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Oyster

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I am Dr.Ankit, one of the famous psychiatrists in the town with a very good reputation. During my career, I dealt with many patients and almost every type of known psychiatric disorder. Now I work in a super speciality hospital which has more than fifty well-established doctors providing services for an affordable price, and I am the head of the psychiatric department. One day an elderly woman with her son came to our hospital. They asked specifically to have an appointment with me. When her turn came, she came into my cabin with his son and said, ‘Good morning sir. I am Vasudha and he is my son Anil.’ She looked so simple to me and somehow I can see the pain in her eyes. Anil is a tall young man. From his looks, I can say that he is around 20 but there is so much innocence in his eyes. I said, ‘Good morning Vasudha.’ I offered my hand for a handshake to Anil saying, ‘Hi Anil.’ But, his eyes were somewhere else. He was watching fishes in the aquarium with an exciting face like a kid wanting to know how it feels to be a fish. Her mother then said, ‘Anil, wish the doctor with a handshake.’ Anil then suddenly took his eyes from the aquarium and glanced at me. He drew his hand forward and shook my hand with a good force.

Vasudha said, ‘Sir, Anil is a grown man but as you can see, he is still behaving like a seven-year-old. We consulted many doctors and hospitals but no one helped me. They say this is some kind of genetic disorder and Anil can never match his maturity to his age. Some even said that his brain stopped growing since he was seven and he should live like a seven-year-old boy for the rest of his life.’

I asked, ‘Let me look at the reports from other doctors.’ She handed me over the reports. I have seen such cases before where people grow biologically but not mentally. In many of the cases, growth is slow but we can find growth. In Anil’s case, I cannot see any such pattern. I fear that his growth stopped at seven. While I am going through the reports she said, ‘I somehow digested the truth that I have to take care of him as long as I live. His father died in an accident a year ago leaving us both all alone. I can treat him till my last breath but this society is somehow seeing my son as a funny picture.’ While she was talking, Anil was playing with his cartoon-inspired watch. I rarely connect emotionally with my patients. Sorrow and pain in her somehow made me feel pity for him.

She continued, ‘We mostly stay inside of our house afraid of people, afraid to face bullying. When we go out occasionally, people act as if they are waiting to spit on my son’s face. Especially a girl, I don’t know her name. She and her batch are always ready to bluster him with all the ways possible. I can complain or raise my voice against them but it doesn’t feel like a solution for me. I need Anil to be normal like any other boy of his age. It’s ironic that I feel being natural itself as an achievement. But that is what I want for him now.’ As I was about to ask her something, a clerk came to my cabin dashing doors open. I looked at him with a shock and he said, ‘Sir, your daughter met with an accident injuring herself very badly and she is now in the emergency ward.’ Butterflies flew to the sky in my stomach. Without caring about anything I rushed along with the clerk. I was running like a kid with tears dropping to my cheeks. With a crying voice, I asked the clerk, ‘How did it happen?’ He said, ‘She was on a bike crossing the road ahead of the signal and struck by a bus.’ Damn this girl. I told her many times not to drive until she turned 16. She never listens to my words. I couldn’t imagine my baby girl with bruises all over her body. I am literally crying like hell. When I reached the emergency ward, she was lying in her bed with blood-soaked clothes. I couldn’t utter a word. I closed my eyes but tears are not willing to stop. I asked the surgeon, ‘how is she now?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry Ankit, she will be okay. She lost a lot of blood. We need to find blood for her. What is her blood group?’ That made my hands shiver more. I said, ‘AB- She.. she has a genetic condition where she cannot receive blood from any other blood groups’ We all know that we are lacking that blood in our blood bank. A surgeon with an emergency voice said to the team, ‘contact every blood bank and hospital asking for the AB-blood, and ask everyone in the hospital who is willing to donate.

It’s been ten minutes since everyone went searching for blood and myself contacted many people for the blood. No one has that blood group as less than 1% of the world’s population is AB-. Blood banks near our place have no AB- blood. We called some banks which are far from here and they said they’ll send as soon as possible. But we have to hold my girl till they arrive. I myself donated my blood more than 20 times in my life. I have O- blood who calls me a universal donor yet I am standing hopeless. Now my daughter is lying on her bed waiting for someone to fill her life again. As I was looking through the door of the ICU where my daughter lies, I felt a hand on my shoulder. As I turned back, it was Vasudha. She said, ‘My son’s blood group is AB-. He is ready to donate blood. But, it is your daughter who was bullying him all the way along. He is a bit angry at her. He will donate for sure but need a few words from you.’ In that pain and sorrow, guilt was also added to my heart. I know my girl is rude and misbehaves with others, but I don’t know if she is the one playing with Anil. I couldn’t gather my wit to face Anil now. But her mother insisted me to talk to him and I know that he is my only hope to save my daughter. I went to him and said, ‘Anil, I know you are mad at my daughter but this a life and death matter. I cannot live without her.’ He suddenly stood up shocked and asked, ‘can I save her from death if I give her my blood?’ I said, ‘yes Anil. You can save her.’ He said he will give his blood. I was so happy. He went to her mother, kissed and hugged her saying bye. He came along with me to the donation room and the process began. I felt a lot of guilt. My daughter caused a lot of pain and struggle to his mother and him. Still, his mother wanted to save my daughter’s life. I cannot thank them enough so I decided to treat Anil with all my experience and I took a word to myself that I will try my best to make him normal again. As the process finished, Anil came to me with a sorrow-filled face and asked, ‘So, when will I die?’

That made me tremble. I asked him with a question stricken face, ‘why would you die Anil?’ He said, ‘ if I give my blood to your daughter I am giving my life to her. So I will die.’ That line made me cry. He thought he would die if he gives his blood to my daughter. Still, he decided to sacrifice his life for a girl who always bullied him. His pure heart made me fall on my knees and touch his feet. How can anyone do such a sacrifice? Vasudha came to us and asked his son why I was touching his feet. She then assured him that he won’t die and explained to him how blood transfusion happens. He was so happy and kissed his mother. Fortunately, my daughter was saved because of Anil. I can never forget that day in my entire life where I learned how pure one can inside be.


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