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From 'Unbreakable'



















Two days ago my good friend Ravi (Dr Ravindra Mehta, Critical Care Specialist) called me into his ICU to check out whether or not one of his patients had a heart condition. What I found there elevated my respect for human life and its unheralded custodians infinitely.


Here was a 20 year old patient, afflicted by a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI, Brittle bones syndrome, the disease suffered by Samuel Jackson in Unbreakable, only much worse here in our man’s case). Mere application of firm pressure on his limbs would break his bones. If you hugged him hard, his ribs would crack.


Years of fractures & reunions of the bones combined with various other medical complications had rendered this young patient a four-foot dwarf, with his rib cage and lungs deformed. His limbs were in plaster-casts due to recent fractures which were yet to heal. He was admitted with a presumed lung infection and after examining this guy I concluded that there was no heart related problem.


Then I saw this amazing thing:


There was another twenty-something young man with the patient. Before even I embarked upon examining my patient, this youth asked me what I was going to do. Just as I was trying to reassure him that I knew the nature of the bone problem here, he proceeded to caution me, a little apologetically, that even a little more than gentle pressure on the patient will break more bones and could you please be gentle. Educated guy, spoke to me in decent English. He was doing this to every nurse, doctor or ward boy who came to attend to the patient. He appeared to know what movements, and how much pressure on the patient was safe. He would not allow anything that appeared out of the ordinary to be inflicted on his ward.


So my questions were natural: Who was this young man accompanying the patient? Was he there all the time, providing such tender care round-the-clock? To me clearly, in a country like India with the healthcare services being as they are, this fragile patient with such an incapacitating disease, had survived merely because of this kind of extraordinary care.


The answers amazed me even more.


This young man caring for the patient was not alone: there were 5-6 others. Two were distant cousins, others were well wishers but none were real siblings. All of them educated and productively employed. This army was around for the patient, whenever he needed them, caring for his life, nurturing his delicate body. I didn’t ask how the patient got around in his own home, but whenever he needed to go out to pray, to shop, to watch a movie, to a hospital, this group of angels went with him, making sure that he was protected from the jostling. There was no money in this, no selfishness. And this was not a one time voluntary work, we have all seen: visit cheshire homes once a year, donate money to the orphanage once a year, go clean Cubbon park once a year….this service was there night and day, each day that it was necessary and days on end and round the clock, on occasions like the present hospitalization.



Beats most charities I know.


Quickly images flashed in my mind: mindless killings in the name of borders, religion, and caste on one side. So many NGOs making quick bucks in the name of charity on another side. Young couples wanting to terminate unborn children because they are not perfect, on yet another side.


But above all were these unsung heroes celebrating life







  1. This story has moved me. In this day and age, siblings fight with each other for property… sons file cases against their aged parents … again for property… it is common to find old people tending for themselves- cast aside by their own children.Humanity and sensitivity are so hard to find these days. Stories like this should reach the masses (and most importantly the youngsters).
    I am happy that somewhere some people are still human.
    Keep up the spirit !!

  2. A wonderful thought by a mind receptive to humanity, in this era of infinite selfishness. As a care giver for him,a few more life-realities hit me. This boy, or man (he is 20 now) has not moved from his bed from the age of 4, and his daytime activity is watching TV with the 20 degrees of movement his wrists can do to make the remote work for him (One good use of TV’s and remotes in these times!).

    His zeal for life, and the willingness to live was amazing. In these times of instant satisfaction, and infinite expectation, we find every reason to complain and find fault around us. Here was a soul who was so much at peace with his life, and had the fundamantal desire to live with all the mammoth problems on his head. Maybe being in bed, untarnished by the the so called progress of the modern word, he has more fundamental peace and happiness, than the most successful of people!

    Another wonderful lesson in humility and reality in my life.

  3. So touching.

  4. @Tejaswy
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Incidents like this keep the human being alive within us doctors I guess 🙂

  5. hmmm.very touching dear..

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