An obituary, in the Economist, of Lini Puthussery, an ambitious young Indian nurse.

The journey [to the hospital] from her home village of Chempanoda by bus was slow but beautiful, across fresh-flowing rivers, through groves of areca-nut and rubber trees and past wooded hills. The Western Ghats towered to the east and, in the evenings, took the light of the sun. The place was not quite paradise, because from time to time farmers gathered outside the village office to protest when their land was misclassified as protected forest and their claims to ownership were rebuffed. In 2017 a farmer hanged himself there. Yet apart from those things it was a quiet, green place, with her parents, aunts and cousins all close by.

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In her spare time she was busy improving her knowledge, to be eligible for a permanent government nursing job. She had filled a large black hard-bound book with neatly underlined entries in English, rather than her native Malayalam, on diseases and their treatments. Her notes, however, did not seem to cover what Sadiq had.

Sadiq had a new, often fatal, virus.

For the virus to spread between humans, contact had to be intensive and direct. That was exactly what Lini, with her tireless nursing, had provided. On May 16th she felt feverish, but insisted … that she would go to work because “lots of patients are there”, as always. When she grew worse, she checked herself into a hospital in Kozhikode and asked to be quarantined. [Her husband] flew back from Bahrain to find her barely conscious. She left him a note, partly in Malayalam and partly in English, which he folded away inside the cover of his phone.

Sajeeshetta, am almost on the way. I don’t think I will be able to see you again. Sorry. Please take good care of our children. Poor Kunju [Sidharth], please take him to the Gulf with you. Don’t stay single like our father. Plz. With lots of love, Umma

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