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Covid: Hindi writer’s novel documents grim reality during 10-day hospital stay

The novel describes the sense of fear the virus had instilled in people, including a fear of losing one’s own life, the “dilution of human values, humanity and blood relations”.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Chandigarh |
August 3, 2021 11:56:25 am
Dr Ajay Sharma.

A RENOWNED Hindi writer has penned down his experience of battling Covid-19 in a novel called ‘Kamra number 909’, which was released on Saturday.

Written by Dr Ajay Sharma in first person, the novel documents his stay in a hospital room for 10 days, when, he says, he got a sense of ground reality.

The novel describes the sense of fear the virus had instilled in people, including a fear of losing one’s own life, the “dilution of human values, humanity and blood relations”.

It also speaks of the alienation felt while battling the virus. Dr Sharma explained how a mother of six sons was left alone in the hospital, and no one turned up to see her. Another incident described is about the fear in the mind of a girl trying a rakhi to her brother.

Without taking any names, the novel describes the plight of the poor, with a number of them ending up paying huge amounts to claim the bodies of their near and dear ones, and being turned away by hospitals despite having health cards.

The writer said he felt cheated by insurance companies and hospitals.

The novel became quite popular even before its release. Sahitya awardee and Hindi author Chitra Mudgal says it is probably the first novel written on the pandemic here and it beautifully depicts the physical and psychological changes happening within humanity.

Another prominent Hindi author, Mamta Kalia, said the novel “exposes the truth of so-called spiritual gurus”.

Dr Paan Singh, associate professor and head, Hindi Department, Himachal Pradesh University, said that the author has described many ups and downs, and the “artificiality and hollowness” of relationships in just 10 days spent in the hospital.

Dr Sunil Kumar, Hindi Department, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, said the novel paints a vivid and touching picture of the dreadful crisis arising out of the pandemic and the fabric of social life.

This is Dr Sharma’s 13th novel. Three of his novels including ‘Basra Ki Galian’ (on Iraq war), ‘Chehra Aur Parchhai’, and ‘Nau Dishayen’ are the part of the MA syllabus in universities. He had also written two serials about the ‘farming issue’, which were telecast on DD Kisan.

 

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