“My 70-year-old-grandmother is forced to watch her son decline”I am Arijit Pati and Prabir Thakur is my Maama (maternal uncle). Sad is not enough to describe what everyone in my mother's family has been going through. Day and night, they worry about Maama. When people visit my 70-year-old grandmother, she starts crying. "God can take this old lady and let my son live", she says.
Me (far left) with Maama and my sister
It has been one month since my aunt slept the whole night in peace. She stays by his bedside at night so he doesn't feel alone when he is awake. Unlike my grandmother, she cannot cry – because she has a 11-year-old daughter Tejla to be brave for.
My cousin, Tejila, is just 11, but after what happened she is no more a child. I try to talk to her about other things – thinking to distract her but it doesn't work. She comes back to what's bothering her. “Is it true that my father will never speak again?” or “How much longer will he stay in bed?”
My uncle and Tejla before the DBS machine stopped working
I tell her, “Of course, he will be fine. He just needs a small surgery.” But I can see that she is aware of what I am trying to do. Comforting words are not enough – she needs the truth to be strong.
But the most terrible is the pain my Maama endures. He has been bedridden for a month – ever since he damaged the battery in a fall. I know he is breaking inside when he sees his aged mother cry or when he has to wake up my aunt at night to ask to be moved. Though it is not Maama's fault – he feels terrible about what he is putting the family through.
“After the first surgery, he became near-normal”My Maama has two Master's degrees in History and English. He loved to read and he always remained curious. It is why he took tuitions – to help others learn and question too. After the onset of Parkinson's in 2003, he started declining. He couldn't write, teach, lift bags or even move fast.
My uncle, aunt and their daughter
We took him to Bangalore in 2013, where he got a 'deep-brain stimulation machine' put in his brain. Our families used up all our savings and spent over 8 lakhs. But we were very happy to see that he became better and was able to lead a near-normal life. This gave us hope.
Last June, he fell down and seems to have damaged the battery of this machine. Since then he has lost basic motor functions. His speech has become slurred and most of the time, we make guesses at what he might be saying. He sometimes have trouble eating and breathing.
My grandmother is heartbroken. “All his students loved and respected him. Now, I don't understand what he is saying. Things will never be the same. In my lifetime, I will never again see him write in his beautiful handwriting,” she says.
My grandmother is heartbroken at my uncle's condition
As she says, he will never be able to write again, but with one surgery, Maama will once again be able to do the most basic functions and perhaps even speak. In this situation, this is our one and only hope.
Everyone's constant fear is – can we save him?Maama used to teach 35-40 students. He never demanded fees, but took what the students could afford to pay. He stopped working in 2007. My aunt is an Anganwadi worker and is the only earning member of his family. She earns Rs 4,500 per month.
All the kids of the family (me on far left) with my uncle. We are desperate to have his wisdom and happy presence back in our lives.
My grandmother wants to sell her small house and whatever small possessions she has to save Maama. We have already taken loans for his treatment. Without the house, they will have nothing for their living, for Tejla's education or even to care for my uncle.
How you can help
The battery replacement will cost Rs 7 lakhs and all of us combined in the family are unable to raise that much. I have just finished my BTech and am looking for a job. I have placed my hope in the goodness of your heart and put my personal story here. Your contributions will give life back to a wonderful person and we will be forever indebted to you.
Supporting DocumentsThe specifics of this case have been verified by the medical team at the concerned hospital. For any clarification on the treatment or associated costs, contact the campaign organizer or the medical team.
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