Sunday, December 11, 2011

A big fall

It was half past 5 in the afternoon. The day's bamboo weaving was over and I was free. Feeling rather hungry, I walked towards the mango trees at the southern boundary of of our plot. The eastern-most one bore raw  mangoes with a few ripe ones here and there. My mother watched me climb towards the top, standing in the courtyard.. When I was up there I could see a really good one dangling from a small branch.  I remember telling mother 'I will get this one' as I inched towards it. I caught hold of it and everything became blank thereafter. When I awoke I was bed-ridden in the government hospital at Perumbavoor. I had fallen and my left leg's joint got dislocated. Later, I heard that there was blood in my mouth as I lay unconscious at the foot of the tree. The neighbours did not try to help me as they thought I was dead. I had fallen from a height of 30'! I hit against a branch mid way that luckily reduced the momentum of  fall. A rich man lent his car to bring me to the hospital. The doctors simply ignored me and I lay orphaned without even a plaster over the fractured area as my people could not bribe them. I stayed there in excruciating pain unable to walk or stand. On the third day, I was taken on a bicycle to a village physician 5 kilometres away who would massage the area with his medicinal oil. He continued this treatment for 2 weeks, and still it was painful. After 15 days  we went  home, again on a bicycle, to continue massaging with home made oil. After 3 months I could stand and slowly walk. But a limp developed, as one leg was shorter than the other by one or two centimetres. Even today I have a slight limp. There are many 'free' government hospitals in India but efficient care and treatment always come with a price. The poor are disadvantaged everywhere. Inequality is the law of nature: some are born with silver spoons in their mouth and others with a begging bowl.    

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