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It was a chilly winter night in Kolkata, when I suddenly realised for the first time that my 14 month old baby wasn't breathing normally. There is definitely some issue with the way he was inhaling and exhaling, I felt. During those days, as a relatively new mom everything that happened unusual would send me in frenzy. I never took much time to panic and this was big by all means. I waited for sometime keeping a close watch, but as time passed I was more and more sure that my Abhi was not breathing the way he does. I tried putting him in different positions, checked if he is chocking or worse if his heartbeat is normal. I saw nothing, yet I was sure he was breathing abnormally fast than usual and was not in his cheerful self. I told my husband and we rushed him to the doctor. Within few minutes the doctor declared that he is wheezing and is suffering from bronchial asthama. This word asthama blew my mind, as I knew the pain of the ailment, my brother had it. Tears rolled down as Abhi was administered the first dose of steroids. Little did I know then, this dose was just the beginning to a nightmare that will haunt us years after year.
Yeah, my son suffers from acute asthama from a tender age and now at 9 too, he is still struggling with this and trying to shape up his life amidst many odds. Diwali used to be my favorite festival, and now I dread it. I know for sure that nothing can stop my son from having a nightmarish diwali yet again. The smoke and pollution creates havoc in his life. And, no amount of preventives and masks help him. The doctors give up, they sound helpless and ask us to take precautions. Abhi deals with asthama practically all through the year, but during diwali it is worse. I dread this festival now, which I once waited with bated breath. I love everything about this festival baring the pollution it creates. The pollution gives us the most helpless few days of our life... And we as parents can't do much about it !
As a mother, my heart aches when I have to stop my child from celebrating this festivals. While his friends go around bursting crackers and enjoy to the fullest, I keep him home struggling to explain why he should't go and burst crackers. I probably become the cruelest mom on this earth. But you know what, there is perhaps nothing more painful when your child holds your hand and says, " Mumma do something....I can't breath anymore. The medicines, steroids and injections are just beyond me. " This sentence I have heard in-numerous times from last so many years, and every time he said that I felt the world should end just here right now !! I actually don't have words to express what me and my hubby go through seeing Abhi gasping for every single breath. There is no bigger pain than to stand helpless and pray - HOPE HE SAILS THROUGH THIS TIME AND COMES OUT SAFE !!
I probably would have never advocated Green Diwali, had it been not my son. I was selfish, ignorant...and what not ! Honestly, my son's plight changed my perspective. Now, I realize tooth and nail how many have suffered silently when we burst crackers and pollute the environment. What havoc it brings into the lives of those who suffer from respiratory ailments. Phew !!
To me Diwali will always hold a special place in my life. Avalanche of memories attached to it. But, from where I am standing now, Diwali brings nightmare and fear. Oh not again.... I cringe !! Let's vouch for Green Diwali, and make it a festival that can be enjoyed by even those who aren't as privileged like you and me. My child too deserves few great moments. Doesn't he ? Trust me, the sight of seeing your child not been able to breath, is excruciating. Can we atleast try and keep a check and celebrate Diwali in a way that doesn't harm anyone. Can we...please ?
Wishing You all A Very Happy Diwali !