Blind Faith darkens Radhika’s future
To say that I am upset would be the very least of what I am actually feeling at this very moment. Once again the actual fact that India is Shinning only for the educated class has been shoved in my face. Forget about people living in the villages, even the ones who move to the city for a better future are still living in the dark ages.
And today I had a first-hand experience of this blunt truth.
The past few days have been good and deeply satisfying with the way things have progressed for Radhika. The response from regular people offering any sort of help required to lighten up this 5 year old’s future has been phenomenal. After convincing her family that the hand surgery is definitely the appropriate first step towards building a normal life for their daughter, I arranged their meeting with Dr. Milind Wagh.
Though I was not able to go for the meeting with Radhika and her family, I called up Dr. Wagh the very next day and asked for his diagnosis of Radhika’s condition. Dr. Wagh sounded really positive and informed me that the hand surgery would be conducted it 2-3 parts. The operation of the feet could be done after a couple of months. The cost of the first surgery would be around Rs. 5000 to Rs. 6000, which would the hospital expenses only. Dr. Wagh was kind enough to not charge anything for consultancy and also has offered to perform the surgery for free. He had taken Radhika’s X-rays and had asked her family to bring her in again on Monday, June 26, 2006 for blood and other required tests. Once all the tests were taken care of, Dr. Wagh wanted to do the surgery by the end of this month.
At home, I spoke to my mum and she agreed to pay for Radhika’s first surgery. So all seemed to going just fine, until this afternoon. I called up Radhika’s father to re-check the time they would meet me at Dr. Wagh’s clinic in Mahim and to my horror he informed me that he and his family have decided against the operation. And their reason behind this decision was even more of a shocker. Apparently over the weekend they received a call from the village, whereby one of their family members warned them against the operation because it was a bad omen for Radhika’s mother. If they went ahead with the operation then Radhika’s mother would surely die – this is what the pundit said to their family member.
I tried to reason with Radhika’s father but it all went down the drain and he slammed the phone on me. Left completely clueless as to what should be my next step, I called up Vandana (speech therapist at Shruti School for the Deaf at Juhu). After informing her about my conversation with Radhika’s dad, Vandana assured me that she would call them up again and have a word with Anita (Radhika’s mother) and probably set up a meeting again. She didn’t sound very positive and clarified her position by saying that there is not much we can do if her family refuses to take accept the help being offered.
I guess Vandana is correct. I mean how you can help someone if they don’t want to be helped. But somehow I have a feeling that there is much more to this than meets the eye. Maybe the family has decided to cash in on the newly acquired publicity after receiving so much coverage and attention by the media and others. Obviously after the surgery, Radhika would be just like any other 5 year-old and this would surely not fetch them any money.
Anyway, be it selfish human needs or blind faith in some age-old ritual, the bottom line is that it will only be hampering Radhika’s future. Life can be so bloody unpredictable, just few days ago Radhika was handed an opportunity that thousands of children in this city long for, but today because of her family she is back to point zero.
I am still hoping against all odds that I’ll be able to convince them otherwise and I shall do my very best to do that.