A week before Eid-ul-Azha last year, Inaaya went to the birthday party of her friend’s sister. Oh yes. Talk about social life of a three-year-old! She went with her mother of course, and her little sister just had to tag along because she’s so little.
While my sister-in-law attended to Tahani, she left Inaaya in a playing room filled with lots of toys and instructed her to stay there. Inaaya, like any fun-loving, excited kid couldn’t hold on and went outside to the amusement-park-like setup created for the birthday party. The setup along with a lot of other rides, also consisted of a life-sized kids’ car, that would come sliding down with enormous speed along with several other miniature slides and playground rides fit for children around Inaaya’s age.
As Inaaya stood at the edge of the slide, awaiting her turn, she was unfortunately target to the fast-approaching car and became victim to the pain and anguish caused to a little kid and not to mention their family, as a result of a fracture. It was heart-wrenching to see a kid like her, who is so cautious even when descending the stairs or jumping to be subject to such plight. The poor kid had buckle-fractured her leg, which meant a slight bend had occurred to one of her bones, which are still very flexible for children her age.
After getting her leg plastered and suddenly realizing her inability to perform routine tasks of walking and wearing sandals, she burst into tears saying, “Main sandals kaise pehnoon gi?! Iss ko hatao! (How am I going to wear my sandals? Remove this!)” She cried all the way home and then when she was laid on the bed, fresh tears sprang into her eyes as she was able to closely view and apprehend her leg disappearing beneath the plaster. “Mera paer kahan gia (Where’d my leg go)?!” Funny as this innocently uttered sentence was, it still reflected the fear and anxiety that would strike anyone, young or old with a plastered leg.
A little cheering up worked and gradually she got used to having to stay on bed the whole day through, creating interesting activities for her own self like painting, coloring, going through educational books and habitually playing with her toys with the exception that she couldn’t move around much, which in itself was heartbreaking because she is a very active kid. The fact that she was getting a lot of attention eased any frustration that she would have experienced.
The plaster on her leg bound her to bed for two weeks. Within those two weeks, we tried our best to keep her entertained. One day, her parents had taken her to school so that she could visit her friends and teacher. When I came back from office, her troubled expressions every time her school was mentioned made me realize that something had gone wrong. Her teacher, in a bid to protect her from getting more injured, had kept her at a distance from all the kids. She had kept her seated in her chair, while all the other kids performed their routine activities, forming their regular human circle on the floor. This had affected her very deeply and she had felt extremely left out instead of feeling normal and part of the regular crowd as we had anticipated. So much so that a little teasing about leaving her in to the hospital alone if she gave us trouble with taking her medicine made bouts of tears roll down her cheeks as she hurtfully replied, “Mujhe durr ni rakho, main sab ka friend hoon (Don’t keep me away, I’m everybody’s friend)!”
The arrival of Eid-ul-Azha would have caused us more pain had she been the age and the kind of kid who loved to play with animals as the festival really marks as celebratory for the younger lot, who spend night and day, caring for, feeding and running around with their sacrificial animals. The only disappointment was that she couldn’t go to visit the tent set up for sacrificial animals for the building though she required a lot of coaxing before she gave in for a visit the previous year.
Visiting the doctor gave a little relief by the end of the second week, when she was allowed to walk even with the plaster on her leg. Being an intelligent and observant child, she quickly devised a method of walking around with the heavy plaster clinging to her leg. She held on to furniture and walls and easily made her way around the house – a sight that jointly aroused compassion with pleasure.
At the end of three dreadful weeks, Inaaya finally said bye-bye to her plaster for good and started to walk again – with a limp in the beginning as getting used to not having the plaster took some time.
If anything, those three weeks brought forth a realization about the trial endured by people, who unfortunately have children, who are either special or are unable to carry themselves around the house to accomplish daily routine tasks. Having to carry around a three and half year old Inaaya, who although was not a heavy kid but still had considerable weight and catering to her every need while she was totally dependent on us made us feel ever grateful to the Almighty for Blessing us with children who are not only healthy and able but bright and skillful too.