Patience is the only virtue left in your body, when you submit yourself in a government hospital . This comes in play on a hot Wednesday afternoon when the opd is beaming and gleaming with numerous patients. During the odd 100 patients one doesn’t really get a sound interaction with anyone except with yourself under the mask. On such an afternoon, patient after patient, I see an adolescent girl walk in with 7 more girls , each tinnier than the other. The youngest caught my eye because she brought along a brown withered ,small fluffy bear , clasped carefully between both her hands. I do the needful of checking all of them, non-plussed by seeing them come without a parent in sight. Each sister gave history for the other. When it was my turn to examine the youngest child, an attender cropped up in uniform. Her uniform gave away everything- they all belonged to a trust for orphaned and abandoned children. Realizing the apparent about how they were all related to each other – I did understand the grounds of their admission to the trust. These girls had all been abandoned.
I quickly take to the younger one, ask her name and the name of the endearing teddy she’s held onto, she replies – Bapu bear. With a big smile under my mask and a bigger tear in my eye , I ask her what brought her to keep such a unique name. The words from her mouth come with certitude- my mother said to keep it with me you until one day she brings my father to get me back. She comes to see me secretly, So we ve named it after my father.
I remain speechless, not realizing ever before how much words can cut through you and injure you enough to make you completely mute. Ironically I offer these strong bunch of girls the only thing I possess – my medical services, I get on with the check up and do the medications and move on to my next patient in line. By the time I finish my day, I cant erase the picture of the young brave heart with her teddy. It’s a human form of purity mixed with a little sunshine. Its incredible how her innocence is making her blind towards an impending heart break .
While my emotions run in different directions – anger for their parents to abandon their own flesh and blood, remorse for the mother who just couldn’t speak up, wonderstruck at the courage these girls have and probably my incompetence at doing something for them and hundreds of such innocent children. Though a part of me hopes her faith doesn’t die, another part of me hopes she never has to look back again. I secretly pray she never needs her baapu bear again , because here’s something I know for sure – love can be put off sometimes but never abandoned.