This man with a huge tumor in his neck has always been on our path.
We never saw him before, but it is time to help him now.
I came across a man on Brigade Road just a few hours ago (Night of 3rd Feb). He was sitting on the side of the pavement like many others and begging for alms. The automatic response has always been to just screen and ignore. There have been rare instances when I have felt generous enough to give a little as I have heard so many Ejipura stories and how the Mafia controls the kids who sell roses or mothers who roam around with babies.
Something about this man made me stop and turn around. Sitting in a corner surrounded by garbage, he wore a pink shirt and checkered blue lungi paired. A faded checkered pink towel hung around his neck which doubles as a mask when it is dusty and a shade when it is sunny. The lines on his face spoke of the years gone by, hiding many stories of his life in every crease. His sunken eyes seemed empty, almost like he was a ghost sitting there, watching silently as people just passed through.
He seemed extremely clean for a homeless beggar except for the huge lump growing from the back of his neck consuming the entire space between the nape and shoulder. It was evident that this frail and timid man is constantly in pain from the bloodsucking alien weighing on his neck.
The man looked hesitant as he extended his palms hoping I’d spare a rupee or two. He shriveled in fear when this stranger spoke to him instead.
“What is your name, sir?”
“What happened to your neck?”
“I had a small lump until it grew and grew to this size.”
“Did you ever go to a doctor?”
“I don’t have much money. Whenever I could I went to three hospitals in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and NIMHANS.”
“What did the doctors say?”
“They said I have a tumor. They said it is pressing on an important nerve. They said it cannot be taken out that surgery would make me mental.”
“Do you have a family?”
“I have a wife. Her name is Krishnamma. I’m Krishnappa, she is Krishnamma.”
“What about a home and a job?”
He showed his hands with coins in it, shrugged and said “We don’t have a real home. We just stay wherever we can. I sit here all day try to beg for a living because I can’t work with this on my neck. Doctors cannot help me. This is the only way I can help myself.”
We all have desk jobs at our workplace that focus on our comforts with nice chairs, air conditioning, in my case even bean bags and beds. Yet we have shoulder pain and neck pain that is sometimes intolerable. I can’t imagine what this man is going through with something heaving on his neck and shoulders all the time. I hope to help him get some relief and request you all to suggest a doctor in Bangalore who is up for a challenge very much like Derek Shepherd.