That is what they call me behind my back.
And today I am after them, literally begging for their blood. For my son, who needs immediate transfusion and the blood banks have no stock of the rare blood.
Two people in the village have the required blood group -Ramu and Gopu- but Ramu can be taken off the list outright. Only last week I had asked him to vacate his home when he failed to repay my debt. That was the agreed condition when he borrowed money. To his credit, he did not protest but simply asked for a little more time, which I granted.
The people of my village have a philosophy of their own. Poverty had been their lot for generations but that had never come in the way of the few occasions of joy in their life. They celebrate with abandon, mostly with borrowed money, spending lavishly, dancing and singing, feasting and drinking.
True, I charge higher interest than the banks, insist on collaterals, and am strict about payment of interest on time. That is the only source of my livelihood as had been my father’s and forefathers’. I never cheat. Terms and conditions are explained, but they are least bothered when in need of money. They affix their thumb impression wherever required and simply grab the money and leave.
Ramu has been missing since the news about my son broke out. Even his wife and children do not know his whereabouts. Or so they say.
The man I sent after Gopu reports he has high fever but is willing to donate blood but the doctor says no. I am taken aback. A sick man readily agrees to come to the aid of an ‘exploiter and class enemy’. No bargains, no attempt to humiliate me or take advantage of my vulnerability.
Even as I lose hope, news comes from the hospital: Rahul is out of danger after Ramu donated blood.
The ‘blood-sucker’ is in shock.
I must get rid of that tag. Fast.