161st beneficiary. (Wheelchair)
“Just as in a war, no one can tell for sure the outcome.”
Meghraj Kumar (7)
Meghraj has cerebral palsy. His speech and limbs are considerably impaired. Considerably weakened. It compels him to be rested against a wall or chair, as his muscles cannot support his own weight.
His father, Suresh, works as a mechanic, repairing pressure cookers, ovens. He works and resides at Dharavi.
Meghraj attends ADAPT school at Bandra west, where he receives very basic English education. And the necessary physiotherapy that will hopefully make his limbs more able in due course of time. Hopefully.
When we feel proud about something that we possess, be it a value or virtue, or a material object or an immovable asset, or even just a great idea, we can hold our head up in pride and keep it up there (until we learn humility.)
Meghraj can’t. Even if someday he is able to hold the smallest pencil between his fingers and write his mother’s name in Hindi or English, he will not be able to hold his head up with well-deserved pride. Most probably not. He cannot hold his neck in place due to the cerebral palsy condition. His head drops forward or sideways, in seconds, like a gentle straw that snaps in a fierce storm, if it is not held in place.
If Meghraj shifts his gaze to the floor, his upper body follows his gaze and drops forward in the direction of the floor.
How pain staking it must be for his mother, his family or caretaker, to feed him. Or even make him gulp down a half glass of water, I thought. Caretakers of special children must be the most patient beings.
His younger brother, around 3-4, is a great caretaker of Meghraj. If Meghraj’s head drops and his body consequently slops forward towards the floor, his younger brother rushes to pick up his elder brother’s upper body and make him rest against the wall. Since they do not have a wheelchair, they leave him in a corner against the wall, or then lying flat on the floor, most of the time. His elder brother has only just begun to lift him to take him around when he needs to leave the house, so he is becoming a good support for his parents. However, its time they got a wheelchair.
Meghraj is happiest in school. He likes to have children around him. If you visit their special school, you will see for yourself that these children smile and laugh as much, or more, than our ‘normal’ and privileged children
I asked Meghraj’s father, what his dream is for his son.
He told me, the doctor who attended to him long ago told him that children like his son may not survive beyond their teens. Meghraj is already 7. He feels his son may not be with them for long. Since that day, nothing in this world has mattered to his father more than seeing his son be happy. “I am going to give my son the best life that we possibly can provide him. My life is dedicated to his welfare. Even though no one can say for certain how long anyone will live.”
I recollect something my Dad had told me. He has served the Royal Indian Navy for 2 years and the Indian Army for 6 or 7. His commanding officer had told him, “In a war, no one can tell for sure the outcome.” Same for life, I thought.
Not just for Meghraj. We all have an unknown amount of limited hours to savour the gift of our senses and nature. So be kind to yourself, before you be kind to your loved ones.
My parents went away too. And only then I realised I should have been a little bit more patient and a bit more empathetic towards them. I learnt my lessons. Well, we all will. At the most able hands of the best teacher and PHD course ever – life.
Thank you to Sushrut Mankad, and our youngest donor Mann Joshi, 15, my cycling pal too, for donating this wheelchair to Meghraj. Mann saved money from his pocket-money for this. 🙂 When I was his age, I would save to buy toy dinki-cars.
Why is it important to help these special children? Many. One of them being, I believe, it is our ability to be able to move with ease from one spot to another which makes us reach our desired and varied destinations in life. That is why we donate bicycles and wheelchairs and walkers. Because one wheel at a time and one step at a time will help us journey more than a thousand miles. 🙂 Thanks to our donors.
Thank you Himanshu Shah for the discount on the wheelchair.
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
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