I watched Radha solve her first puzzle and Conrad Veidt's quote came to mind: So now it is time to disassemble the parts of the jigsaw puzzle or to piece another one together, for I find that, having come to the end of my story, my life is just beginning. But there is a catch: Radha's life is slowly and irrevocably ending.
Her life has been a series of unsolved or poorly solved puzzles. When she came to us she had a family, or rather we should say a father. Then one dark evening he passed away. We were certain that we could save the family and have them all come and live at the women centre - was that not what the centre was for - but that to was not to be. Predators and supposed well wishers emerged from the woodwork and put an end to that. The mother was convinced no to come to us, or maybe she herself wanted to remain free of the constraints of a residential programme. One will never know. The end result was that Radha, whose dream is to be able to walk one day, continues to live in what I call a kennel, but what to her is home. And in that home she continues to break her little brittle bones with regularity.
In the best of cases the life expectancy of children with OI is short. There is no known cure to the disease just some therapies that can help reduce pain and complications. Most of these are out of the reach of a slum child.
Radha's desire to learn is mind blowing. She just wants to catch life with both hands and get whatever she can out of it. She had never been to school before she came to us. Since she has been at pwhy she has learnt many things. She now has a little table which ensures that her legs are safe from hurt. When other children dance or indulge in some physical activity, Radha devours books. Though she cannot read well yet, she flicks through the pages, an intent look on her face and a burning desire in her eyes. She wants to learn with quantum leaps and we try and follow...
When I watch Radha I am filled with sadness and a sense of helplessness. There is so much I would want to do and cannot. Were planet why up and running we would have kept her with us and taken care of her. But planet why is still a dream and little Radha's life an enigma. One can just hope and pray for miracles. And while we wait and pray, little Radha is busy solving new puzzles.