Published on: July 3, 2015

(This is the second part in the blog series on Pallium India’s weekly children’s clinic at SAT Government Hospital, Trivandrum. Smriti Rana, Consulting Psychologist and Programme Director for Children’s Palliative Care Project, writes about her experiences. Click here to read the first part.)

How much goodness can one day hold?

A lot, believe me.

This Thursday was a day of many small and big victories, so a day of many stories. I had a hard time picking out just a few of them for you… but here they are.



Seen in this series is Sashikala, but we all call her Devu. She is a little firebrand, who is normally very particular about her personal space and what she sees as hers. When I accidentally placed my hand on her case file, she was distraught and insisted on holding it close to her chest, even though the file was probably as big as she was. Yes, quite a bit of history in that file.

Now bereft of another one of my most-used tools of universal language, the task of building rapport with her fell upon our trusty old friend who has helped countless people with children – the reliable game of Peek-a-Boo.

And this is what happened. I was not only rewarded with that delicious smile; as I bid her goodbye, she came up to me and planted the teeniest of kisses on my cheek, pulled away and gently held her hand against my face for a couple of seconds. I was too scared to move, afraid she might be offended by the intrusion on her personal space, and resisted (with a lot of difficulty) the urge to give her a giant hug.



Hero number two here is Rahul. 3 years ago he was carried into the clinic in his fathers arms, unable to walk or stand, wracked by the pain of severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. Just look at him today. He is all swag, and wanted to check the pictures I took to ensure his hair was just right, striking all the right poses, and absolutely loving the car that one of you fantastic donors sent across. He is all smiles and tamasha, and even shot me a cheeky wink on his way out. We hope he stays well and happy and his body keeps up with his delightfully naughty mind!



And what exactly is everyone so thrilled about here? I’ll tell you. Anoop is 16 and has Cerebral Palsy and Spastic Diplegia. When he came to us in the beginning, he could not sit up on his own, displayed aggression especially towards his siblings and was completely dependent on his caregivers. Today he walks with a bit of support, is able to use the toilet on his own and what we believe to be his innate friendly personality shines through.

This picture was taken a second after he successfully counted to twenty – not something that came easily to him – and he is able to accurately identify colours. And who do you suppose is responsible for that? See that other smiling boy standing next to their mum? That is Anoop’s 12 year old brother Ajith, who taught him his colours and numbers, with what I imagine would take infinite patience in one so young. He celebrates his brother’s every victory with obvious joy.

It is not easy to be the sibling of a chronically ill child, which makes Ajith’s generosity of spirit and unconditional love so very beautiful. He was given a toy car too, and I think it took him a second to process that it was especially for him.

It was a really GOOD day at the clinic, with frequent outbursts of delighted, raucous laughter, celebratory cheering and the quieter, more delicate sounds of bonds being made and strengthened.

I took a few seconds off to sit in the midst of this, look around me, and I can’t say I recall a more perfectly content moment than that in a long time.

Read Part 3: Angels with us unawares 

(We are happily accepting toy donations for our weekly children’s palliative care clinic. Certain specifications need to be considered before sending the toys across, due to the nature of the childrens’ illnesses, so if you are interested in sending something across do write to us first: Thank you very much!)

One response to “How much goodness can one day hold?”

  1. Krishnaraj says:

    Hai Smriti,

    Your articles made excellent reading and will go a long way in sensitizing readers to the cause of palliative care. Didn’t know you were so talented. Look forward to reading many more of these.