"Sajeeshetta, am almost on the way. I don't think I can meet you again. Sorry. Please look after our little ones and take them to Gulf. They shouldn't be alone like our father. With lots of love and kisses"
This letter is from Lini, a 28-year-old nurse who succumbed to Nipah virus infection on Monday, to her husband Sajeesh. Lini wrote the letter as she foresaw her final hours at the casualty department of Perambra Taluk Hospital in Kozhikode in Kerala. She feared she will not be able to meet Sajeesh, who works in Bahrain, when he returned home.
Lini, second of the three daughters of the late Nanu and Radha of Chembanoda, had been working at the Taluk Hospital for the past six years. Her kids Hrithul and Siddharth are now with her mother Radha.
Lini had left for the hospital on Thursday after feeding Siddharth. She joined for her duty by 6 pm. She attended to three people from a family, infected by Nipah virus, all of whom who died later. Lini sat through the night, taking care of them and talking to them.
She developed fever in the morning and as it aggravated, she was rushed to the medical college hospital. Lini video-called Sajeesh on her way to the hospital and told him she was sick, but did not mention it was serious. However, Sajeesh flew in before Lini passed away, met her at the isolated ICU and talked with her.
Lini herself told the doctor at the medical college hospital that she is likely infected by Nipah and should be confined to the isolated ward. Her mother and sisters visited the hospital, but she did not let them get near her.
The family did not want neighbours to be scared, and so consented that she be buried in Kozhikode though they couldn't take a final look at her. Sajeesh sits on the verandah of his house, teary-eyed, holding Lini's last note. The children are playing, unaware that their mother will never return home.