Someone has rightly said “living with the memories of a lost child is the hardest thing to live with”.
It was this November when we took Yatharth out for his first and last trip to Mysore. I remember his smiling face. It was a big moment for him and he was always satisfied with even the smallest things. I believe he was an acclaimed soul; his purpose of coming to this world was different. We didn’t have the slightest clue how the things were going to change the very next month.
It all started with a mild fever that persisted for couple of days. We took him to the nearest hospital (Medihope). The paediatrician gave some medicines and asked us to do a follow up after two days. For the next two days Yatharth was at home, his temperature was stable around 100-101. But he was hardly taking his medicines; so we thought of taking him back to hospital for a follow up. The doctor suggested us to admit him for one day so that they could get all the tests conducted and at the same time they decided to pass the medicines through IV.
We wanted him to be fine again, at the earliest. So we agreed without giving this a second thought. He was active and playful in the ward, watching Animal Planet. Tests were normal except a slight infection in the blood which the doctors said will go away in the next 24 hours. I remember Yatharth kept on asking us, “Daddy, when will I go home?” “Maa, let’s go to Big Bazar.” Maybe he sensed things and wanted to get out from there. The next day when he was supposed to be released, he got a bout of very high fever. His temperature was around 106. Doctors were clueless. They gave him some injections in front of us. He was next to my wife on the bed. He uttered, “Maa” before collapsing into his mother’s lap. We were in deep shock. Doctors rushed him to the ICU. He got a seizure and cardiac arrest.
I was shocked and was equally ashamed of standing there like a helpless statue. I never felt so helpless in life and was just a mute spectator when the doctors were trying to revive him. Looking at the body language of the doctors I realized that something terribly wrong has happened to my Yatharth and he would not be the same playful child.
I was cursing myself as a father because it all happened in front of me.
The news spread. Soon I was surrounded by my support system. My friends used their contacts and information.
They were making all efforts to explore options beyond Medihope hospitals. They suggested that we move Yatharth to Manipal Hospital. On Sunday, the 14th of December, we moved him to Manipal Hospital’s PICU.
It was for the first time that Yatharth was not with his mother. He was looking so lonely and helpless on his bed. I was sitting next to him on a chair, looking at him with a hope that he will react.
I used to go close to him and whisper “Open your eyes, child. Daddy will take you to DRDO Park and Big Bazar”. But he was silent and nonreactive as if he had decided not to speak to me.
Next couple of days his condition remained the same. Each day I used to introspect with questions like where I went wrong! Why did this happen to me? How will I live without him?
I was clueless. Each stretch of introspection used to end with uncontrollable tears in front of Dr. ShivKumar.
I asked him if I was wrong in rejecting the temptation of an onsite job or a 2 BHK flat and living with a hope of giving the best to Yatharth.
I and my wife used to discuss, “We don’t want anything. Just that the child received good education and grows up to be a good human being.”
I asked Dr. Shivkumar, “Tell me Sir, was it too big a wish to be shattered like this?”
“I, understand your feeling because I also have a daughter of same age,” he said. He stood there helpless as irreversible damage had happened to Yatharth’s brain due to the cardiac arrest.
But he encouraged me to not lose hope. I must credit him for inspiring my thought process at a time when you are bound succumb to negativity.
I started accepting the fact that he might not return with us. So, what next?
Do, I allow him to die like this?
If he dies like this then who will remember him later? People will just say that Amit’s son passed away with a fever.
Being a father I knew what he was capable of. I was feeling severely cheated in life. I was feeling that he was not given a fair chance to explore his capability. Like any other child he also wanted to live and enjoy the colours of life.
But unfortunately he was deprived of that basic right, why?
I asked the same to my father. He said sadly, “Perhaps he was very dear to God. We were trying to bind him here with our selfish aspirations. “.
I thought that maybe my father is right. Not everyone in this world is born for materialistic comparisons, not everyone is born here to be superstars.
Some are born for a bigger purpose and I consoled myself with this thought.
The thought was infectious though and soon it overpowered my entire system.
I can say it was the power of selfless soul of Yatharth that provided me the strength to think positive when we were drowned into extreme sorrow.
On the eve of 18th Dec. doctors pronounced Yatharth as brain dead. It was the worst thing to happen to anyone; the last thing a father should hear about his son. The last four days in the PICU were preparing us mentally for this because each passing day things were getting worse for him.
I told my wife and father that if we want him to be remembered for a cause then we should control our emotions and give him a grand farewell. He deserved a much better life than this but unfortunately that didn’t work, so at least let’s give him a chance to live through others.
I was not that strong a character but it was the power of his soul that helped me to take such decision.
We conveyed our thoughts to the panel and they took this up with ZCCK. It was destiny that he was born in South India where we have such awareness on organ donation. The logistics involved in green corridor creation and then transplantation into new bodies ensured that his life didn’t go to vain.
Because of him doctors were able to perform the first pediatric heart transplant in India.
Although he left us crying but he gave happiness to six other families.
He defied all social and geographical myths and barriers. Our social setup gave him an identity of a Hindu Brahmin, but death gave him the identity in all religions.
His heart beats in a Christian body, far north in Moscow and also in other recipients of different caste and creed in Karnataka.
At a tender age Yatharth showed to the world that even in death we can still give hope to others.
His life is a story of selflessness and supreme sacrifice for humanity. He didn’t take anything from this world, never criticized anyone. Never blamed anyone.
All what he had, just passed on to others.
Today he inspires others to be selfless and bold. Just a thought of his act gives us the motivation and inspiration to think for the others.
For us it was more important to get back strongly in life because we were carrying his name.
Yes, it was very unlike the normal trend because usually a kid carries the name of his or her parents. For us starting back was terrible because we were starting a life without someone who was the center of our universe. All our planning was around him and now without him, it was tough.
But as I said, we didn’t want anyone to say that “Look, how Yatharth’s parents are suffering!” We were not the losers because we knew what he did at that age. So, we wanted his story to be taken forward as an inspiration for the society. This helped us to keep our head high.
We got enormous moral support from some of the best human beings. Their support helped us to get Yatharth back in life. We have named him Siddharth, because he has proved his name.
Getting Siddharth on the same day and time as that of Yatharth, was nothing short than a miracle for us.
And the credit for this goes to an act called “Organ Donation”.