On Monday, 13-year-old Adwaith Rejish was playing at his home in Puthenpeedika in Kerala’s Thrissur district when he heard his aunt, Shubha, scream outside the house. Adwaith ran towards them and much to his horror, saw his mother and Shubha’s sister – Dhanya – lying immobile on the ground. Adwaith ran to her and realised that his mother had received a severe electric shock while trying to pluck a jackfruit. What Adwaith did next saved his mother’s life.
"When I saw my mother lying on the ground, I was very tense and upset. When I went near her, I saw the iron pole in her hand which was connected to an electric line, and I figured that she had received an electric shock,” Adwaith tells TNM. Indeed, the pole Dhanya was using to fell the jackfruit had gotten connected to a live electric line, sending an electric shock.
“I knew that I should use an object that cannot conduct electricity to help her. I couldn't find anything else other than a tile piece nearby. So, I threw that on the iron pole, and it got detached from my mother’s hands.”
Through his presence of mind and timely actions, Adwaith not only helped his mother, but also prevented three other women who were trying to help Dhanya from being seriously injured.
“When Dhanya got the shock, I tried to help her, but I also felt the electric shock and fell down. Our mother ran to us and hugged Dhanya – she was also hit by it. But she was not ready to leave, as she thought the worst had happened to Dhanya,” Shubha recounts. “One of our neighbours, Rosy, also ran to us, and even she felt the electric shock. But nobody knew what to do. That is when Adwaith found a tile and threw it at the pole, hitting it, and knocking it out of Dhanya’s hands.”
Adwaith, a class 8 student at Manalur Government School, was able to act quickly, thanks to something he learnt in class. “I had learned about what to do when someone gets an electric shock. I also watch many videos,” he says.
However, even after the pole was knocked out of Dhanya’s hands, she remained unconscious, leading the people who had gathered around to think she had died. Many had even started crying loudly. However, Shubha decided to try to revive her one last time. She gave her a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Fortunately, Dhanya moved, after which they rushed to hospital.
"I had seen people giving CPR in videos, but other than that, I did not know about it. Initially, I thought it can be given only during heart attacks. When I gave CPR and blew in her mouth, she started breathing heavily. After reaching hospital, the doctor said that the CPR saved her," Shubha says.
Dhanya was discharged from the Mother Hospital in Thrissur on Tuesday evening. She is still on bed rest as she has severe body pain. Since she was unconscious, she does not remember much of what happened. However, she is elated that her life was saved by her own son and sister.
Meanwhile, Adwaith has also been busy attending the calls of many who called to congratulate him, including his schoolteachers, who spoke to him on the phone after reading media reports about his actions.
Adwaith lives with his family in Manalur, which is about seven kilometers from Puthenpeedika. He came to his grandmother's house after the lockdown rules were relaxed.