Monday, November 29, 2010


Renuka is a 8 year old gentle child. She is an absolute pleasure to watch. She loves skipping ropes and makes sure that nobody is hurt while she is playing. She, (along with 3 other little girls), lives with her didi. All these five girls living in a small room are bonded by humanity even though only two of them are sisters.

Like most of the other children at Koseli, Renuka was also a happy child and never complained of any physical pain. Then, during the monthly medical screenings we realized that she bleeds. It was quite a shock for us as Renuka was too young to be menstruating. After a round of questions and answers we realized that there was blood in her stool. And it had been there for so many days, months, years..she didn’t know.. 

Its amazing how most children at Koseli have no proper sense of timeline. They relate to time through events. Usually there are long mental gaps between two events. No event is significant enough to remember at length. As young children, they keep moving from one place to another depending on their circumstances. Most of them don’t live in a place for more than 2-3 months. In addition to this, there is also the movement between the village and town. The days are filled with trivia, so to remember the details is actually too much of a pressure on their little minds. Thus, the stories they construct and relate are very vague and open ended.

So, Renuka too on her part was also not able to tell much. She able to tell when she spotted blood in her stool for the first time or if she had experienced any kind of pain in the past. Physical pain is a part of their lives and they don’t know what life is without it, so it generally goes unaccounted.

The stool test report confirmed that she had an ulcer in her intestine. The ulcer had become so big that it had started to bleed. The intestine was on the verge of rupture and here we had this girl still skipping her rope, not complaining of any pain and attending school regularly. In situations like these, I am at a total loss of words and feelings. It is beyond normal human capacity to react.

Fortunately, Renuka was diagnosed before it was too late. She underwent medication and has recovered fully. 

I request everyone who is reading this to take a moment and think about the whole situation. I wonder if any of you would react differently, if life ever  brought you face to face with a little child like Renuka.

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