Thursday, April 18, 2013

The man who stood up for his friends

Ajmal was 15 when this incident happened. There were a group of girls and boys playing on his school playground. The girls were playing basketball and the boys were playing cricket. The playground was too small for two groups of people to play two different games at a time, but the students seemed to adjust to it well, and neither encroached the playing space of the other group. Ajmal was one of the boys playing cricket with his friends.

Ajmal's friend, Parthik, was the star batsman of the group. It was Parthik's turn to bat. When the first ball was bowled, he hit it with knack, and off went the ball. It was clearly a 'six' and the ball went straight outside the boundaries. Unfortunately, the ball landed on one of the girls playing basketball, and it hit directly on her head. She fell unconscious. The other girls, who were playing with her, swarmed around her.

Sensing the danger, the boys ran away, throwing off their bats and wickets. They were sure to be punished by their teacher if he finds out that their playing carelessly has injured a classmate. Seeing everybody run away, Ajmal wanted to run too, but his conscience stopped him from doing that. So, he walked back and went near the girl. She was bleeding from her head. None of the girls could lift her up and transfer her to a safer place. Ajmal, with the help from two other girls, lifted the girl and placed her under the shade of a tree. After asking one of the fellow girls to bring her water, he ran to the staff room to inform the teacher.

Once the teacher came, the girl was given first aid, and immediately sent to the hospital. Ajmal assisted the teacher in delivering the first aid.

Ajmal was called up and appreciated on the next day's common assembly. He was also to be given an award during the school day celebrations for his sincerity and timely action. He acted as the soldier for the girl he knew!

Fighting cancer with a soldier for women

It was in the winter of 2011 that Shilpa was diagnosed to have cancer. It was an advanced cancer which doctors could not do anything much to cure, but prescribe some pain killers and ask her to prepare herself for death. Shilpa was just 35 at that time. When she heard the news from her consultant oncologist Mr. Vasudeva, she was stunned for a while. After about 30 seconds of silence, tears rolled down her face as the news started sinking into her.

Her treatment started at the Annapurna Hospital, Chennai. Dr. Vasudeva was the doctor-in-charge. Shilpa used to spend her evenings with the doctor, speaking about things of her choice - poetry, life and people. Dr. Vasudeva, though a very busy person, used to join her and listen to her talks with interest. Sometimes, she wouldn't just stop, but Dr. Vasudeva would genuinely listen to her and answer to her questions, give suggestions and comfort her. It was later that Shilpa realized that he does this to all of his patients, spending a lot of time with them, reading newspapers for them, and even sharing his lunch with them!

By the time Shilpa finished one month of hospital stay, Dr. Vasudeva knew the names of all her relatives. He was liked be all of Shilpa's relatives. His presence would comfort them all. He once visited Shipa's house when requested so by her parents. Soon, Dr. Vasudeva became like a member of Shilpa's family.

Shilpa passed away in March 2012. The death was pretty much anticipated, as metastatic deposits had reached her lungs and liver all the way through her blood. Among those weeping for her, there was Dr. Vasudeva too. A humble man who treats around 100 cancer patients every day, and witnessing at least one death a week was seen weeping for the death of one of his patients! Dr. Vasudeva really stood up and fought for Shilpa, calmed and comforted her and her family during times of crisis. He, for sure, is a soldier for women!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Salutes to you, sir!

This incident happened when I was in school. We had our regular physical training classes on Wednesdays. I used to spend my physical education classes playing badminton with Mridula. Once we were playing a very fierce match. Mridula was playing against me and was leading by just one point. One more fault from my side would make her win the match. Boys and girls from both junior batches and senior batches were watching us. Most of them were cheering for either of us. I knew that if I missed the serve, Mridula would win the game, if not, we would have equal points. I couldn't afford to lose the match. So, I watched with extreme concentration while Mridula served.

Just as she tossed the shuttlecock into the air and lifted the racket to hit it, she fell down on the ground. Before the audience could realize what happened, she started convulsing. I knew that she was having a seizure episode, but I had never yet watched her seizing. She was frothing from her mouth. Her hands were clenched hard. She was shaking vigorously. Her eyes were open and protruding out. I got very afraid and I simply stood where I had been.

The audience, who were enthusiastically watching the match till then, were confused as to what to do. Some of them ran to the staff room to call a teacher. Others watched her. One boy told that showing the goddess's picture would stop her from convulsing. Another boy ran to his class to collect a bunch of keys, holding of which he thought, would stop her from convulsing. Nobody had the guts to approach her and give her first aid.

Mr. Ram, our science teacher, came running to the spot. He was informed of Mridula's condition by a student. He lifted Mridula and lay her down on the grass under a tree in the playground. Students followed him. He then ordered for water, and one student hastily walked towards the office to bring water on his instruction. Mr. Ram then gently kept his clean handkerchief over her tongue to prevent her from biting her tongue and injuring herself. He removed the tight sweater she was wearing. He then gently lifted her head and placed it on his lap.

After some time, Mridula was back to normal. Mr. Ram gave her water to drink. She couldn't remember what had happened to her during the seizure episode. She was embarrassed to see many students standing around her. It was for the first time that she was experiencing a seizure episode while in school. She was afraid that her friends would isolate her because of her medical condition.

The next day, during the science class, Mr. Ram talked with the class about seizures. He told us that seizures per se is not a disease, but only a symptom. He explained that one may have seizures even if she/he has no serious neurological problems. He explained us how seizure occurs, and what has to be done when somebody is seen seizing. He then called Mridula near him and appreciated her for being brave the previous day. I could see Mridula blushing with happiness.