FOR more than a fortnight, Sankho Saha didn't give much thought to the sudden swelling in his limbs—the drudgery of a lower middle class life didn't afford such luxuries. Wife Maina thought he had probably bumped into a wooden table at the little Kamakhya eatery they run in Guwahati's Fatasil Ambari area, serving rice and curries mainly to labourers and migrant workers.
The first doubt crept in when a friend walked in last month and enquired about the cooking medium he used. "Mustard oil," replied Saha. "What brand?" "Tamul." "Don't you know it's banned?" Thus the word dropsy float-ed into the lives of the couple, and their three children. Saha went for a checkup, and sure enough, doctors there diagnosed that he was suffering from the dreaded ailment. "We've always used mustard oil, so how we were to know that this particular brand is not safe?" Maina Saha asks. Although the entire family is now undergoing treatment, doctors are worried that customers who regularly ate at the Saha eatery, may also be victims—but unaware of it.