Truly, they are winners all

ONE REASON why Soumen Pattayat couldn't win the `pass the parcel' game was because he did not want to give the parcel away. He held on, unrelentingly.

Like he did, for the first 39 days of his life, refusing to let go. A premature baby, born six months ahead of time, he weighed merely 1.2 kg and had `every ailment in the medical dictionary'.

Till the 39th day, even the doctors were not sure if he would survive.

But he did. He was born to survive and that was just what he was going to do.

He is now an active, bubbling child who does not let his slight hearing handicap come in the way of dancing with little Rizwan (also a premature baby) now all of a healthy two years old.

Hey, but that's what most of the other kids, who turned up for the `Graduates Day' of the Neonatology ICU of Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital (KKCTH), Nungambakkam, are too - members of the survivors' club. The `graduates day' was for those who had undergone a traumatic birth experience and had graduated from near death to certain life.

A meeting facilitated by the Neonatology department, the group of doctors who helped see the children through.

This year, graduates day, there was quite a good turn- out with kids enthusiastically participating in the various competitions, organised for two categories: the 3-5 years age group and the above 5 years group.

While `passing the parcel' and `bindi keeping' were the events for the tiny tots, the older ones had to compete in the traditional `lime and spoon race' and a `memory game'.

If the kids went home happy with their gift/prize packs from Johnson and Johnson, their parents and the doctors felt they were the real winners of the day.

Like the shine in the eyes of Dr. R. Shanmugasundaram, head of the neonatology unit indicated, there was this unspoken bonding among those gathered there that evening - of those who had stood together in a crisis and come out winners.

By Ramya Kannan