The doctor came in a few days and examined her and prescribed effective but costly medicine. To the question as to what she should eat he said, “Anything you wish to eat — chapati, vegetables, milk, fruits, etc. In addition to all this,” he added emphatically, “leave this dark hovel and occupy a bigger room with doors and windows open. Sit in the sun every morning from eight to nine. Sunshine and fresh air,” he concluded, “are more important than medicine.”
     The doctor and his advice became a subject of noisy commentary among all present. Some favoured while others opposed it. Exposure to sun and air for someone afflicted with chronic cough was dangerous, an experienced lady declared. A younger neighbour nearly quarrelled with her over this. Too exhausted to participate in the debate, Saeeda’s mother remained quiet but determined to follow the doctor’s advice. “Forget the consequences,” she said at last. “I’ll carry out his instructions to the letter. Move my bed into the next room and let me sit in the sun on my charpoy for an hour daily.”
A few days later, the doctor visited Saeeda's home.
The specialist
He prescribed some medicines to her mother after looking into her condition. Although the medicines were expensive, they were also effective.
The doctor prescribed some expensive but effective medicine
He also told her to eat food that anyone would consume in normal circumstances. Contrary to what the previous doctors had said, she was asked to eat whatever she wishes for, such as chapati, vegetables, milk, and fruits.
Saeeda's mother was asked to eat whatever she wishes
More importantly, and to the surprise of her relatives and friends, she was asked to leave the dark and tiny room to settle for a bigger one with windows and doors open. The room that she was staying in was so small that it feels stuffy and suffocating. Besides, her windows were always shut, and she never got any fresh air, nor had she seen sunlight in a while.
The doctor asked the mother to shift to a bigger and brighter room
The doctor asked the mother to leave her old lifestyle behind. Instead of getting cooped up in her room, he asked her to go out to get sunlight and fresh air, and also to eat well. He recommended that she should sit under the sun for an hour, preferably between eight and nine o'clock every morning. Moreover, as the doctor says, sunshine and fresh air can help her mother recover sooner and better. They are, in his opinion, more important than medicine.
Sunlight and fresh air are more important than medicine
Soon, the topic had given rise to a heated discussion among the relatives and friends. Everyone had an opinion to state. Some of them agreed with the doctor, while some other thought that the suggestion was ridiculous. An experienced lady who opposed the doctor's recommendation argued that Saeeda's mother, who was suffering a chronic cough, shouldn't be exposed to sun or air. Of course, as expected, a younger person launched a counter-attack to the older lady's statement.
Everyone had an opinion to state
Saeeda's mother was too tired and weak to enter into the quarrel. However, she firmly stood by the doctor's recommendation. She said that she wasn't worried about the consequences and was willing to follow the doctor's advice. Moreover, she had spent a part of her life between the shut doors and windows. However, her health never got any better. Hence, she must have thought that it was time that she did something different. After all, her health was getting worse and her days seem to be numbered. So, how worse could it get?
Her mother was firm in her decision. She had made up her mind to follow what the doctor had said. She asked her bed to be moved into the next room. She also decided to sit in the sun on her charpoy for an hour every day.
Meanings of difficult words:
HovelA home (in this case, a room) which is tiny and in bad condition.
ExhaustedFeeling very tired
Commentary An expression of opinions
Afflicted An illness that causes pain and trouble
Chronic An illness that is incurable
To the letterWord for word; following every detail
CharpoyA small and light bedstead/cot
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). A Pact With The Sun. (pp. 28-32). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.