“Is it alive?” I inquired about the wounded bird in my mom’s palm. It was raining hard outside. A little brown sparrow was hit down by a hail. It tried to flutter its wings but the hard hails were cruel. Mom gently laid down the bird on a soft cushion and placed lots of cotton wool around it. She hurriedly got some turmeric and milk paste from the kitchen and applied it on the bird after cleaning its wound. The bird lay there - still, warm and protected, for a couple of hours. It then took a flight out into the open skies. Thereafter I don’t remember mom talking much about this incident.
Years later, I had grown up and had joined a dental school as a fresher. Making it into the healthcare profession was a dream come true as I had strongly imbibed my mother’s passion to care of the life. Despite the fact that the new life was engaging , I just could not wait for the first vacation. I was longing to share my new experiences, hopes and fears with my family.
Hostel life was not as comfortable as home and a simple cough started flaring up in me. I was coughing day and night. Within two weeks I could not attend my classes as my body had become weak and tired. Mom decided to come and take me home before the vacations. I was granted medical leave and we started to drive back home to a town, 400 km from my college.
Since I felt very weak, I laid down on the backseat while mom was seated in the front of the car. Sleep had capsized my senses when suddenly I was woken up by a sharp jerk and fell down from my seat. We were hit by a bus!
The front of the car was completely smashed. My mind was blank and it felt like I was approaching death. I murmured a prayer that mom made us repeat as kids.
A group of farmers who were returning from their day's work in the field with their leader pulled us out of the car. It caught fire within just ten seconds of our rescue. My muscles were all twisted but I tried to reach mom and feel her pulse. She was not conscious and pieces of glass were stuck around her lips.They bled. I was shocked, confused and was sobbing on the road not knowing how to react. A stranger gave me his phone and I could ring my family back home, barely able to talk about the accident.
We were moved to a nearby hospital. I was discharged within one day as none of my bones were fractured. My muscles had become stiff but that did not require hospitalization. Mom was referred to a specialist hospital in the capital as she needed emergency surgeries for her compound fractures in ribs, elbow, thigh and knee.
The hope for her survival was bleak as she had lost a lot of blood from her body and the whole left side required reconstruction.
My younger siblings and I cried, hiding our tears from each other. Blood transfusions and surgeries were performed on mom. Five major surgeries took place one after the another within a gap of two-three days between each of them. It took a toll on her health and she was on bed for one whole year, out of her job and active life.
She underwent excruciatingly painful sessions with her physiotherapy. Despite her deeply enduring and patient nature the shrieks could be heard on the road outside. Her rehabilitation took long but she began to improve and move with the walker and then with the stick. The doctors eventually advised her to leave the stick and try on her own. The walk was not perfect and fast but she could carry out her daily activities. She yearned to return back to her job as a biology teacher. We were anxious and wanted to keep her safe at home. She resisted and struggled back to her job. Slowly, she regained her confidence and life started to come back on the track.
I was reminded of my mom’s kindness to the bird. This time she was the little brown sparrow, hit hard by the destiny’s hails and her whole life was wrecked by the storm but the divine mercy and the kindness of the strangers and family had helped to heal her wounds. She had now indeed taken her flight and the open skies welcomed her.
No wonder, I learnt my most important lesson of care and kindness by her actions. She has been my role model. Through her life I could witness that even small acts of kindness never go a waste and are richly rewarded when we need it the most. I owe my personal and professional success to my mom and her ways in life. The only way I can thank her is by helping people out of the storms in their lives.