Deepthi Amin, Dharmasthala
It was the month of November when my life changed forever.
I was in the depths of depression when November began, because I thought that I had completely ruined my so-called perfect life, the way it was going. I needed some refreshment, a change of scene – I would soon have one of the best times of my life, but I did not know it yet.
Having been through a few months’ marathon of watching Bollywood movies and Korean serials (with subtitles, of course!), I wanted to just leave Ujire, where I am doing my BNYS (Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences) internship at SDMYNCH (SDM Yoga and Nature Cure Hospital), and go to a place where I could be surrounded by nature, peace and happiness. Looking back, this feels so silly now.
On November 2nd, a senior of mine from SDMCNYS (SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences), Dr. Sindhu, who is doing her MD, asked me to travel with her to a nearby place, Puttur, to conduct a Yoga and Naturopathy camp. The very next second, the tiny voice in my brain said “Say yes and get out of this place, for God’s sake!” I was happy to be headed out, and started dreaming about peaceful, green puttur.
The three of us – Dr. Sindhu, my classmate Harshini and I – left Ujire at at 7 pm and reached our destination by 9 pm. The first biggest surprise (there were a hundred more to come) was that the place was at the centre of the city! So greenery DELETED, peace DELETED, and happiness, well, let’s see…
As I had decided to keep my mind busy and not to think about the past, I started working hard, talking to patients and giving treatment. Of course, we faced a number of technical difficulties during the stay, and had to make do with whatever was available, as with any camp like this one, in a semi-rural place.
Having learnt a lot about Naturopathy in our course, we had decided that 2 meals a day was the principle – Lunch in a nearby restaurant and just fruits for dinner. The consultation room was turned into a bedroom for the night as the 3 of us were staying in the OPD itself.
New place, new faces… the first few days were pathetic. What I thought would be my ‘great escape’ had turned into a prison for a month. I should not have trusted the movies. Slowly, a week passed. It was another normal boring day when I walked into the clinic and saw the angel who would turn my life upside down. His glasses, his soft skin, his smile… Ah, that 6 year old stole my heart!
His name was Prithwik. He was smiling at us from his vantage point, as though thinking to himself “Look at all these people, they’re looking so down and out, like zombies walking around the place, while I’m being treated like a King!” His mother carried him all the time. His legs had no strength. He couldn’t see without glasses. His body was 6 years old, but his brain wasn’t. My angel was suffering from cerebral palsy.
The first thought I had when I saw him was, “Oh, the poor kid! He can’t see, he can’t stand on his own feet, and he can’t even think and act like other kids of his age. How horrible his life would be. His mother can’t keep carrying forever, can she?” I felt a lot of pity for him, thinking about how sad he would be. Anybody would, but in the coming few weeks, he proved me wrong.
Dr. Sindhu and Dr. Padmalatha quickly completed their examinations and formalities, and prepared a treatment plan for Prithwik. We started with acupuncture, powder massage and few exercises the first day. I still laugh when I remember the way he asked those cute questions… He would see the acupuncture needle in our hands and ask the same question every day, with apprehension and scrutiny apparent on his face, “Are you gonna prick me?” We would say yes. The next question would be “Will it bleed?” We would answer no. Immediately afterward, he would shoot a third, seemingly irrelevant question at us, “Will it rain today?” I remember laughing every time he asked me that question, and every time I laugh, he would laugh more than me, as though telling me, ‘The joke’s on you!’
Every day, during the course of his treatment, we would have great fun. They were more of laughter sessions than treatment sessions; He loved being tickled during the massage! All of us have dream big and grow desires like travelling abroad, becoming popular, earning lots of money, finding a great partner and so on, but Prithwik’s wish was ekdum hatke… This great guy’s biggest wish was to go to Puttur bus stand and see the buses coming and leaving. He literally used to beg his mom to carry him to bus stand every day. It was my pleasure to be his ride, so to say, many a time.
I learnt so much from him. I remember the times when he would cry as we are trying to make him walk. He could cry when he wanted to cry, he could laugh when he wanted to laugh and he could talk whatever he wanted to talk. And that’s when I started thinking.. Should I pity him or myself? I couldn’t laugh, cry and talk like him, because I had to be aware of everything around me and act accordingly, but he didn’t. He didn’t need a reason to be happy. He didn’t need a reason to live. He had no future plans. And he wasn’t lonely. People loved him the way he was. Not because he was a child, but because he could make everyone happy around him without being self-conscious or even bothering about how they would react.
They say I’m a good singer. I’m a huge devotee of music, and I usually manage to capture my audience’s attention. It is very rare that I become a fan of my fans. Prithwik was one of them. He loved a song called “zubi dubi zubi dubi pampara zubi dubi parampam”. Well, I did not like that song much, but he made it my favorite song. He used to make me sing that song every day during his treatments, and he would sing along. We even recorded our duet, singing that song!
Prithwik turned me into a 6 year old. I began clapping like him and talking like him. Counting 1..2..3 with him and memorizing ABCD was so much fun. Nobody can ever call out my name the way he did.
All too soon, 25 days of treatment was over. We were talking to Prithwik as usual, and suddenly, something amazing happened. We couldn’t believe our eyes. There he was, right in front of our eyes, standing on his feet without any support! Being the girls we are, we we screamed in surprise and happiness. He must have stood by himself for a whole three seconds before he fell back on the bed. “Awwww”, we went, but he was laughing again. He was absolutely puzzled with our reaction. To him, it was a great achievement. He stood only for few seconds, but those few seconds were enough to bring hope to his parents, and of course, to me.
On the last day of our camp, his mother invited us home. Their place was quite far from the OPD and Prithwik was waiting. That’s when I realized how badly I was going to miss that kid. We played a lot, and ate the wonderful food his mother cooked for us. We took a lot of pictures with him and for the last time I became his bus. We roamed around in Bangalore sitting in the bus at his home. Imagination is such a wonderful gift. We all hugged and kissed him. Sindhu akka must have kissed his cheeks at least a hundred times, and still she wasn’t satisfied. It was a wonderful farewell.
It has been 4 months since we left Puttur. I miss Prithwik. I’m sure he must have found many more like me and changed their lives, but I haven’t found another Prithwik yet. He taught me to be happy for no reason, to laugh when I fall, to live without being bothered by the reactions of the world around me. He taught me to live life without a guarantee.
Always be happy and healthy, Prithwik. May you get everything you need. Be blessed always.
The author, Deepthi Amin, is currently doing her BNYS (Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences) at SDMCNYS (SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences), Ujire, Dharmasthala. She is a passionate, budding Naturopathy and Yoga doctor and a singer. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and +919902027181.