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Joy and sorrow in Kochi for two families

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Afghan policemen gather around a building which was occupied by Taliban militants at the site of an attack in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on May 13, 2015. Some seven people were killed while seven others were wounded in a shooting in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of southern Afghanistan's province of Helmand

Afghan policemen gather around a building which was occupied by Taliban militants at the site of an attack in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on May 13, 2015. Some seven people were killed while seven others were wounded in a shooting in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of southern Afghanistan's province of Helmand
Afghan policemen gather around a building which was occupied by Taliban militants at the site of an attack in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on May 13, 2015. Some seven people were killed while seven others were wounded in a shooting in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of southern Afghanistan’s province of Helmand

By Sanu George 

Strange are the ways of life as is evident in this commercial capital of the state: a Keralite family is weeping as one of its members was shot dead in Afghanistan, while in a nearby hospital, an Afghan national is elated as he has got a new pair of hands from a brain-dead Keralite.

The family members of 69-year-old chartered accountant Mathew George are awaiting the arrival of his body after he was shot dead in Kabul  by militants – one of four Indian victims of a Taliban attack at a cultural event.

George, after retiring from Apollo Tyres three years ago, just couldn’t sit still and has been with a Delhi-based accounting firm doing auditing work for the Afghan government.

“He was here in January this year and had said that he will return in June after the work that he has taken up in Afghanistan ends. On Wednesday night, his son who works in Pune had spoken to him after hearing that trouble has broken out in Kabul. He said he was hiding under a chair and his phone went silent after an hour. The next morning, the Indian Embassy informed that George was no more and had been killed in a terrorist attack,” a relative told the media here.

The body will arrive here Friday and the funeral has been fixed for Sunday as one son has to come from the US.

A few kilometres away, at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), 32-year-old Abdul Rahim, a former captain with the Afghan security forces has now got a new pair of hands, thanks to a brain-dead Keralite and to a team of doctors at the leading private hospital who conducted the double transplant last month.

Subramania Iyer, the lead doctor of the team that conducted the transplant, said these are the vagaries of life.

“I don’t know if Rahim is aware of the killing of George. Life is like this and our job is to do things what we are expected to do,” Iyer said.

Iyer added that Rahim speaks with the help of an interpreter and is likely to be discharged very soon as he is doing fine with his new pair of hands.

Rahim was an expert in detecting and defusing land mines. Two years ago, a mine he was defusing exploded and left him without his hands. He came here earlier this year and was lucky to get a donor.

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