KERALA

A family's battle against fate

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Dec. 4. It is not entirely without reason that fate is often portrayed as blind. How else can one explain the plight of three members of a four-member family at Chiramukku near Attukal in the city?

Forty-five-year-old Sivaprasad, his son, Visakh, 8, and daughter Revathi Prasad, 11, have become the cruel victims of fate as all of them are striving hard to overcome their ailment, which has made their lives miserable.

Mr. Sivaprasad is suffering from intraventricular haemorrhage and is undergoing treatment at the Sri Chithra Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology for the past four years. Although he had been working as an electrical mechanic in an automobile workshop, he was forced to confine himself to his residence owing to his illness.

Revathi has already undergone two surgeries on the elbow of her left hand to remove a growth. Even after the surgeries, Revathi complains of pain in the same spot where the surgery was done.

Fate has not spared Visakh either. The boy, who is studying in Standard I, was undergoing treatment at the SCIMST for a heart ailment. He has to undergo pulmonary valvotomy. The family needs a huge sum for surgery but so far no one has come forward to lend a helping hand. Their application for assistance from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund has not yielded any response so far. The family is presently staying in a two-room tenement at Chiramukku, with no one to help.

To add to the woes of the family, Sivaprasad's wife, Rajeswari, 39, is unable to take up any job, as she has to look after her ailing husband and children. Though she has completed pre-degree and registered herself in the employment exchange 20 years ago, she has not yet got a job. "Even if I get a job now, I will not be able to go regularly as the circumstances are such," she says.

Even as the family finds it difficult to make both ends meet and also to find money for medicines and surgery, there is solace and hope for the mother in that the children are good at studies.

A seventh class student of the Manacaud Girls High School, Revathi stood first in the Labour India scholarship examination and has also proved her merit in singing. Visakh too is good at studies and a private school at Manacaud is providing tuition free of cost.

Although Visakh's surgery was scheduled in November, it was postponed to February 27, 2004 as the boy developed a new complication - epilepsy.

Even as the family finds it hard to find money for the surgery, treatment and medicines of the three members, the only helping hand has come from the Don Bosco Society, which provides food and financial assistance at regular intervals.

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