Bahrain’s watermelon man

This is Bahrain’s Watermelon man.
Zakareya Al Kadhem is the Chairman of Bahrain’s Sickle Cell Anemia Society and a sufferer himself. And, like any other sickle cell anemia patient, he requires frequent hospitalization to manage his condition.
But, over time, this tireless patient rights’ campaigner become so engrossed in what his “subjects”, and he himself, suffer from, that he constantly devises new plans to alleviate their suffering.
“The summer is a great time for some very effective therapy,” he says. “Since the one sure way to get relief from sickle cell disease symptoms is to stay hydrated, what better way than to eat, and ‘drink’ watermelons,” he says.
“This is the watermelon season and plenty of these are easily available and are very affordable as well.
“I encourage everyone to have as much watermelon as possible in any form whatsoever and this, over the last few years, has helped. There are now fewer hospital referrals for us patients and, certainly, fewer fatalities.
“I am not saying this is a cure but, yes, it is something that reduces the symptoms considerably.
“After all, how much water can one have and for how long. With watermelons, there is no such issue. Anyone is up for a sweet watermelon at any time.”
His campaign has now come to such a pass that he always gives watermelons as gifts, and receives watermelons at his home at all times from his friends and admirers. Recently when he himself was hospitalised, he received scores of watermelons as opposed to flowers and sweets along with Get Well Soon messages.
“We even have real watermelon chunks as ‘cake’ at children’s birthdays. It’s a win-win situation for everybody and we’re all happy.”
May his tribe prosper!


This, too, is life


When I took these pictures, all I had in mind were portraits. But when I looked at them later, I could “see” a lot more. The pain, the longing, the forlorn looks, the emptiness, the hope and, perhaps, the hunger.
These two men are among the countless millions around the world who are not only homeless, but perhaps have no family and haven’t had a good meal in a while.
It is appalling how much misery there is in this world and it is beyond me how we, being in so much comfort ourselves, can allow this to happen.
Not that my writing these few paragraphs would make a difference; I would also, in a few hours, forget this and carry on with my life, but, at some point (and soon), I would wish to dedicate myself to feeding the hungry, contributing to looking after those who need care and trying to be useful in a society that sees a lot of pain, anguish, greed, violence and a just plain simple “how do I care” attitude.
Taking care of the elderly, working in palliative care and educating children whose parents are unable to send them to school are some of the other thoughts that come to mind.
This is a “bucket list” of things I wish to do. And, the sooner the better because one never knows what tomorrow brings. And, that “tomorrow” can come at any time!


Remembering my father

This is so well written. Straight from the heart! I can “feel” the feeling. God bless us all.


images (1)April 12, 2015, close to 10.30 a.m, a nurse knocked the door and told me I was called to the Medical Intensive Care Unit of the Medical College Hospital, where my 84-year-old father was undergoing a really painful course of treatment for his diabetes-induced kidney failure and the resultant multiple organ collapse for seven long days. He had earlier been in and out of hospital for over a month.
When the doctor told me that my father had suffered a cardiac arrest a few minutes ago and was no more, all I said was: “So, he has escaped all that pain?”
Did I weep that moment? No.
I felt shockingly relieved that his “torture” was finally over. “Please ask them not to torture me,” his words – between sleep and wakefulness, amid groans two days before he passed on – had left my heart bleeding ever since. And for two painfully-long days, I tried…

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