In files, his application for childhood

Already in debt, Midya family awaits financial assistance under the CM’s relief fund to travel to Andhra for their 10-yr-old’s check-up

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Puja Bhattacharjee | February 19, 2013


Rakshit Midya
Rakshit Midya

Rakshit Midya, 10, appears to be like any other boy of his age. On a closer inspection I noticed he was not participating in games with other children, instead observed from a distance. His mother would come to check on him and remind him not to run or go near other children. While everybody else put on their uniforms and got ready for school, he sat quietly on the porch as if lost in some deep thought. He bade goodbye to his younger sister who left for school along with the other children of the village and went inside.

Piqued by his apparent apathy towards school, I tried to engage him in conversation. That is when I noticed a deep white scar on his chest peeking through his shirt.

He was diagnosed with a hole in his heart when he was six years old. Initially, he was treated by a local doctor in Medinipur and then in a private hospital in Kolkata. Unable to afford treatment in a private hospital, they were referred to Sri Sathya Sai Institute of higher medical sciences in Prasanthigram, Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh. After two check-ups, the doctors successfully operated on him last December. But his treatment left his family financially drained. His father Jaidev Midya is a municipality sweeper with a meagre salary of Rs 1600 and his mother Soma is a housewife. “We have spent every dime we had and even had to borrow money from relatives for his treatment. The operation was free of cost but travel, lodging and medicines were quite expensive,” says Soma.

Post operation the doctors have advised him complete bed rest. So he will be skipping school for three months. I was curious how he will catch up with his studies after such a long gap. His mother tells me that a private tutor will be hired which will be an added constraint on a family which is already financially on the brink. The headmaster has also advised her to keep him away from school as young children mostly are out of control and there no telling how a friendly push or shove can affect his fragile health.

Recently a lump has developed in Rakshit’s chest around the operated area and his parents are frantic to take him back to Andhra Pradesh. “The doctors had told us to bring him back immediately if we notice something unusual. In any case we have to go back after three months for a post operation check-up. We are deep in debt. How are we going to arrange for finances?” said Soma, her eyes welling up.

The Midya’s have approached the BDO of Salboni for financial assistance. “I can refer them for assistance under the chief minister’s relief fund. For that they have to follow some procedures,” says Jayanta Biswas, BDO, Salboni. Meanwhile, the Midya’s like any other villager turned to their local Trinamool representative Nibedita Banerjee for assistance. Banerjee assured me that work is almost complete and she is waiting for a letter of recommendation from the local MLA. That will only be the first step of so many bureaucratic stages yet to come.

While the Midya’s wait for assistance, Rakshit continues to miss out on his childhood. A shy child, he wants to be able to play with his friends and go to school.

 

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