(Monideepa Banerjie is Resident Editor, Eastern Region, News with NDTV)
Irom Sharmila is back where she does not belong - in the same hospital room where she spent almost 14 years of her life. The hospital room from where she had walked out just 40 hours ago to a very brief freedom.
Irom Sharmila had not cut her nails for 14 years. They fell off and grew again. Today, after the painful way she was taken away by the police from the venue of her fast, the nail of her big left toe is broken and bleeding.
An IV drip was stuck in her left arm. A sister was administering an injection into her right arm when I sneaked into the hospital room.
Irom Sharmila saw me. And she smiled.
The room that Irom Sharmila had vacated 40 hours ago was untouched, as if they expected her back. The window sill full of well-cared plants. The walls strewn with posters. One, the front page of Irish Times with a full page picture of Nelson Mandela: another, of hands joined in prayer. Written under it, "Jai Hind."
On her familiar bed, the frail 42-year-old lay under a red blanket, mutely tolerating the ministrations of the sisters. No cry of pain when the nurse prodded her with a syringe, no demands for attention to her bleeding nail.
A policewoman in plainclothes walked in and demanded if I had permission to be in Sharmila's room.
As I walked out of the special ward, the grill gates were clanged shut behind me.
Till the next time Sharmila tastes freedom.
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