Gandhi Quiz


No Pain, No Gain!

Summer holidays meant packing off to Granny's village! How little Maya loved it! Maya was glad daddy did not book their tickets in the AC compartment of the train. She had begged him not to. Maya hated the AC Coach. It was always cold and everyone kept sleeping hugging their warm blankets. Worst of all the windows were permanently closed! She could not peek out of the window and watch the green fields and the blue mountains rush past. She could not sniff the delicious aromas wafting from the vendor's carts when the train stopped at stations!
Granny embraced Maya with joy as soon as she set sight on her. Mummy and Daddy stayed for two days with Granny before going back. They would come back after a month to take Maya back to her big city Mumbai, a day before her school reopened. It was only when she was with her Granny that Maya rarely missed Daddy, Mummy, her red school bus and her new Kidz-computer.
"Maya, come for your break-fast!" Granny called out. Maya ran into the kitchen to see what was cooking. Granny was frying out huge puris from a big iron kadai. As soon as the tempting puris landed on the plate, Maya rushed to hold it. "Granny, how do you manage to pump air into these puris?" she wondered innocently. Granny laughed out aloud and before she could warn Maya not to touch the hot puris, the damage was done. As Maya grabbed one hot puri, it broke to let out a gush of hot steam on Maya's tender hands. "OUCH!" Maya cried as tears rolled down her eyes. Granny quickly held her hands under cold running water.
Maya could still feel the burning and pain in her hand. "Oh, don't worry; you will be fine in a day. It is nothing, darling! I know you are a brave little girl!" Granny chided. But Maya was sad her holidays should begin in this way. She wanted to dig and shovel and water the plants in Granny's garden. She wanted to play with the smooth round colourful pebbles on the bed of the rivulet that flowed past Granny's home. She wouldn't be able to do it as long as her hand hurt with the pain. She sat through the whole day without doing much, all along watching her hand that hurt her so much.
Granny told her a funny bed-time story to make her forget her pain and go to sleep. "Did you say your prayer?" Granny reminded her, before Maya went to sleep. Maya said out her prayer aloud. "God, thank you so much for bringing me to Granny. Thank you for the wonderful food she made for me. But God, I am very cross with you for the pain and burning in my hand! What have I done to deserve it?" she said with hurt in her voice. She buried herself in the warm blanket and went of to sleep even as Granny looked aghast!
The beautiful morning sunrays made their way into Maya's room and teased her. She woke up with a startle! She looked at her hand. The burn wound looked a dark reddish-brown, but the pain was better. "How is your hand, dear?" Granny peeped in. "It does not hurt much now" Maya replied, still a bit disappointed. "Oh, cheer up now, we have a bright day ahead!" Granny tried to convince her.
After she had her bath and a glass of warm milk, Maya and Granny set out to the temple. Maya loved the temple and the huge Banyan tree in front of it. A beggar sat at the entrance of the temple. As Granny handed a penny to him, Maya noticed his hands. Most of the fingers were missing. His legs were bandaged with pieces of cloth that were blood-stained. Maya felt sick and sad for him. When Granny finished her worship at the temple, Maya asked Granny what was wrong with the beggar. "He has a disease called leprosy. It is caused by a bug. But if he goes to the hospital they will treat him free. He can become well, though his lost fingers and toes will not sprout back. If he had gone to the hospital earlier he would not have lost them" Granny replied with a concern. "But does it not hurt him? How can he sit there begging when he must be suffering so much of pain?" Maya wanted to know.
"Maya, in leprosy a tiny bug attacks the nerves which help us feel pain. That is why a person who has this disease will not perceive pain. So even if he walks barefoot and a sharp stone pierces his leg, he will not notice it because there is no pain! If he burns his hands while cooking, he will not know it. That is how most of his fingers and toes have disappeared." Granny explained as Maya listened attentively.
"When God made our beautiful bodies he must have made us with so much love. He must have thought about every small detail. So do not be upset because he gave you pain. If you had not felt the pain, you would have continued to hold the hot puri and your hand would be more burnt. If you get fever, it is a sign to warn you something is wrong! If you suffer from diarrhoea, it is a way to flush out harmful bugs in your tummy!" Granny explained as they walked back home.
That night Granny overheard Maya saying her bed-time prayers. "God please make the beggar go to the hospital. Please cure him of the disease and give him his PAIN back! God, I am sorry for being cross with you. Thank-you for making me feel the PAIN" and she winked mischievously at Granny!

Dr. Reeta Mani

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