In a heartwarming tale, a 65-year old man from a village in Tamil Nadu pedalled 130 kms on his bicycle to reach a hospital in Puducherry, just so his wife did not miss her chemotherapy session.
The nationwide lockdown, that has stalled public transport, has come down hard on people like Arivazhagan, a daily-wage labourer, who felt stranded without a mode of transportation to take his wife to the JIPMER hospital in Puducherry.
On 31 March, Arivazhagan along with his 60-year old wife Manjula, cycled from his village to reach JIPMER hospital in Puducherry for her chemotherapy session. On a four-wheeler, this distance can be covered in about three hours.
Clad in his dhoti, Arivazhagan made his wife sit on the carrier of the bicycle and tied her body to his using a towel so she did not slip and fall when he began pedalling fast. The couple started early, around 4.45 am and reached JIPMER hospital at about 10.15 pm, stopping on the way for tea and also catching up on their sleep for about two hours by a pond en route.
According to him, a doctor at JIPMER had called him on Saturday morning and enquired about Manjula's health. "He also told me that an ambulance could be organised to bring Manjula to JIPMER for treatment," Arivazhagan said.
Arivazhagan and his wife, who are not covered under the Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister's Health Insurance Scheme or under the Central government's healthcare scheme, preferred to be treated at JIPMER, a private hospital instead, for better treatment. "I save from my daily wages and take her to JIPMER in Puducherry," he adds.
Looking back at his own determination, Arivazhagan wonders out loud, "It is still unbelievable as to how I pedalled the distance."
(With inputs from IANS)