Hey, Miss butter feet! Her Ajji (grandmother) used to call her when she was a toddler. Laxmi was born in a middle-class family in Ahmednagar. Just learned to walk, little Laxmi used to fall a lot or else bump into something and then crying out for attention was eventual. Laxmi used to be with her grandmother most of the time, her father – Sachin, and mother- Asha used to work in a state-owned bank, and office timings would make them give very little time to Laxmi over weekdays. But on weekends and holidays, her Father and mother would dedicate all their time to little Laxmi.
Years passed very quickly, Laxmi grew up to be a sharp little kid, she is in 7th standard now. Good in studies, better in extracurricular activities, bold in public speaking, average in sports. Asha was quite happy with her overall performance, but Ashok always used to point out her lagging in sports activities. She never used to play with kids in the colony. Sports which kids play generally at her age like Tic Tac Toe, Tag, Hope Skip Jump, etc. This fact was little known to her parents and even Ajji. Their impression was that Laxmi mixes well with kids and regularly plays whatever these kids play in the evening. The first thought was right Laxmi mixes well with kids, but second part, her participation in domestic sports was wrong. Why this happened has a back story.
Let us go back a couple of years. Laxmi was in the fifth standard then, a cute little girl with sharp features and blue eyes, and a fair complexion. Talkative chirpy kid. Participating in every local colony sport. Laxmi used to get out first always, be it any sport – Hide& Seek, Tic Tac Toe, Tag, Hop Skip Jump whichever and as per the rules of the game she had to take den. Den was not a problem initially, a good sport at heart. The root of the problem was, that she used to get “out” in a very typical same manner while playing. She used to stumble and fall. Very easy prey for somebody in the den. Over and over each time, a good start by Laxmi and then a good fall and out of the game. Sometimes she used to get badly bruised, which would make her sit out and watch.
Laxmi used to come home with other kids and was bruised most of the time. Once she had a very bad fall. While playing the Tag game, the kid in the den was running after her, Laxmi was very swift and agile, she was giving a tough time to kid, swiftly moving from side to side controlling her speed and footwork, almost for the 5 long minutes. She was untouchable. Whoever would have watched her move and run, must have thought, is this kid into athletics? Very next second Laxmi went down with a thud, her head banged on the floor. She was badly bleeding, she had got a deep gash on the left-right side of her forehead above. She was rushed to the hospital. Good thing she got up and was cooperating with elders, who took her to the hospital. She was crying as a small kid and was also afraid to see all the blood on her dress.
Laxmi being also brave recovered from the trauma and was very cooperative with the doctors. Not frightened of injections and needles. She had to be admitted to the hospital for two days. The wound on her forehead had to be carefully cleaned and disinfected. Laxmi got 6 stitches. This incident scared her parents and Ajji and all neighbourhood.
So coming back to the present day of the story. No one still has a clue about her recurring stumbles. This stumbling and falling were considered her character flaw. She was called butter feet. Ajji used to say, Laxmi is always lost in thoughts and doesn’t know where she is walking. Mother used to say Laxmi looks at the sky while walking and running, that’s why she is always tripping around.
Somehow her father was not so comfortable with her habit of tripping. He used to think how she can always be tripping and falling, every alternate day. She would have a black and blue mark or a bruise. But father being busy with routine work would pass this thought in mind and move forward.
One day, the family was having dinner. Everyone was sitting at the dining table, Asha had cooked tasty baingan ki sabzi. Everyone was happily chit-chatting. Laxmi being witty, told a joke, Sachin and Asha, and Ajji went into a laughing spree.
The meal was almost over, and Laxmi’s father realized, that a jug is empty. He told Laxmi to fill it up and get it. Laxmi quickly jumped down from the chair, got the jug, and went to the water dispenser. She filled the jug with water. Sachin was facing her while talking with Asha, he was also watching Laxmi. Laxmi started walking toward the dining table with a water jug held in her hand.
Suddenly, she went down, water jug tumbled in front of her making a loud noise. Everyone was startled. Sachin quickly got up and helped Laxmi stand up, he asked her if she is hurt, and he checked her knee, and hands for bruises. Thank god Laxmi was unhurt. Finally, after cleaning up the floor and tidying up the kitchen. Everyone said good night to each other, Sachin and Asha hugged and kissed Laxmi and sent her off to Ajjis’s room
Sachin and Asha also went to their bedroom, thinking of the long day they had tomorrow. Off they fell to deep sleep as their back hit the bed. At around midnight Sachin had suddenly a wide grin on his face. He was dreaming of his dear child Laxmi, he was dreaming that Laxmi had grown up. He saw Laxmi wearing a beautiful designer saree, it is a function and they are all in a hall. Asha is also wearing a nice colorful saree. Ajji is also happy, chit-chatting with other old ladies. Next, he sees Laxmi, dressed as a bride. This happiness, the occasion, my all dear ones around, this all is so surreal. Laxmi looking gorgeous starts walking toward the groom on the big stage. Beautifully woven garland in her hand, very gracefully Laxmi starts walking toward the groom. Just a few paces away, Laxmi suddenly trips and falls. With this incident in the dream. Sachin opens his eyes wide open and sits up in his bed as if he has realized something. That whole night he doesn’t catch his eye.
The next morning, as soon as he gets up he goes to Laxmi and hugs her lovingly and with a profound concern looks at her. Sachin calls for an early morning meeting with his family. Sachin sends Laxmi to one of her friends. Sachin looks at Ajji and Asha. Yesterday night when Laxmi fell, I observed the way the child fell. She did not bump into anything and anybody, the floor was dry and clean, so she did not slip either. I observed yesterday that Laxmi limped slightly in her right knee and then fell. So we should take her to a doctor. After hearing this, Ajji and Laxmi’s mother sighs a relief, and Asha starts to get up from the table. Looking at her action Sachin loses his cool and tells her to sit down very sternly. He takes a deep breath, and he says to Asha that she is not grasping, he observed a limp and it has to be observed and consulted by a doctor. Laxmi’s mother chips in between. You are unnecessarily worried so much. Laxmi is a child and is always in a hurry, she is looking somewhere and running somewhere. You need not worry so much. As she will grow up she will be more alert and focused.
Irritated by Asha’s approach. Sachin gets up and walks away. Ajji while discussing with Asha says – Beta what is the harm if we take Laxmi to a doctor for the consultation? If Sachin is saying so, just do it once. Asha replies Ma both of you are making a fuss out of a small thing, tripping a child who is just 10 yrs old. All children play and fall, this is their age, and they learn out of it.Laxmi’s father cannot shake off the thought he has in his mind. He is worried as he has observed a slight limp in Laxmi’s leg while falling.
He makes up his mind to take Laxmi to a doctor. He takes leave from his office. He directly goes to Laxmi’s school right at the end of school hours. He tells Asha that he is going to collect Laxmi and they are going to a Pizza joint. He waits for her at the school gate. As soon as the bell rings, students big and small start running out of the main gate. Numerous School vans & Parents, start receiving their respective kids with love and affection. Delighted to see her father, Laxmi calls out “ Appa, Appa ”, Sachin picks her up and pecks her on the cheek. Lifts her and starts walking toward their car. As soon as they reach the car. He opens the door and lets Laxmi sit in the front and fixes the safety belt. He goes around, sits in the car,while driving he starts telling her, that they are now going to visit a friend of his, but before that, they will have large pizza and Ice cream.
So, after having a hearty meal, they start their journey toward the hospital. After a few minutes, they enter a compound of Healing Hands Hospital, a pretty big building. The compound is crowded, lots of cars and two-wheelers are entering and exiting, People enquiring about various things. Laxmi’s father approaches the reception and asks for Dr. Vidyut Gokhale.
The receptionist directs them to Dr.Vidyut Gokhale’s department. Dr.Vidyut Gokhale is a Neurologist. He has been practicing for the last 15 years. Dr.Vidyut has earned a name for his best practices and path-breaking surgeries. They are told to wait in the reception. The reception has a beautiful aquarium with colorful fishes of various varieties.
After a few minutes, they are called into Dr. Vidyut’s cabin. Dr. Vidyut is tall and aged around 50 years. He has a pleasant personality. He welcomes Laxmi and her father.
He says to Laxmi:
Dr. Vidyut: Hello what’s your name beta?
Laxmi: My name is Laxmi
Dr. Vidyut: What a sweet name, beta (Continuing his conversation) turning and looking toward Sachin. He says to Sachin.
Dr. Vidyut: What is the problem, sir? What is troubling her?
Sachin: Laxmi trips and falls a lot. I think I saw her limp for a second before she fell yesterday. I came for your diagnosis and advice.
Dr. Vidyut tells them to conduct, Electromyography it is a test for spinal diagnostics and Nerve stimulation with that report, things will be clearer and if there is any problem report can be analysed further for the cure. The hospital’s neurological department had technology and machines to conduct these tests. So Laxmi and Sachin were directed to the third floor where the test would be conducted. Test being commenced, Laxmi being a small child became nervous seeing so many small wires being stuck to her spine, hands, and legs. Her father tries to soothe her. Sachin holds her hand and stands beside her. Talking continuously with her and pacifying her. It takes about thirty minutes to complete the process. Dr. Vidyut requests Sachin to book an appointment for 30th. . Two days later.
Once they reach home, Laxmi is greeted by Ajji and her Mom who are waiting eagerly at home. Sachin had told Laxmi not to tell anyone about the hospital visit at all for a few days. After two days he gets a call from Hospital that the test results are with Doctor Vidyut and he would like to see him. Sachin reaches the hospital perfectly on time. Very soon he is called in by Doctor. The Doctor pulls out the sheet and starts reading the report mumbling to himself. Please please doctor tell me everything is alright? Doctor Vidyut gazes at Sachin and smiles a bit releasing some tension. He says there is a problem but that problem can be operated on. He continues telling Sachin. The nerve which is connected from Skeleton going thru thighs, knees and sheen towards toes and to fingers is getting pinched behind the Knee. As the nerve gets pinched, for a second Laxmi’s leg loses its senses or order given to the leg by the brain. Example: – Run, kick, sit, etc. it happens only for a second or two, that is why she limps and falls. It is like you are at full speed on your bike and suddenly your bike loses current and suddenly halts. The poor little soul has been living it for so long without being diagnosed. Back to the nerve, it is getting pinched due to the muscle lump which has grown over and around the nerves. When Laxmi is in action, that particular muscle mass expands due to activity and pinches her nerve losing sense and string of commands given by brain. It has to be operated as soon as possible. If not operated it can become serious eventually and then she won’t be able to play any sports. Tears flow from Sachin’s eyes, he holds the Doctor’s hand and thanks him million times. He immediately tells the Doctor to freeze the date for the operation. Once he goes home. He shows the report to Asha and Ajji. He explains everything that Doctor Vidyut has told him, and he also tells them that this operation is on coming Friday. Laxmi’s Mom is stunned and a sudden feeling of guilt grows over her and she starts crying, even Ajii starts crying listening to the details. Sachin goes close to Laxmi’s mom and embraces her, he says to her that it is not her fault. It has nothing do to with any of you. Also, it has been detected well in time.
A week flies by in a jiffy, the day comes when Laxmi’s Operation is scheduled. The whole family goes to the hospital. The doctor and his staff are preparing for the operation already. Laxmi and her parents are told to sit in the waiting room. After a few minutes head nurse calls them to the Doctors cabin. Dr.Vidyut greets them and then tells them not to worry at all. Sachin tells Laxmi that the Doctor is going to do a test as he did a few days before so don’t worry I will be with you. Nurses take Laxmi along with her parents to Operation theatre. Laxmi is given anesthesia. As Laxmi dozes off due to anesthesia’s effect. The doctor tells Sachin and Asha to leave the operation theatre. Tense, everyone is sitting in the waiting room awaiting eagerly for the doctor to return. The clock keeps on ticking, it is almost two hours now since Laxmi is taken in the operation theatre, and then suddenly doors of the operation theatre open up, and Doctor Vidyut while removing his mask walks out of OT. He grins a bit and as he closes on to Laxmi’s family, he says Operation went well, it is successful. Sachin, Asha and Ajji as well cheer with Joy. He says you can see her after half an hour. She will be under observation for two days and then you can take her home.
Laxmi barely coming to her senses, smiles very cutely looking at Ajji, and her parents. All of them hug her very gently. Soon, Laxmi is discharged home, and she is told to be taken for post-operation consultation and dressing after fifteen days.
It is fun to be at home for Laxmi Asha and Ajji cooking delicacies for her, and father getting board gher ames and gifts. Being a child it is difficult to keep her under control, she has to walk slowly, not jump, and not scratch on or around the dressing.
During post operation visit for dressing and consultation doctor is surprised and happy to see the recovery. During dressing, he sees the wound completely healed and stitches dissolved, and absolutely no mark of cut on the leg. As if the operation hasn’t happened. The doctor says to Laxmi, off you go and don’t come to see me again, smiling.
A new happy day for Laxmi. Laxmi runs to her class very very fast, without falling, without tripping, with no limp.
Laxmi’s father enrolls her in badminton coaching. After, a few months coach calls Laxmi’s parents to meet. Curious they reach the badminton court. They ask for coach Vishal. Coach Vishal joins them soon. He asks Sachin and Asha to come with him and points them toward the court where Laxmi is playing. They see Laxmi hitting shuttle swiftly, moving rapidly towards the net, aggressively hitting shuttle to the opponent, and sometimes just tapping it over the net, winning point over point. Coach Vishal says, Laxmi is a gem, she is excellent, it is just 2 months since she joined and she is playing like a pro, I have been Coaching badminton for over 30 years, and I have mentored several National and International players. But I have never seen a 10-year-old play like this. Today onwards Laxmi is not only your daughter but mine too. I am enrolling her today for the junior’s international championship, which will be held in Malaysia after 6 months.
Tears of joy roll over the cheeks of Sachin and Asha and Laxmi hit a hard smash to win the game.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!