They knocked on our door that night, and it was finally our turn after they had visited all the other villagers. That had been declared as Nationwide State of Emergency, and the Maoists could be expected anywhere, at any time. And we were the people standing in the middle of the war between the army and the Maoists. The army would check our homes for hidden or sheltered Maoists, and the Maoists would come requesting for food, water and/or shelter at gunpoint.
I was quiet young but I remember most of it as it was the most movie-like our lives had ever been. It was the scariest, and the least predictable. For all we knew we could be shot right there and then by either of the two parties at war. But mom and dad did a very good job at protecting us or I wouldn’t be writing this at all. Now that I think of the past, I feel extremely thankful for the safety and the freedom that I have received now as if it were a precious, in fact, a priceless gift.
So that day they came, the Maoists knocked on our old wooden door in the middle of the night. Mom and dad were not asleep, they couldn’t sleep, they stayed up all night, every night, in order to keep an eye out and protect their four children, including me. Although we didn’t understand the severity of the situations, we felt the uneasiness of the situation as we could feel from our parents’ anxiety. We witnessed as they barged in as soon as daddy opened the door. One of them seemed to be wounded, and the others had weapons attached to their green camouflage uniforms, as they knew when they wore that dress that the weapons were compulsory. My daddy was a medical practitioner and went to attend the wound without any invitation or request from the people.
They all sat down, mom made tea for them all as dad announced that it was a bullet wound and that it would take some time. He protected the wound from infections by sterilizing it using herbs from our garden. Daddy strongly believed in Ayurveda, and still does, and had told us way back that it was an art form in itself and it should be made accessible to everyone. He could have been targeted by the army or police for helping the outlaws who were no saints themselves as both the parties had killed a fair share of innocent ones in the name of war. That war probably was a platform for killers to accomplish satisfaction without any accountability, nobody would count the bodies or hold them captive for the same. But nonetheless daddy had taken huge risk that night as they had been trying to stay on the safe side for our sake and that night’s actions could very easily put our family into danger. But even mom seemed to support dad on that action. We were utterly confused.
We thought they were our enemies and that the warring parties did not consist of good people. So why would daddy help them? He shouldn’t have told them he practiced medicine and everything would have been fine too so why did he go ahead himself to help the people who have probably killed many people from our own village? After all the people went the next morning, I asked mommy why, and she told me that it was my daddy’s duty.
“He is a doctor, not a doctor for the rich or poor, fair or dark, army or Maoists, he is only a doctor. He sees someone, anyone in need of his help he gives. He has to, his conscience doesn’t let him do anything otherwise.”
“But Maa, isn’t he forbidden to help the likes of them?”
“He isn’t forbidden to help a fellow being dear, the likes of them come after humanity. “