When Pain turns into Rainbows

by Ravi on Nov 12, 2010

After spending fifteen days in Singapore, I was getting anxious to see my children at Apna Ghar again. Finally I arrived at our Lucknow home where I was greeted with the ever same warmth.  After being accused by the younger children for coming late, I was luckily rescued by the elder children!  They patiently explained to the younger ones that “papa had some important work to resolve in Singapore that is why he is late and he is doing all this for us so we should not complain about it”.  I always surprised at their wisdom.  I have no idea where they learn these ‘rational reasons’ and ‘tactful excuses’ – although, I am always grateful to them for saving me with words of wisdom. The ‘grown up’ children are already helping me!

Whenever I arrive back after a long trip we have a ritual to play soccer or cricket. It is a great way to re-bond and re-group as it brings us all together. The whole day slipped away and I was unable to play soccer with the older children. Sharad had learned some new skills in his school and was eager to show me how effective and improved he was now. He was chosen as the best sportsmen in his class.  Next day was Sunday and I promised that we will play in the morning.

It was a lovely Sunday morning. Autumn is knocking door in northern India. We started to play early in the morning. The ground was still wet and the sun’s rays were spreading their magic on it.  We don’t have a goalpost. Our sleepers serve as goalpost. We play bare feet and it is a real fun. Within a moment the teams were formed.  For me the children have made special rules, apparently have been granted permission to play for both sides!  My first half was with Sharad’s team and the second half Amar’s team. We were about to reach half time when I tried to jump over Rahul’s stretched leg to reach  the ball and pass it to Sharad. The moment my right foot touched the ground, it slipped. All of sudden I found myself in a perfect split. It was an accurate 180 degree formation with my legs on the ground. I heard a loud sound of “CRACK” which was clearly audible to everyone present in the ground. I knew something nasty has happened. They rushed to me hurriedly. I was still frozen in a perfect split for about a minute whilst trying to figure out what the damages were.

The children looked worried. Most of them are between 12 to 15 yrs old and they understood that the injury is serious. They looked concerned and some of them whispered “it is a fracture.”  The young ones started offering their help to get me up. Suddenly the atmosphere became glum. Within five minutes the news spread at Apna Ghar, that “papa’s leg is fractured” and he is in great pain. The children with anxious faces started gathering around me. It reminded me about a documentary which I watched on National Geographic when a deer was injured and a group of deer sensed the crisis and went to assist the wounded deer.  I could clearly see tears in Deepak’s eyes.  I tried to compose myself with a smile but was unable, because of the pain. I attempted to get up and I felt that the children really wanted to see me do this.  So I summoned all my strength and stood up.  The pain was unbearable and I soon realized that I had no control over the movement on the side of my knee. Did this mean I had damaged or torn a ligament?  I sat down on the chair and forced a smile.  What happened papa? How is the leg papa? Shall we bring you to doctor? They children started asking questions with utter sincerity and anxious concerns.  I was so overwhelmed with their care and responses. They were watching my each reaction and breath.  All of them were on their toes thinking and contemplating a way to ease my pain. I became sentimental and was enjoying every moment of their attention. Gradually the agony changed into a pleasant moment. A moment to treasure and cherish.  It was a moment when a father whose empathy was usually on his children, reversed to great empathy for their injured papa.

I remembered an incident 12 years ago. I was about 34 years old. My grandmother was pursuing me to get married and was telling me the advantages of married life. One of the strongest points people advocating for marriage is that there is someone to look after you when you are in times of need.   Another common reason couples give to get married in India is to have children who can take care of them when they are old. My grandmother passed away about six years ago and she was worried about me till her very last days often reminding me about the miseries of old age without having someone to look after you. I hope today she might be relieved and satisfied seeing me from above with an array of children surrounding me with love and care and their hearts offering me their help. The doctor suggested full rest and gave me some medicine. Since my injury the children are acting as ‘concerned parents’ always checking on my medicine and my mobility. Believe me they are acting as the most experienced parents!

Most of the times they are very loving and sometimes they are very strict in particular when it comes to taking medicine and getting rest. Monday morning I was working on my laptop and was late to take my medicine, I was quickly reminded by little Amar “Papa why don’t you brush your teeth first, take breakfast and your medicine and continue your work?”

I know that not only my grandmother but also other well wishers can be very assured, after watching the children take such good care of me that my life has not been void of love, care, and empathy. It has been the reverse, an abundance of all these gifts of love and for this, I am truly grateful to all the children and supporters.

Evelyn Tan Hoon Ngoh March 10, 2014 at 6:42 AM

Hi Ravi, Wow! You are well taken care of by the children in COME. BLESSED YOU IN INDIA. (From: Evelyn Tan in Singapore).

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