Winning is a matter of attitude

Sitting quietly on the hospital bed, he stared into space. The snow-white clouds rolling merrily along the deep blue sky didn’t interest him. The halo of melancholy around him thickened every moment. He turned his gaze to his lap. A tear rolled down his cheek and fell on the open book resting on his lap, smudging his name – Kishan Kumar – written in blue ink.

Kishan was 6 years old when an ulcer developed on his left leg. The local doctor in his village in Sitamarhi district, in Bihar, dressed the ulcer, but it didn’t heal and led to deep infection eating away his toes. Before long, an ulcer appeared on his right leg. The doctor couldn’t do much, except dressing the ulcer.

Kishan’s father, Mithlesh, was worried about his son’s health. He took his son to the nearby government hospital where he was diagnosed with leprosy.  Kishan was 7 years old then. The 12-month course of multi-drug therapy (MDT) cured Kishan’s leprosy, but the disability left a dark scar on his young mind.

Two years ago, Kishan’s younger brother was also diagnosed with leprosy. However, since he was diagnosed in time and treated with MDT, he was cured and doesn’t have any complications of leprosy.

One of the worst floods in Bihar, a few years back, wiped out Mithlesh’s paddy crop, and he migrated to Delhi in search of a job, leaving his family behind. His efforts to find a job proved futile, and he turned to selling handkerchiefs on the footpaths of Delhi.

Kishan couldn’t study beyond 6th standard because of his disability. He wanted to study in a good school, as according to him “they don’t teach us much of anything in the school in my village.” Kishan loves his father very much and so came to live with him in Delhi five months ago, hoping to study in a good school.  He lives comfortably with his father in their rented house in Usmanpur, in East Delhi. He loves his father’s cooking. His eyes twinkled when he said, “My father makes mutton curry better than anyone else, even my mother. His Bihari mutton curry is famous among our neighbours. For this mutton curry, instead of using readymade masala, he selects all the whole spices and then grinds them on stone. He uses only mustard oil, and this gives real flavour and taste. I love to eat rice with his mutton curry.”

Around one month ago, an ulcer again developed on Kishan’s right leg and he was admitted to The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s Shahdara Hospital in Delhi. After having undergone four surgeries, he is recuperating. He hopes to leave the hospital soon and get admission in a good school to continue his education.  Kishan, 12 years old now, is not the one to waste time crying over his misfortunes. He is preparing for his future.  Back in his village, his tuition teacher, Mr Bimlesh, used to encourage him to learn to speak English fluently. “Bimlesh sir speaks English well. I want to be like him. So, I requested my father to buy me a book on English speaking. Here, in the hospital, every day I practise speaking in English. My ambition is to become a doctor, and good English will help me in medical studies”, he said, the melancholy in his eyes giving way to a rapturous glee.