“Hello sir, we got your number from the hospital. We need B-ve blood for a patient who is in a critical condition. Can you please donate your blood?” The man on the other side of the phone call asked.

I stammered a bit. I asked where this hospital was and how they got my number. The person on the call said they found my name in the hospital ‘s registry and that they need four bottles of blood and I can help them out.

I don’t know what happened to me, it took a while for me to decide on it.

There was a time when I never hesitated to do it. I remember the first time I did it, 11 years ago. It was a blood donation camp in my college in Bengaluru. I had done it for fun, just like that, because my friends were also doing it. I just weighed 50 kilos back then, but I didn’t even know my blood group before that day.

The guy responsible to run group checks collected my samples to test for “communicable diseases” (He meant AIDS) and to my surprise repeated the test once more. He told me my blood group is B-ve – a rare group. He said it’s hard to find someone in that group and that I should be open to donating blood at least to ensure that I get it someday back when I need it. I still have the certificate from that camp!

B-ve is quite rare, only 1 in 67 or about 1.5% of the world’s population are part of this group. I decided never to say no to any case that demands my blood.

Since then, I’ve given my blood about 10 to 12 times – one more time at a camp that was held on my 25th birthday, a month later fo my own father during his bypass surgery (he’s B+ve though), two months later for some other donee and couple of other times.

Over the last 1.5 years though, I had not donated. For some reason I didn’t feel like. Sometimes it had to do with drinking or smoking, but most times it was because I felt too lazy and a little scared about doing it. I didn’t quite feel good about my body back then, being always tired and drowsy, travelling across the city to donate was something I couldn’t imagine doing.

I feel terrible about it now and would want to apologize to those 3-4 patients who were in need and I had chickened out of it citing sickness, alcohol or travel. 

I’m a lot healthier now, in fact I don’t remember being in such a good state in the last 10 years. This is the first year in my life in which I haven’t been taken down by cold or fever. It’s been 9 and a half months since the last one, touchwood! 

All these thoughts came to my mind when I got the call yesterday morning. After giving it a little thought I went down to the hospital. I’m back to feeling nice about it now.