My wife Sainur and I work in a bidi factory in Murshidabad, West Bengal. The two of us work day in and out to ensure that our children don’t end up in the bidi factory. I want them to live the life we could never have.
Sanjia is the pillar of our homeWhen Sainur and I are out, working, Sanjia, who is 12 now, ensures that she takes care of her younger siblings. For my 9-year-old son, Zeeshan and 6-year-old Sanjida, Sanjia is more like a parent. But these responsibilities have never been a hindrance to Sanjia’s studies.
When she was born - I remember feeling so overwhelmed, I thought I would burst. My first child. But soon after, doctors told us that she had severe multiple heart defects. She had dextrocardia, where the heart is located on the right side of the body instead of left. She also had a hole in the wall of her heart.
Although we were worried when we heard about the heart defects, doctors told us that she might get better with age. But as our little girl started growing up - she showed no signs of getting better.
Unlike other children of her age, she couldn’t run or play. Also, her growth was restricted which bothered us the most. Since her birth up until now, even eating a little extra food tires her. Sanjia studies in class 6, and she has trouble in lifting her school bag.
The pains are worth taking to save my childSainur and I really wanted to believe that she would be fine as she grew up. We have been taking her to doctors in different cities of West Bengal for years. But her condition is only growing worse with time. Tasks as simple as sitting left her breathless.
We are too poor to afford better medical facilities. As a result, we have to rely on government support and charitable health camps. To get the medical facility provided by West Bengal government, I had to stand in a long queue every day for the last 18 months with my sick child. Sometimes I wonder if this is why her condition has deteriorated so much.
Whenever we would finally meet the doctor - invariably, we were given two choices. We could either get her a surgery and help her live or we could leave her suffering and count days till her death. It is not a choice at all.
Things started worsening when from this January, when Sanjia started menstruation. She has been bedridden since then. She bleeds continuously for days and can barely move. With a reprieve of about 10 days, she bleeds again.
She has not gone to school for 3 months now. Doctors are saying that this is because her heart can’t pump sufficient amount of blood to even stop bleeding. I don't even understand how that can possibly happen. All I know is my dear, beautiful child is slowly slipping away.
Money is the biggest obstacle in giving my daughter a lifeI earn very less and spend almost everything we can on her medicines. My relatives have helped me a little, but their help has become a burden now. When they help me, they expect me to go for the cheapest of the treatment. But as a father, my main aim is to prevent my daughter from dying. If I don’t listen to them they doubt me and try to avoid helping me in any form.
Sainur is just heartbroken. We can't see our daughter live like this. Sainur is sad that she can’t do anything to save her child. All the comments that never bothered us before are making our life a living hell. She cries a lot - but not enough because she takes care of all of us. I tell her we should concentrate on saving our child now, but nothing helps.
I have started believing that I am failing as a husband and a father. My one hand almost doesn't function due to an accident during my childhood. As a result, even in the bidi factory, I am paid much lesser. I am ashamed to be incapable of earning enough for my family.
I don’t know how many lakhs I have already spent. But I will never rest in peace unless I save my daughter. I have already taken a lot of debt from my supervisor at work. My relatives have refused to help us any further. Also, staying in Bangalore is costing much more than I can afford.
How can you help?My daughter’s heart is becoming weak every day and she will not live without an urgent heart surgery. This waiting period is becoming the suffering period for her. The cost required to save my daughter is Rs 3 lakhs which is huge for me.
Your support can save Sanjia.