“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” – Lena Dunham
On 16 May 20, it was partial opening of the lockdown in the garb of approaching end of third lockdown. We were allowed to go out on a walk in morning and evening within premises. Off course all alone and not in a group.
The lockdown gave me an option to subscribe to some audio book apps as online delivery of books was not possible in my area. First day of walk after two months was refreshing. I quickly glanced through my audio book app and chose a book – “The Intersection.”
During walk the first chapter that I listened was on a very peculiar topic. ‘The Bombay Blood group’.
I listened to it twice. It contained some facts, interviews of individuals with such rare blood group and other safety related issues. I quickly thought it was also an important topic to share with my friends.
In today’s world people do not want to spend time on something that’s not impressive enough. Merely sharing a link or some factual data heavy article on such topic was not enough.
I am a great follower of Sadguru. I had an opportunity to visit his ‘Isha Foundation’ of Coimbatore in April 2018. His speeches are really intriguing. He has unique art of conveying his points. He tells a story.
Ironically telling a story is not a new concept. Our Vedas were written about 4000 years back. Very few people could read and understand it so Upnishads were written about 3000 years back which discussed at length the meaning and mystery of Vedas. They are the commentaries that emerged out of discussions between rishis, kings, children, men and women, husbands and wives in an effort to unravel meaning of Vedas.
However, what whole of India and the world today fondly remembers are the great epics of ‘Ramayana & Mahabharata.’ These are in fact meanings and secrets of Vedas and Upnishads conveyed in forms of stories.
Sadguru has been speaking on so many values of our life. But it’s even difficult for me to convey it to my wife and daughters. They find it boring until I don’t tell them in a story.
We read so many articles on net about stress and its bad effect. It’s very much prevalent in students, young entrepreneurs and businessman. But even i got the correct gist out of it once recently I read a story about it. I don’t remember the name of king, his kingdom but all I remember is he did one experiment. He kept two goats in two different cages. One of the goats had a tiger outside and other didn’t. After about 3 month the goat in a cage that used to see tiger daily died. Not because it was attacked by tiger but merely because it was in constant fear of death of unknown. Other goat which didn’t see any tiger lived happily without worries. Idea was clear to send message in a story.
In my rest of the walk, I kept on thinking about the story that needs to be told to give important message about Bombay Blood Group. Finally I concluded in my one and half hour of walk and returned to write my story for the topic. It goes like this.
‘BOMBAY BLOOD GROUP’
Swayam was in his balcony enjoying his lockdown when suddenly at around 10 pm his mobile rang from an unknown number.
The phone also caught attention of Spruha who was in drawing room sorting out recently collected vegetables from a vendor and preparing them for cleaning in salt water.
As Spruha walked towards balcony, she could notice Swayam on phone.
It was a typical way of communication where Swayam actually didn’t spoke a word and after a minute he hangs up.
“What happened? Who was that?” Spruha asked.
“Oh! Nothing. Just some call from office.” Swayam spoke laughingly.
“I said na! Nothing much. Just that I need to go out on an official visit for some work.”
“But there is total lockdown in Pune. Government offices are all closed till May end. Where are you going then?”
“Actually I need to take a special flight tomorrow morning.”
“There are no flights. Which is this special flight?”
“Some special cargo flights are getting medical kit to Pune. I need to board that.” Swayam was still looking outside from balcony.
“But whats so urgent. What if you get infected?’
“Don’t worry! A special vehicle is coming to pick me up at 3 am. The driver has all the necessary clearances and epass.”
“But where are you going and why are you going?”
“Someone needs my blood.”
“Ya! That’s true. There is an official request. Some eminent personality is in urgent need of blood.”
“Come on Swayam. You are O-. You are an universal donor. There must be millions with such a blood group. Then why you?”
“My blood group is O –ve but also a rare type called Bombay Blood Group.”
“Bombay Blood Group? Whats that now?”
“The four most common blood groups are A, B, AB and O. The rare, Bombay blood group was first discovered in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1952 by Dr Y M Bhende. Each red blood cell has antigen over its surface, which helps determine which group it belongs to. The Bombay blood group, also called hh, is deficient in expressing antigen H, meaning the RBC has no antigen H. For instance, in the AB blood group, both antigens A and B are found. A will have A antigens; B will have B antigens. In hh, there are no A or B antigens.”
“I didn’t get anything? But so what?” Exclaim Spruha.
“Globally, the hh blood type has an incidence of one in four million. It has a higher incidence in South Asia; in India, one in 17000 are born with this type. It may be genetically passed.” Swayam continued.
“When did you become so gyani about your blood group?” Spruha was little agitated this time.
“You remember the summer blood camp two years back. I had donated my blood. After about 15 days I got a call from blood bank. They told me about it and also asked to take care.”
“Why? Is it a disease?”
“No! No! The individuals with Bombay blood group can only be transfused autologous blood or blood from individuals of Bombay hh phenotype only which is very rare. Rejection may occur if they receive blood from A, B, AB or O blood group. In contrast, hh blood group can donate their blood to ABO blood types. There are possibly not more than 350 donors across India. But at any time there are only 30 active donors available. This group is generally not stored in blood banks, mainly because it is rare and the shelf life of blood is 35-42 days. So, whenever there is a demand for a Bombay blood group patient, a donor is required very urgently.”
“But you can donate here! Let them take your blood then. Why you go all the way yourself.” By now Spruha was in tears.
“You need to rest. You didn’t sleep for whole day. I also have to leave early. Are the kids at sleep?” Swayam dodged her tears.
“This time you are well researched.” Spruha said hugging Swayam. “Can’t you wait? Is it that necessary?”
“No! Actually the person requiring blood is a well known political figure. An eminent personality. His identity may not be revealed as it will create chaos and rumour mongering in political circle.”
“Meet your daughters before you leave.” Spruha left balcony wiping her tears.
“I need you to pack parathas for me. Will not trouble you in morning.” Swayam said to departing Spruha.
“Kam se Kam Kaunsi country ja rahe ho, yeh toh bataake jana.” Spruha left for bedroom after keeping vegetables in fridge. But her tears continued.
Morning at 3 am a car picked up Swayam.
When Spruha woke up next day morning she was expecting a file on dining table.
This was not the first instance when such file was kept on table by Swayam.
The file had the details of his all bank accounts, his policies, government entitlements, insurance policies etc duly updated.
Spruha knew Swayam was not going for blood donations.
Spruha knew Swayam was not Bombay blood group type.
Spruha knew that a file will be on dining table early morning.
Spruha knew that this was not going to be an usual day.
Spruha knew Swayam would never tell the truth.
What she didn’t know was when he would return because
Spruha knew she was married to a Spy.
I want to tell all the students that in the competitive world today, along with your talent it is very necessary to know the art of expression. Be it written or verbal. As you can understand from above story that I have mentioned only required data about Bombay Blood Group and rest is a griping story. Before I conclude I would like to give few tips for good writing.
So, what amount to good writing? Views on the matter vary widely. There will be different traits that make good fiction versus good poetry or good nonfiction. However, a general list of the characteristics of good writing (in no particular order) are as given below.
In good writing, everything makes sense and readers don’t get lost or have to reread passages to figure out what’s going on. Focused writing sticks with the plot or core idea without running off on too many tangents.
A well organized piece of writing is not only clear; it’s presented in a way that is logical and aesthetically pleasing. You can tell non-linear stories or place your thesis at the end of an essay and get away with it as long as your scenes or ideas are well ordered.
Is the topic of your paper relevant? Does your story come complete with themes? Can the reader visualize your poem? For a piece of writing to be considered well crafted, it has to contain clearly identifiable ideas and themes.
Every paragraph in an essay should be related to the main idea. Each paragraph should stick to its main point.
We writers can never underestimate or fail to appreciate our most valuable tools: words. Good writing includes precise and accurate word choices and well crafted sentences.
Many writers would wish this one away, but for a piece of writing to be considered good (let alone great), it has to follow the rules of grammar (and break those rules only when there’s a good reason). Style is also important in ensuring that a piece of writing is clear and consistent. Make sure you keep a grammar book and style guide handy.
Each paragraph should support or expand the central idea of the paper. The idea of each paragraph should be explained and illustrated through examples, details, and descriptions.
Nothing says bad writing like getting the facts wrong or misrepresenting oneself. In fiction, the story must be believable (even if it’s impossible), and in nonfiction, accurate research can make or break a writer.
Perhaps the most important quality of good writing is how the reader responds to it. Does she come away with a fresh perspective and new ideas? Does he close the cover with tears in his eyes or a sense of victory? How readers react to your work will fully determine your success as a writer. This will provoke you to express in story form which an individual can correlate to.
Mr Vikas Magar is a class I gazetted officer. He is a keen reader, sportsman and a photographer. His liking for reading developed during his professional career when he had to deal with persons almost from every corner of India. Knowing their peculiarity, speciality forced him to know more about them. He has been writing short stories, before he finally converted his childhood memories in a Marathi Novel “Maitree” in March 2019. This is author’s solo novel.
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I came across my delicacy after a long time. Sir, you gave a unique style of writing. Would love to read more from you.