“My father left my mother when I was still in her womb, so my mother has played the role of both parents in my life. He didn’t even want me, but she said that even if she had to raise me on my own she would. She worked long hours as domestic help and that aunty there even let us stay with her. The first time I fell critically ill was when I was 6 years old — I cried so much that I turned completely blue and at that age I had my first major heart surgery.
As time passed, I kept falling more ill and most of the times the tests we did we did were inconclusive. I still remember those nights, mom would hug me tight and say everything will be okay but in the middle of the night I would feel her tears all over my tshirt. Nothing was worse than that pain — I just wanted to get better so that she would stop worrying.
It was around this time when one day while trying to urinate, I felt a pain so bad that my whole body became stiff and I started screaming for my mother and aunty to come help me. It was then that we realised that the problem was with my kidney.
Ever since then, I’ve been getting dialysis every single day — needles and syringes have become my friends. It’s so painful still, but I don’t like showing that because then my mother starts crying and I just want her to be happy. I had to drop out of school in the 8th standard because of my condition, but I wish I could go and learn more — my friend Swara calls me a power ranger, but I tell her that all my powers come from my mother.
I now spend most of my time colouring and painting but I would much rather be in class. Often when other children make fun of me for being too thin or because I only studied until the 8th grade I wish I could tell that they’re so blessed for being healthy and having an education — they should never take it for granted.
I’m 16, on the last stage of kidney failure and may not have very long to live but let me tell you, I’m still happy, because each day I survive I fall more in love with this world. With simple things like the panipuri I can eat once in a blue moon, or when my paintings get sold or when I can ride my cycle faster than the wind and not have a care in the world. But I’m always smiling because my mother told me that I have the most beautiful smile in the world and each day I survive, I can smile with her and keep her close. That’s my message — tell the one’s you love just how much you love them every single day and keep them close.”