Thursday, 6 June 2013

Crippled child's family sinking in a sea of despondency

 Lying motionless in a brightly lit hospital room at Anna Nagar, ten-year-old Subharakshita refuses to look at visitors. Despite her mother Manjula’s best efforts to make her pose to our lensman, the dusky class five student whose slender torso was crushed under the wheels of a Mercedez Benz two weeks ago, remains defiant in her attempt to stare away from attention.

 “Usually she is a bubbly vivacious child very popular in school as well as in our neighbourhood,” Manjula says as she cleans pieces of dry worn out skin from Subha’s thin fingers, which are the only part of her hand not wrapped in bandage cloth. “While doctors are not too confident about her returning back to normal life, we are optimistic and will fight,” she says.
Photo: Jaison G

Photo: Jaison G

Until May 23, 2013, Subharakshita whose name translates to ‘protector of good fortune’ was yet another primary school student playing merrily with cousins and siblings when tragedy struck their family in the form of a drunk man sitting behind the wheels of a powerful automobile.

Subha’s father I Kumar (44), a former auto rickshaw driver who stopped driving after he suffered a heart attack and a chain of other ailments a few years ago, and set up a roadside textile business earning around Rs.200/day is struggling to find hope in life despite sinking in a sea of despondency.

“For the last five years, I have been in and out of hospitals treating my flagging health. Now, my little angel is crippled. I don’t know what to do,” Kumar says. “Within minutes of the accident, we rushed her to the government general hospital. But, doctors there did not even give us false hope. She was not given proper care and were told that even if my girl survives her hands would be permanently damaged.”

Kumar later contacted the Soundarapandian Hospital at Anna Nagar where he had undergone a surgery to correct his hips just a few months ago. “The doctors here gave us some hope and so we have shifted here,” he says.

Surgeons at the hospital estimate that a near complete recovery was possible and would cost them several lakh rupees.

“I was hoping that the state government would help my family as well as those of others. But, so far they haven’t,” Kumar says.

At the Madras High Court, the counsel for Shaji Purushottaman who is prime accused in the case, has agreed in open court to bear all medical expenses of the crippled child. But, whether that money brings good fortune to Subharakshitha remains to be seen.

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