I proud to be.....

I proud to be Indian was the strange title of a Bollywood potboiler and in spite of the wrong syntax of the title, it somehow stuck in my mind. Yesterday we took little Sohil to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. We had known for some time that he needed surgery to treat his hydrocephalus but it was the visit of Jeff that made us realise the urgency of the matter. Jeff had seen a child wit hydrocephalus turn into a vegetable in a remote village in Afghanistan as he has not received the simple surgery that would have made all the difference.

This set us into action. Old diaries were perused and the phone number of an eminent neurosurgeon was retrieved. I am sure the God of lesser beings decided to play his past as the doctor normally quite difficult to track down was available and yesterday we took Sohil to meet him. For those of you who have never been to an AIIMS OPD let me try and give you a description. Imagine a crowded railway station hall and multiply the numbers. In it place four doors on opposite corners, each having a doctor and in front of the door imagine the kind of queue you would have in front of a ticket sales counter on opening day of a long awaited movie and multiply it by four. The crowd is a medley of young and old, rich and poor and you can even add a prisoner chained to a gun holding cop. Voila! The stage is set. Now because you know the doctor you have been told to break the queue but that in itself is a herculean task. You somehow manage and though at that time you do not understand how you did, you realise later that unlike movie halls and railway platforms, there is no aggressive behaviour, no anger, no resentment. Actually people make way and even smile at the little child you are holding in your arms.

You reach the doctor's room which is tiny and also overcrowded. You sit in a corner and wait while the doctor informs a family that has come all the way from a village in Orissa that there young son has a brain tumour. This is done gently. The family is told that there is hope. Then your turn comes.

Doctor Suri takes time to examine Sohil and then tells us to get the tests done in private labs as the waiting list is too long. He reassures us that Sohil will be well and that he will operate on him personally. And as we hear those words we are moved to tears. In that tiny overcrowded room here is only hope and life. And the man doling this in ample measure is one of the finest doctr you can find as not only is he a good doctor, but he is one that has not been lured by the outside world and has stood by the oath he once took. My heart fills with pride and the funny title comes to my mind: I proud to be Indian!

But the story does not end there. The tests and operation will require funds. Two young volunteers, Cat and Lukas, have accompanied me and they both decide without batting an eye lid to sponsor the tests and want them done immediately. They will be done today and on Friday we will return to the doctor and get the final diagnosis and surgery date.

In the evening I call Jeff and tell him about our visit and the need to find funds for the surgery. He will sponsor it! Jeff is my son-in-law and the money is the Xmas budget of my little family.

So today I proud to be Indian, grandmom, mom, mom-in-law and proud of project why!

Thank you Jeff, Parul, Agastya, Cat, Lukas, Benoit and Doc Suri for giving Sohil many bright morrows.