BY: UTSAV TIWARI
I went out to report on what Republic day means for cancer patients at Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai and how it is contrasting with what it means for people who visited children’s park nearby on the same day. Initially I went to Cancer Institute building which is on East Canal Bank road where I was told that I will have to first go to Dean’s office which was in another building a couple of kilometers away and get his permission before interacting with any of the patients.
When I reached Dean’s office, I got to know that he will be there after two hours. Also other people at his office told me that normally no one is allowed to meet cancer patients and at the most Dean might allow me to interact with the staff at the hospital.
I went out and tried to interact with people in the campus of the hospital. I was expecting to speak to at least seven to ten different patients. However as I couldn’t communicate in Tamil and as I had no permission to interact with the patients inside the hospital, I could speak to only two people. One of them was a 10 year old boy who was also suffering from cancer. I did not ask about details of his cancer, also the fact that the boy has cancer at that age was too much heartbreaking for me. I spoke to another patient who was a 47 year old man who was suffering from mouth cancer.
After leaving from Cancer Institute, I went to Children’s park which was right besides the Cancer Institute building. As I entered the Children’s park which was overcrowded with people as it was public holiday, silence of people waiting near the reception area in the Cancer Institute was still haunting me.
I spoke to the guard at the Children’s park and then interacted with few visitors. I noticed how it was a different day for people visiting the park, but it was same old day for people who are struggling with cancer at the Cancer institute.