news Friday, July 24, 2015 - 05:30
Sixteen-year-old Mahi is happy with his new gift – a ceiling fan given to him by his friend two days ago. It makes it slightly more bearable to be bedridden in a two-room cement shack in Kerala’s sultry summer heavy rains. P Mahi wasn’t always bedridden. Until two years ago, he was like any other teenager who went to school, played cricket and football, and even helped his mother at home. On April 5, 2013, Mahi was run over by the official car of the Rural Development Planning and Culture Minister KC Joseph in his village of Karakkad in Alappuzha district. He was on his way to his friend’s house, when the speeding car with the minister inside it ran him over, leaving him with serious head injuries, and an implant in his right leg. It also left him weak, and partially paralysed. “He was able to walk then, and had good balance, but lack of proper treatment made him bedridden, now he is not even able to stand,” Mahi’s mother Ramani P says. A week ago when Asianet News first reported on Mahi’s plight, the local MLA PC Vishnunath arranged the services of a physiotherapist for Mahi. Feigning ignorance about Mahi's condition,  a staff member at the Minister's office told The News Minute, "We were not aware that his situation has deteriorated. We will surely help him now." But that's a blatant lie says Mahi's mother and others. “Every day we call the minister’s Personal Assistant, but we haven’t got a positive response from the government. Look at the condition of Mahi’s house, he can’t even peacefully sleep there. And sometimes there is no food to eat,” says Jayasree Nair, a local social activist. Although it was the official vehicle of a minister which ran him over, the family has seen little by way of compensation or justice. The minister’s office gave him compensation of Rs 27,000, but it wasn’t enough to cover his medical expenses, which have so far cost around Rs 50,000. During the two years after his accident, Mahi’s ill health went unattended. "The government had also sanctioned Rs 1 lakh for us. We took out Rs 30,000 for Ayurvedic treatment. Meanwhile, some local politicians wanted to gift Mahi a wheelchair and pose for a picture withhim. We declined. They were angry with us and filed a complaint that we were misusing the government money. The bank then froze the rest of the money. Why should my son bear the brunt of political vendetta?" asks Ramani. Dr Hari Babu, Mahi’s physiotherapist says that the right side of his body is partially paralysed due to the head injury, which has also led to some mental instability. He has breathing problems. Because he is unable to walk he is obese. Had he received proper treatment and physiotherapy facilities earlier he would have recovered sooner, Babu says, adding that it is still possible provided treatment is regular. Mahi was Ramani’s only hope after her husband left them years ago. “I worked as a domestic help in the houses nearby, but now since he is not well and unable to move by himself I am not able to go for work regularly. I don’t know how to live and to give treatment to him, am more concerned that if something happens to me who will look after him?” says Ramani. Ramani has even contemplated suicide because of the poverty and illness. “I have thought many times about killing ourselves, but looking at my son’s face I am not able to do that,” she says. Being bedridden has not killed Mahi’s dreams. “Somehow I want to write my 10th exams and get some job to help my mother,” he says.