A universal language
Nestled on the Eastern banks of the Godavari river lies a small city called Rajahmundry in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The river itself is the second largest river in the country. Amongst this fairly populated city lives a family of seven in a small red brick house. A traditional joint family which offers more support, especially in this particular case where the eldest daughter of Lakshmi and Karuna – Dara needs vigilant care.
Dara’s hair cut short for the heat that swells the air of Rajamundhry keeps her scalp cool and is of course much easier maintenance! Her face wears an infectious smile that leaves all those around her feeling warm and fuzzy. How can a child who has endured so much pain exudes such happiness? Some of us live our lives engulfed with complaints – some small and others perhaps significant. But then you look at girls like Dara. She has mapped out with her hands and imagination what her mother could look like as she touches her face. The very Doctor who saved her life was a voice, a touch, who she put her trust into to make her well again.
Since birth, Dara was extremely weak and could hardly manage to walk correctly. Being visually impaired, she naturally had restricted movements. When her grandmother got extremely unwell, the family took her to Global Hospital in Kakinada. For every young girl, a mother is a safety – especially, Dara. She accompanies her mother to most places, including this hospital visit. During a conversation, the Doctor had suggested that it would be good to get Dara’s heart checked as a precautionary measure.
As he placed the stethoscope on Dara, she detected a murmur which was a cause for concern. The Doctor referred the family to Jaypee Hospital in Amalapuram who further referred them to KIMS Hospital in Rajamundry. An Echocardiogram confirmed the Doctor’s suspicion of a congenital heart disorder.
The family were stunned; life was hard enough for them; this news broke their faith in life. Day after day they struggled with finances, Karuna worked hard and long hours but brought home a monthly salary not higher than Rs 3000. He has three children to support, his parents and of course his wife. Laxmi could not take on any part-time work as she had to look after her children, especially Dara needed full-time care. The congenital heart disorder treatment recommended for their daughter was just not possible. They decided it would be best to leave fate in the hands of the higher power as their finances would not allow them to get Dara treated.
She had a hole in between the lower chambers of her heart and required open-heart surgery. The family waited a year before they decided to make their way to KIMS Hospital for further investigation. Even then, the family could not afford the surgery and pleaded with the Doctors for help. Since the hospital is a partner of Genesis Foundation, the case was committed to with support from Oracle, a CSR partner. All costs were Dara’s surgery were going to be covered. She was going to live.
Dara is the first special case taken on by the Genesis Foundation. After she recovered from the surgery, over time she has gained confidence that has exceeded Lakshmi and Karuna’s expectations. She can walk independently to her uncle’s house across the lane. Her mother always watches from the window, never letting her gaze away from her daughter. Now, she goes to a school that caters to the visually impaired where she is learning braille. Indeed, a new lease of life, she has four best friends, and they are all thick as thieves.
For Dara each voice is a comfort, each touch is gold. As they play make-believe games – Dara smiles from ear-to-ear grateful that despite the world being a dark place to look at there are good deeds of humanity that have added an outburst of colour into her life.
-Contributed by Simran Sagar
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