4. Being brave

०१ ऑगस्ट २०२०

Lately, Anu’s Mum hasn’t been feeling well. She went to the doctor few times, but nothing seemed to be working. She looked tired. Their walk to the bus stop wasn’t that fast anymore.  They had to walk slowly because Mum would be short of breath a few times.

Anu was worried about Mum and kept thinking about her in the class. She told her friends about it too. She even drew a picture of Mum being sick and lying on the bed. She hoped that today Mum will be all good and back to normal. Mum didn’t come to pick her up. Mum’s friend Kalpana did. They came home. Anu ran to Mum’s bedroom. She was asleep. Kalpana gave her afternoon tea and told her that dinner was ready too. Before she left, she told Anu to look after Mum.

Anu finished her homework. Her friends came to play with her. She told them she couldn’t because she had to look after her Mum. Little Anu kept shuttling between the living room and Mum’s bedroom. She looked at her Mum’s face and cried. She wanted to hug her and tell her that she would be okay. She felt scared. Will Mum die?  Her Teacher told a story of a little boy the other day. His Mum dies and he becomes an orphan. That was the new word children learnt that day. It means he had no mum or dad to look after him. Teacher didn’t mention grandparents in the story. If anything happens to Mum, she might live with her grandparents in India.  In spite of the mosquitoes she liked living in India. School in India was not bad either. She is 7 years old now, and she can look after herself. Mum taught her how to make her own milo. How to cut vegetables. How to make & receive phone calls. How to write down the name of the caller on the notepad. What was the message? She, of course, knew how to use a computer. She could vacuum, tidy up, have shower by herself. Anu felt good about herself.  She told herself nothing would happen to her Mum.

“Anu, come here.”

Anu ran to Mum.

“Are you alright? “

“I will be, sweetheart. Give me some water.”

Mum drank water then wanted to go to the bathroom. When she got up, she was shaking like a leaf. She held onto the walls and doors and went into the bathroom. The next thing Anu heard was a thud and Mum’s moaning. Then all went quiet.

Anu ran to the bathroom. Mum was on the floor. Looked like she was asleep. She tried to wake her up.

Anu started to cry.  She didn’t know what to do. Mum opened her eyes and whispered “call emergency” & she lost consciousness. Anu ran to the phone. There was a list of numbers where emergency was written in red letters. She dialed 111.

“What’s your emergency?”

“My Mum fell on the floor. She is not moving.”

“What’s your address?” Anu told her the correct address.

“How old are you?”

“7 “

“Is there anyone else in the house?”

“No. just Mom and I.”

“Okay, don’t worry. Ambulance is on the way. You are doing well. You are a brave girl looking after your Mum.”

“Can I put the phone down? I have to call Mum’s friend. She will come to help.”

“Give her number to me and I will call her. You don’t disconnect this call until the ambulance reaches you. Okay?”

Lady on the phone was kind. She kept on talking to Anu about school and friends. Ambulance came. They put Mum on the stretcher. Anu was sitting by her side. Off they went to the big hospital. They placed Mum on a bed. Anu sat on the chair besides her. Other patients in the room and the nurses all were looking at her sympathetically. One nurse told Anu that she heard that Anu was very brave today.

Mum was put on a drip. She slowly regained consciousness. She smiled. Anu hugged her, kissed her.

“You are alive. I am so happy.”

“Who told you I was dead?”

“No one. But the story teacher told in the class the other day….” and Anu kept chatting away. Mum drifted into sleep again. This was one of the rare occasions of Anu telling Mum a bed time story.

By this time Mum’s friend Lisa & her husband Terrence reached. Terrence lifted Anu in his arms & said, “You are such a smart little girl. You did well today.” They told Mum how Anu saved her. Mum was so proud. They asked Mum how did Anu know what to do? Everyone looked at Anu. She said Mum has told her about a list of important numbers near the phone. One of them is emergency number 111. In her school, they have given them information about ambulance and police & how to call them if required. When Mum said emergency, she knew what to do.

Mum’s friend asked, ”But why did you call us?”

“Because I am hungry and tired. I want dinner.”

“Aww…..let’s go to your home and have dinner then.”

“What about Mum?”

“She will be coming home in an hour or so. Don’t worry, she will be fine.”

Anu went home.

A nurse came to check the drip. She said all was fine. She told Mum that she had a dizzy spell because of her anemia which was extremely bad.  She was surprised that her GP didn’t diagnose it. She praised Anu for her quick actions. She told Mum that they would have called social services to take Anu. But Anu showed smartness to call Mum’s friend Lisa to look after herself.

“You got a sweet little girl with a very sharp mind. You taught her well.”

Mum smiled and said, “Sometimes I learn from her.”

Anagha Kawley, Auckland, New Zealand


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