you for your courage to combat this disease at such a relatively young age. Keep fighting and continue to inspire everyone around you. God will pave a new world of hope for you. God bless 🙂

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