Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sweet and Brave

It was a bright Sunday morning of 1995. Sweety was dressed in a bright lehenga choli with bangles of matching colours. Her name suited her charming and sweet demeanour. She was the daughter of one of our colleagues, Mr. Durganand Swami who was staying one floor above ours at Gokuldham, a residential area of Goregaon (East), Mumbai. They were expecting some guests and Sweety had kept ready the video recording of her dance performance which she would show to the guests. At the age of nine or ten she had not only learnt classical dance but had also excelled in studies and other extra curricular activities. She was class mate of Dilraj (Bunny), my younger son and often came to our house for exchanging school notes etc with him.

As i was busy in some sort of chores that needed to be done on Sundays, i heard some crying and wailing out side. On rushing out i found that the sounds were coming from the floor above. As i ran up stairs i saw a ghastly sight. A small little delicate hand lay stuck between the two partially open grill doors of the lift. There was commotion inside one of the flats. I saw Sweety crying and screaming holding one of her arms. The little girl had lost her right hand which had got stuck in the two grill doors of the lift and was pulled apart by the scissor effect of the same. The lift had started moving as she was adjusting the doors of the lift and could not withdraw the hand in time as she was wearing bangles. Though the lift had stopped due to the pulling of the inner grill door but that was only after cutting off the child's hand. By this time other neighbors had also gathered there. We took out the hand from the grill doors and put it in a plastic bag filled with ice. I took out my car and rushed the girl along with her parents to the nearest clinic. Due to shock and trauma the girl's hand had not bled at all. The white bones and some veins and tissues which were also dry and pale were clearly visible at the end of her arm. The Doctor at the clinic administered the first aid and told us to rush to the hospital where such cases were treated.

That was the day when I drove my car at its fastest speed in Mumbai. Major Devinder Sharma, a colleague and our nieghbour, followed us in his own car. As I kept violating all the traffic rules while driving, drawing the attention of the traffic cops, he did the explaining of the situation to the cops and thus we reached the hospital. The doctor at the hospital examined the girl's condition and told that had the hand been chopped off by a knife or some sharp instrument, it would have been easier to join the same, as the ends of all the tissues, veins, muscles and other such components essential for joining the separated hand would have been available uniformly at both the ends. But in the prevailing condition the hand was separated by pulling and such components had been broken un- evenly. Still, he promised that he would try his best. Unfortunately after a long operation, lasting many hours, the hand could not be joined.

During this hair raising episode one thing was very pertinent to note. After the initial screaming and crying at her house, the little girl regained her wits and composure in no time. During the drive to the hospital she kept consoling her parents- who were sobbing silently- that she would learn writing with her left hand and that she would still continue her dancing and other activities. She even spoke to the hospital staff in a manner as if she had suffered only a minor injury.

PS-- April 2012 -- Recently i came in contact with Sweety's father. She has not only grown into a beautiful young girl but is also excelling in her academic life. Please read here to know about Sweety's progress.


Lt Col Vinay Shahi,SM said...

Your anecdote about Sweety's grit & determination was heart wrenching.I pray to God for her well being where ever she is.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible thing to happen!! I admire Sweety's courage. I am ashamed of myself for being terrified of needles even though I am in my late 20's.