“Every day when I go to work, I see people looking at the corpses of their loved ones from afar. They can’t see their faces, cry holding them, or even say a proper goodbye. Misery and pain is the major part of my job these days, but I cannot let that hold me back. I am trained to do my job no matter how emotional the situation gets. But for people without such training, witnessing such heartwrenching sights can leave them psychologically and emotionally devastated.”
These are the words of Parlav Khatri, Corporal at Nepal Army who is a part of dead body management during the ongoing pandemic. His work requires him to be present in the field and tend to the corpses that come along. And he does so without any hesitation because he knows it is his duty.
On a single day of work, an individual needs to attend to approximately 30 dead bodies, before our shift ends.
The second wave of pandemic has brought terror all around. Instead of the number of beds in the hospital, the only thing increasing at this very moment is the number of corpses that reach Aryaghat, a place of cremation in Kathmandu. Right now, it reeks of death, and it makes us all uncomfortable and reminds us all how fragile human life can be. It is very convenient for most of us to avoid the place, but Khatri cannot afford to do that, no matter what.
The work Khatri has been doing is not an easy one. It requires courage to know that the grieving family does not get to say their last goodbye and do what needs to be done. “On a single day of work, an individual needs to attend to approximately 30 dead bodies, before our shift ends,” revealed Khatri.
After completing the shift, every person must do a PCR test and be quarantined until the test returns negative. And then again, the work continues.
Khatri says it can be very disturbing to work in that position. Still, since he was trained in the Army to perform his duty no matter the bleakness of the situation, he could handle himself and not let this destroy him psychologically.
Personally, he does not consider the second wave of pandemic and his work to have brought a massive change in his daily living. He perceives this as a part of his work. “In my line of duty, we have to serve the nation even if it means putting our lives at risk, and even now, I am doing the same, which is not so different from what I do in my line of duty,” he stated.
However, not everyone is as comfortable accepting this fact. Khatri revealed that he and many of his colleagues have not informed their families of their current responsibility as it will make them too worried. He believes that even though they will understand and not complain about it, there will be an unsettling feeling lingering amongst his family and loved ones.
Nevertheless, his work does not stop, and he willingly continues to do so as he believes it to be a part of his duty. He hopes this pandemic will end soon so that no more people will have to lose any more lives.
Khatri requests everyone to stay indoors with their family. He also urges people and workers to maintain covid protocols everywhere they go because he firmly believes that the only way to decrease the number of deaths is by preventing the spreading of this virus.