Sathi Mondal hasn’t been able to eat a morsel of food or drink a drop of water through her mouth for the past eight years, but that hasn’t stopped her from penning down hundreds of poems.
Emerging as an embodiment of unwavering resilience and strength, she found her refuge in poetry and has channelled years of excruciating pain into thoughtfully written poetic verses.
Following an intestinal infection and a wrongly diagnosed medical treatment in 2009, Sathi’s well-planned life went utterly off-track, and it was poetry that came as a respite for the young woman, as she shuttled between home and hospitals for multiple treatments.
“When I write poetry, or see my poems getting published in print, I forget all my problems. I feel I can live a hundred years,” she told IANS from her hospital bed.
A resident of Ghoshpara in Nadia district of West Bengal, Sathi’s family, has always struggled to make ends meet.
Having envisioned a career in sports, she took her studies quite seriously until a botched-up surgery dampened all her plans.
A fitment of Ryles Tube in her stomach has been helping her ingest a liquid diet all these years. However, the process has been quite a strain for Sathi and often causes complications leading to frequent hospital visits for a change of tubes.
“There is pain and, at times, it becomes unbearable. Sometimes I feel survival would be difficult. And it is here that my poetry comes in. It is my poems which inspire me to continue my battle,” she explained.
Having written more than 500 poems, at least a hundred pieces by Sathi have found its way to Bengali magazines like Collarge, Khola Haoa, Udvas, Lekha Diye Rekhapat, Chhayaman and Krishnachura. In fact, her poems have not just appealed to readers but have also garnered critical acclaim, and she now finds herself often being invited to various literary conferences across the state.
She considers Nobel poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore as her role model and also looks up to renowned Bengali poets like Nirendranath Chakraborty and Aranyak Basu, the latter of whom helps the young woman with monthly subsistence amount of ₹1,000.
Despite her prowess with words and emerging fame, the 23-year-old has been leading a life of emotional and financial despondency. Her father Gopal Mondal, a van rickshaw driver, had passed away one-and-a-half years ago and she had to discontinue her studies in the final year of her undergraduate degree at Kalyani Mahavidyalaya.
Her mother has been sustaining the family by selling sarees from door to door, and is barely able to shoulder the cost of her daughter’s treatment.
Despite the dark clouds hovering Sathi’s already burdened life, a flicker of hope arose when two state-run hospitals, the SSKM and the Calcutta Medical College, have assured Sathi that her medical condition can be alleviated through surgery.
“They have asked me to wait as there is a long queue of patients. Also, they want to conduct more tests before performing the surgery. Maybe I will again be able to eat orally soon. I am very hopeful,” she added.
In an age where life and even survival are taken for granted, the optimism displayed by Sathi is beyond admiration and heartbreaking at the same time. We hope that she is able to find sufficient means for her surgery and manages to find worldwide acclaim for her poetry.