'Night time. Kishore, this sweet chap, wakes up with a high fever. As he gasps for breath, his parents try and console him, his father rushes in, comes out in a minute with a wet cloth and places it on the 13-tear old's forehead, hoping it would absorb the heat. All this while they fervently think of some way to stall the fever till morning, when they can go and meet some doctor-hospitals are way too expensive.
As time relentlessly ticks away and Kishore seems to get worse what with his whole body shivering, they have no option. They gather what money they have got, borrow some from their neighbours, haul Kishore's frail frame into an auto and rush to the nearest hospital. The doctors sensing something very wrong, order a blood test. As soon as the needle pricks the skin, the blood starts flowing-not only from his hand. But also from his ears, and nose!
As his face contorts with pain, the doctors run around frantically, all the while the agonised parents watch with horror not knowing what to do and what will happen-to their only son.
It is all over within 20 minutes. The fever killed the boy that fateful night! His mother turned into a lunatic and had to be sent away to her village. The father is still wondering what went wrong and blaming everything around (including himself) for his son's untimely death.'
This is a real story! We, in DreamIndia2020, considered him a younger brother. Sprightly and always spitting on the roads, this teen regularly attended our classes with enthusiasm. The way he calls out 'Nataraj Sir' and 'Eswar Sir' still rings in my ear. Easwar and I gifted him a chessboard for winning the Sports day competitions we conducted for the children. I remember sitting with him in his house and patiently (quite patiently) teaching him how to play the game. Though he was not much interested, he was so excited that i had actually come to his house, sat with him, and taught him to play. I used to chastise him always for spitting on the roads, and he cared a damn. (How I wish he were still here - i dont care whether he cared a damn or not)
We failed! Rather I failed!
- Many a time Nata had asked me to conduct a medical camp at the slum (where Kishore lived). Maybe if i had done that, better care would have been taken and the kid would have lived.
- Many a time Lakshmi Iyer had told me to involve the community when i do social work. I did not. Maybe if i had, the parents would have told me and we could have gone to a better hospital and.... things might have been different!
- Most importantly, there had already been such a death in the same area five months ago. And i dismissed it that time.
Despite so many portends if a person does not act, I would not exactly call him an animal, but he is somewhere close to that. And you know, dear reader, what the best part is? I will remain so! I still run behind the ephemeral and superficial pleasures of life while i could soend that time saving lives. I still would keep being ME even after a thousand Kishores.
But this article is not all about self-bashing! I just wanted to pour out my heart and what better place than this blog.
To give a silver lining to the otherwise dark cloud that i have metaphorised myself into, I confidently say that someday, I would stop being that (something close to an animal that is) and start saving the Kishore's of our country. I just hope that that day is not too far in the future.
P S :
- I'm not sure whether iam doing justice by putting his photo here...but hell, i have no bad intentions!
- For people who dont understand what we are talkin here... visit www.dreamindia2020.org to know about our organisation.