Sunday, 15 January 2017

Ekuch Rogot

-Brian Mendonça

As I write these lines the title ‘Ekuch Rogot’ play on my mind. The Konkani words can be translated as ‘One Blood’ or ‘Similar Blood.’ The words are the title of a Konkani song by Goan tiatrist and lyricist from Aldona, Alfred Rose (1932-2003).

As an elder lay in the hospital with plummeting haemoglobin levels, there was no choice but to infuse packed cells of blood from the Goa Medical College blood bank to boost the levels. An endoscopy showed nothing and we now await the findings of a bone marrow biopsy.

Setting off as we did to GMC from Vasco at 11 p.m., made us reflect how vital blood is to life. If the body does not generate its own blood, it is simply a walking cadaver – dependent on an outside source for blood. Two points of packed cells roughly sustain the body for a week. After that one has to replenish the supply.

In such cases, a blood sample of the patient is taken and then cross-matched with the blood that is available in the blood bank. The procedure costs Rs. 1050 for one pouch and can take 2-3 hours. Only one pouch can be given per day for the patient’s use. A request is also made by GMC blood bank to donate blood at GMC to make up for the blood taken out from the blood bank. Blood donation cards can be given for this purpose.

Once the packed cells of blood were given to us by GMC at 2.30 a.m., we carefully put the pouch in a thermacol box with ice packs. We then drove to the hospital and gave it to the staff on duty to start the transfusion.

This scenario saw all the family pitching in to do their bit. We took turns bringing blood. From visits to the hospital, to coordinating the pick-up for blood, to refreshing snacks, to even bringing along a trusty radio (not to forget WhatsApp forwards) everyone did their best to uplift the elder. For a week or more life was at a standstill, hovering between this world and the next. Every phone call was dreaded. Yet with trust, faith and surrender God steered us through.

In Alfred Rose’s song ‘Ekuch Rogot’ he sings about two brothers who have such a good relationship that they are the envy of all. However their slings were deflected by the crows:

Amcho ekvott polloun thodde bou, martat ujeache inglle,
Tosle inglle amcher poddonam, punn uddon vetat zaun kanvlle.

As time goes by the younger son asks for the property to be divided. This leads to litigation with both brothers contacting their advocates. The advocates are in fact good friends, and they plan to swindle the brothers. Finally a letter from one advocate to the other revealing their schemes is intercepted and the brothers realise their folly. Rose ends with the advice not to be duped by others and to maintain the solidarity of the brothers:

Lokacheam sangnneamcher patiumchem nhoim, lok bhavank zaitench sangot
Thondar ulounchem, monan nhoi dorchem, bhavachem ekuch rogot.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Translated by Alex George Mendonça. Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 8 January, 2017. Pix courtesy of blood bag

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