I had tears, many a times but I tried to be composed. I did not want to send a signal which will make the child even weak. However, I knew that everyone was convinced that her physical condition was bad. I met her at ‘Cipla Palliative Unit’ in Pune. Till then, I had a vague knowledge about a palliative care unit through Bronnie Wares book ‘The top five regrets of the dying.’ That day I came to know, how exactly a palliative unit works.
Here I am telling you about Samrudhi and her wish. Unfortunately, she has a serious health problem. Her mother and brother told me that Samrudhi always wanted to be a cop. She would run, cycle and do lot of physical exercises so that one day she fulfils her dream of becoming a cop. But destiny had something else in store for her and tragically she fell prey to a disease. Her parents tried all possible means but she could not recover.
What took me to this place has a background. One day a colleague of mine who has dedicated himself for helping the patients and their families, approached me. He narrated, what he was doing and during the conversation he mentioned about a child of 17 years and her ambition of meeting a police officer in uniform. You may take it as her last wish as she has little time left. I was shocked that she wanted to meet a cop in uniform and she has very little time left and here is this person requesting me to meet her. How can I refuse? This can’t happen by any stretch of imagination.
My present job does not require me in uniform but I made it a point to meet her at the earliest. On the day of meeting her, I started early from Mumbai. I made it sure that I am in uniform. Throughout the journey, I was thinking about Samrudhi and her family. In my professional life, I have seen many postmortems, dead bodies and accident cases but this was unique. In this case, I was meeting a child who has not yet seen the world. At the top of it, she little time at her disposal.
As I reached the unit, I was received by the staff. They explained me what they have been doing since many years. In the background of this discussion, I was anxious about Samrudhi for whom I had come all the way. Finally, all of us went to her room and as I appeared before her, she looked at me. I wished her and tried to communicate. She nodded at times. It appeared as if she wanted to say something but could not speak. She kept on staring at me. Maybe she was fascinated by my uniform. Her mother and brother told her, ‘see who has come to meet you. You always wanted to be a cop and you will be one day.’ Her brother and mom had tears and I was also about to burst into tears but could control with lot of effort. At this moment, I took off my cap and placed it on her head. I also handed over my service baton to her. I could realize that she was little happy and tried to say something but she could only move her right hand slightly. She firmly grabbed the baton in her left hand. I kept on interacting with her though it was one way communication throughout. I stayed there for about half an hour. But, those 30 minutes taught me many lessons. Later, on the advice of the doctors, I had to leave. At that time, I realized she did not want to part away with the baton. I decided to leave it with her along with my cap realizing this will keep her happy.
As I mentioned, those 30 minutes taught me many lessons. One of them was, I can’t be busy enough to fulfil a small dream of a person. Many a times, merely our presence changes someone’s day or life. There are certain things which are beyond our control and even doctors no have answer to many questions, so I will live each day as if it was my last day. I should live life in my own way and not the one which other expect. I should give importance to my health and relations which will sustain and sail me through any difficult situation. I should not take things for granted.
Meeting Samrudhi and her family members further strengthened my belief that empathy has a major role to play in life.
Quitters Don’t Win and Winners Don’t Quit.
Ironman | Deccan Cliffhanger | Comrade Legend Finisher | Motivational Speaker | Writer | Endurance Athlete