Please Note: This is Ep.16

Please click here for Ep.15

(As everything I write is true, names have been changed to protect identities.) 



Before my classes had even started, I was taken ill. So ill, in fact, that I was hospitalised. I’d gone to see my GP a couple of days after arriving back in England as I’d been feeling weak, dizzy and nauseous since the flight. My appetite had seriously deteriorated too. This was very unlike me; anybody who knew me and my metabolism knew I ate like The Incredible Hulk. If I didn’t feel like eating my mother’s cooking, there was definitely something up with me.

Because I’d just arrived from a tropical country, the GP didn’t want to take any chances, and as I had health insurance, I was immediately admitted into a hospital room by myself, and they ran a battery of tests for tropical and infectious diseases. They started me on antibiotics and medicines for all the symptoms of illness I was showing.

I spent a couple of days in hospital under observation, waiting for the results. It took a minimum of forty-eight hours as they had to culture some of the samples they’d taken from me.

It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling much better yet; even on the medicines, I was still nauseous and weak and unsteady on my feet every time I stood up.

Could it be some unknown virus? Could it be bacteria from the water? I was careful to drink only boiled water or bottled water in India, though. What if it’s from something I’ve eaten or touched there or on the plane? What about typhoid, cholera, or hepatitis? Did I get all the correct vaccinations before the trip? Or maybe it’s something from an insect bite? We’ve been in rural areas, and I’ve been bitten umpteen times by mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies. I took my anti-malaria tablets religiously throughout the trip, didn’t I? Maybe I missed one or two. It couldn’t be malaria, could it? Maanav’s uncle in East Africa died from malaria. This is serious. It could be anything.

Maanav’s parents came to visit me in hospital and brought with them a teddy bear, balloons, a bouquet of flowers, and a card with get well wishes from everybody at the Jain school and charity. I was really touched. Maanav and my family came to visit me each day. They brought food — all my favourite treats, but I could hardly eat.

On the third day, the doctor came back with my test results. He said he could see that I was quite unwell, but we could most likely rule out any worrisome virus or disease picked up in India. So far, everything they had tested for was clear. They were pretty confident now that it was some kind of intestinal parasite and added another antibiotic to the one I was already on. They kept me in for further observation while they ran a second round of testing.

As I sipped on my Horlicks that night, then lay back in my hospital bed with my head spinning, trying not to vomit, a thought came to me: Shouldn’t I have come on my period by now? I never kept track of my cycle as I never thought I needed to, but I’d been away for a month already, and the last time I remember being on my period was on the flight to India. Oh, Holy Moly! 

I called Maanav and asked him to pick up a pregnancy test on the way to the hospital the next day. It was a weekend, and he wouldn’t be heading to the office, so he’d be there by the morning visiting hours.

I don’t think I slept at all that night. Worry kept me awake. Oh Lord, what’s everyone at the school and charity going to think of me? How am I going to show my face in front of them ever again? What will Sadhvi ji say if she finds out? Maanav’s family have such an esteemed reputation, this could be devastating to it. It’ll be a huge scandal in the community. They’ve taken me in, accepted me and loved me like their own; what if I’m about to let them down completely? And how will my father react? Things are good between us now; the last thing I want is to anger him again.

I spent the entire night and morning waiting in anguish for Maanav to arrive with the pregnancy test. I tried to remain calm in front of the hospital staff. When the nurse had dropped off my medication with my breakfast that morning, instead of taking them as I had been the last few days, I slipped the tablets into my gown pocket and left the empty cup on the table. If I really was pregnant, the last thing I wanted to be doing was putting that stuff into my body.

I was curled up in a ball with my head under the sheets praying to God for forgiveness when Maanav arrived that morning with the test.

Please click here to continue to Ep.17