A Terrifying Tumour Tale: A Woeful Woman’s Jaded Journey

Kashmir’s cancer chronicles are getting horrifying with sudden disclosures and the shocking spike. A recent case in Srinagar saw a woman patient making an unsettling confession about the disease.

SHE aimlessly roamed the bustling Iqbal Park Road in Srinagar in one summer day and caught everyone’s attention. There was something about that woman with sunken eyes, skinny body and parched face that turned heads around.

But despite her blatant distressed state, she conveniently concealed the signs of the dreadful disease she was carrying inside her head.

The woman’s street slog ended when she boarded a bus. Her ensued phone call literally dropped a bombshell inside.

Tell mother that I’m diagnosed with tumour,” she informs someone with an unshakable voice cascading from her parched lips. “I’m travelling to SKIMS and they might admit me for some days. Tell her not to worry.”

The inflection in her voice did not complement the seriousness of her situation. It felt like she was someone left with no hope to live and her disease was yet another tragedy she had to experience.

Her indifference narrated an unsaid story that made the people around her perplexed and intrigued to know the reason behind the numbness she poured.

An air of sympathy surrounded the vehicle and passengers started whispering among themselves to get certain answers that they did not expect to ask the stranger or receive answers for.

Upon disconnecting the phone call, she swiftly stretched her near crippled body on the ragged bus seat to find some comfort. She was unexpectedly intervened by a stranger who complained about her uprightness in putting forth her medical condition to the family.

An eerie silence grabbed the surroundings that broke only when she tried to put her emotions into words.

She introduced herself as Zoon—the moon—who wasn’t even a pale shadow of her name. She was just a slogger in the swarm that routinely floods the streets of Srinagar.

A native of Budgam, she had left home early morning with her medical reports to meet a doctor in the city. But the results put her into a jaded journey.

She was diagnosed with cancer and was advised to get admitted in the hospital, as soon as possible.

Zoon voiced the tale of her tragedies as if trying to be heard once, even if by strangers. Every word that poured out her mouth detailed her dreadful life.

She adjusted her gown that seemed to slip off her shoulders depicting her sunkenness. The woman impassibly talked about her life that changed 10 years back when her husband divorced her and “kicked her” out of his house for not bearing a child.

Lost in the turmoil of thoughts, she walked on streets—aimlessly—thinking where to take shelter and how to meet the ends in life.

It was in this moment a new tragic chapter huddled her life. She met with an accident and suffered a head injury.

Oblivious of the long-term repercussions of the injury, Zoon said, “I never thought the injury was dormant and would appear years later challenging my endurance yet again.”

Caught in the ordeals of life, Zoon feared her existence, as she had no shoulder to cry on, and no helping help to support her. Her circumstances forced her to take a refuge at her parent’s home, now dominated by her sister and brother-in-law.

Her only support was her mother who’s helpless to a point where she thinks of death as the only solution to her daughter’s miseries.

Che gasikh mei bronth marin (You should die before me),” prays her mother in the hope that her daughter would not be left alone in the cruel world after her death.

The woman’s woe had rendered her unrecognizable. She had lost weight, leaving her with bones and a layer of skin.

The final nail in the coffin was a kick in the head by her brother-in-law during a recent family fight.

She found herself hurting at the spot of injury for days to finally consult a doctor.

After a medical examination, she came to know about the life-changing disease she had been battling with.

Zoon felt lost in the moment but upon looking around in the surrounding with people encircling, she thwarted her lost state of mind and continued her journey all by herself.

“I don’t know if the disease is my mother’s prayers or curse,” Zoon wondered.

“My mother has seen me struggling for everything in life. And the fact that I will be lonely after her death and might be left on the streets to survive, makes her worried.”

She stopped for a while to regain her draining energy, stared at the ceiling of the bus where she tried to settle her paroxysm of emotions and recollected smilingly how she never failed to shower her nephews with love who have completely abandoned her in the fight for life.

Zoon would celebrate their academic success as a festivity and perform traditional rituals by garlanding them and showering them with sweets.

Traveling alone, walking on streets alone, switching from one vehicle to another to reach the hospital alone, she doesn’t hope anyone will help her through the pursuit and starts her new battle of life alone and unshakably.

As she found herself tired and exhausted with everything around her and inside her, she abruptly stopped talking. She leaned her head backwards, heaved her leg onto the seat and closed her eyes as if she disconnected herself from the surroundings and escaped the cruel world, leaving the bus in absolute silence.

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Sheikh Arsh

Sheikh Arsh is a multimedia journalist at Kashmir Observer. She tweets @sheikharshh

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