Cancer, ALL Blacks

A Friday Night, Blue Masked Zorro


It was last Friday when I thought my blood count was alright and I could stay at home, watch the World Cup Rugby quarter-finals and cheer for my favourite All Blacks, Cancer decided otherwise.  However, cancer was much kinder to me this time and didn't want me to get admitted immediately.  I was told that it was fine for me to get admitted on Saturday, or even on Sunday.   Because of cancer’s kindness my Friday became eventful. 

I was able to record my TV interview with Tissa Attanayaka on News 1st and tell the viewers to vote for the candidate who would tell them they wouldn't use BMW or Benz or any other luxury vehicles to ‘Serve’ the poor masses. Tissa A, too, agreed with me. I met my friend, Kumar de Silva, who was seated at the Taj Samudra lobby and people-watching. I knew he was there to attend a Christmas event. He couldn't recognise me with my blue face mask and my blue cap. But, I did. Kumar is a very good man. My chat with him was very heartening. He looked sad. I knew he meant well and wants me to get cured soon. I also know that Kumar prays to Buddha for me daily.

The mask man in me met few a others, too; all good people.  Onitha Gurugalla, Public Relations Manager at the Taj. She was getting ready for the Christmas cake event at the hotel. She was busy. But, was very kind to me as usual and offered me tea and the famous Taj Chili toast I like very much. I thanked her and declined it kindly since I was meeting others at the Taj. Onitha is a younger Chandrika Kumaratunga look-alike. But, she is nicer and she is on time. So much was happening at the Taj last Friday. Taj by the Samudra is very close to my heart. A Former General Manager and now Senior Vice President of Taj Hotels, Rohit Khosla, made it even more homely to me. He is based in New Delhi now and our friendship continues. Ever cheerful and friendly, Rohit was first introduced to me by the wonderful and caring Shobhaa De. We have met several times both, in Delhi and Bombay, after he left his second home, Sri Lanka. Dear Cancer cannot take these away from me. 

My dear friend, Indian actress, Archanna, had come to Sri Lanka for just two days. She invited me for dinner and we went Japanese. Nowadays, thanks to Dear Cancer, I don’t get to eat from out as before. It is a blessing, in a way, considering the junk we eat from outside. However, the staff at the Japanese restaurant made me one hell of a chicken dish and sticky rice. Green tea and warm water did come to my help. Archanna and I shared lots of laughter. She cheered me up as always. It was a very chirpy evening/ night. She had heartfelt wishes for me. A newly married coupled, dressed in Kandyan attire, walked up to me and said they watch the Television programme I host daily. The simple couple wished me from their hearts just before their photo session. I wished them back from my heart. It was an eventful evening and night for me, because Dear Cancer didn't rush me to hospital as on the two previous occasions for blood transfusions. It rained a lot and I wasn't allowed to enjoy it. I know cancer couldn't either. 

Saturday morning I got admitted to Lanka Hospital’s cancer ward. I am in and out of the hospital now, with two injections per week. One friendly and smiling security guard shared a laugh with me. He said   "Sir, you must be having shares here". I replied, "I wish I had shares here." It was the third time I got admitted for blood transfusions after Dear Cancer entered my life.  I still remember how upset, shocked and saddened I was, when very kind Sachithra called  and told me that Dr. Saman Hewamana wanted me to get myself admitted for blood transfusions. It all changed, thereafter, and it has become a way of life now. I take it easy.  Cancer is kind to me, at times: May be because I am kind, too. 

I am very thankful to Dr Saman Hewamana for going out of his way to keep me alive and ticking and clicking. I have a wonderful relationship with all the nursing and secretarial staff. Even the assistants and the cleaning staff, and the people who bring food to me when I am in hospital, or whenever I visit them.  They all go beyond their call of duty to encourage me, help me, and support me. Caring Nurses and Sisters have   to answer thousands of questions I pose to them. After all it’s my job to ask questions.  I continue with it even when I am in hospital.  I enjoy doing my daily programme on News 1st, questioning politicians on behalf of the people of this country. Dear Cancer allows me to remove my mask just before the interview. Now, I am the Zorro with the Blue Mask. (Oh sorry, sometimes I use a white one, too) 

I was discharged from the hospital after my blood transfusion. I was deprived of watching All Blacks play Ireland.  Then I realized nothing else matters when you have another battle to fight.

I am seriously thinking of volunteering at the hospital to help others, like me, whenever possible. I have even told the doctor about it.  There is so much to do in Sri Lanka, even to educate people how to use elevators, how not to speak out loud and how to obey rules, even in hospitals. I am of the view there should be very strict rules both in government and private hospitals.  Those rules must be enforced. It is only then that people like me and thousands of others will be safer. 

They must appoint me as the Enforcer and I shall do it as the Blue Masked Zorro.

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