He was born during the Black of July,
Raised during the JVP up-rise,
During the war, he went to school
His dad he lost, in a train bombing too soon.
His mother slaved herself giving tuition,
A public-school teacher she was,
She made sweet treats during the night,
And had them sold in a shop next to a bus depot.
He was the oldest and had two sisters,
A bright spark, he was the only hope they had,
He somehow made it to Med school,
A decimal point in his marks that saved him the race.
Ragging he endured in college, a quiet introvert he was,
He grew some think skin over the years,
But was bullied for his accent, a semi-Singlish it was,
He stood the test of insulting professors and cut-throat competition
He finally graduated, five years later
His mother shed a tear of pride
He wanted to build a house, buy a car
And do what is right by his tribe.
So he did a bit of private practice
When he came home from his posting in the South
He earnt himself enough, to collect a small dowry
To give away the older sibling
He helped his mother to extend the house
Another story upstairs for his younger sister,
And his house and portion was postponed
It had to wait another year or two.
He finally found a nice girl, married her,
She was a math teacher from the village,
She became pregnant and had a baby,
This was then the beginning of the pandemic.
He chose to serve his nation,
A front-line doctor he was,
He rarely came home and rarely slept in his quarters
He lost the zeal but he fought the good fight.
The smart phone and WhatsApp calls,
It saved his sanity to see his 6-month-old,
Till one day he started to cough, had a splitting headache,
Then a high fever: the destiny of this faithful servant to follow.
He fell prey to the virus, he never saw his family again,
They cremated him within 24 hours,
The vailing of a mother, the sobbing of a wife
Nothing could bring him back again.
This is the doctor who was born into crisis,
Lived through crisis and died in crisis,
A doctor so noble that he shouldered the duty,
Only to become a statistic that we read in the news.
He was the doctor, who once asked me out in university,
And I turned him down because of our differences,
He was good, perhaps too good, and too conscientious,
To write a story of a doctor profoundly untold.