Meheli Chakraborty narrates a loving husband’s tribute to his wife by providing care to hundreds  of needy people.

Santanu was a musician. Ruma was the lead singer in Santanu’s musical band “Melody”. Ruma and Santanu got married on 26th January 1995. Four years later, Ruma became pregnant and in the first month of pregnancy, during normal check-up, the doctor found a tumour growing along with the foetus inside Ruma’s womb!

Ruma was diagnosed with cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors suggested to remove the tumour. But the baby would be lost in that attempt. But there was no other way to save Ruma’s life. Ruma was more important to Santanu than anything. The operation was done, but it was unsuccessful.

Ruma was alive for two years after the operation. During those days she had gone through sufferings; physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Santanu remained with her throughout this painful journey. He had to leave his musical career. Ruma died on 28th October 2000.

After Ruma’s death, Santanu moved to Australia, in 2001 to pursue his studies!  He wanted to provide care to those who are ill and suffering. He got a chance to know about Palliative Care and he completed a diploma course in palliative care. After returning to Inida in 2002, he founded the Ruma Abedona Hospice. In 2013, this hospice collaborated with Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute.

Back in 1998, when Ruma was terminally ill, there was no palliative care facility in West Bengal. Even the word Palliative Care was unknown to the public. Only Santanu was there to care and support Ruma. Now Ruma Abedona Hospice has a team to provide care to hundreds of people like Ruma!

Meheli Chakraborty

The author is the CEO of Ruma Abedona Hospice Palliative Care Centre, Rail Park, Rishra, District – Hooghly, West Bengal.

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