True life experiences teach us a lot of things. It reinforces our belief and sometimes helps developing faith which is believed to be a great healer. This incident which I am sharing here goes back to the year 1976 but is still so fresh in my mind that it seems like an episode that I experience recently.
One evening when I returned from office, I was shocked to see my one year old baby full of rash on his entire body. Although he broke into rash a couple of times before, it was just a little bit on the hands and stomach. As a very caring mother, I would quickly grab the Johnson powder and rub on the affected areas and the rash disappeared in a couple of hours but this looked scary! I couldn’t recognize my own baby.
The baby sitter who was quietly observing my reaction finally spoke and said “Madam, can you take him to the Doctor?” I realized she was right. That was the best thing to do, so I quickly carried the baby in my arms and rushed to the Auto rickshaw stand asking to be taken to a Pediatrician Dr. Anand Pandit whose consulting hours was 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm.
Thankfully, there were just 2 patients in the waiting room and we did not have to wait too long. As soon as the receptionist called out my name, I rushed into the consultation room and showed the Doctor the state my baby was in. The Doctor also looked surprised and asked the baby sitter a series of question and she kept answering but nothing seemed to be registering in my mind. I was only thinking of the consequences as to what was going to happen next. Is my baby going to be ok? Once the Doctor finished examining my baby, he told me not to worry because these things often happen but it was difficult to diagnose right away what the rash was due to. However, he prescribed some medicated lotion to be applied three times a day all over the body with cotton wool and said to bring the baby back after three days.
I picked the medicine from the Pharmacy on my way home. As I reached home, my family was surprised to learn of the incident and even more surprised to see the state my baby was in. I quickly took the baby in my bedroom and took off his clothes, washed my hands, took some cotton wool soaked the liquid medicine prescribed by the Doctor and applied all over his body. While applying the medicine, baby kept crying bitterly all along which I thought was not normal so the following day, I called the Doctor and told him about it and he said the medicine gives a burning sensation and that is why the baby must be crying. Oh God! What was I doing? Torturing my baby! There was no other option but to wait for a day or two and see if there was an improvement or else get another opinion.
Two days later I realized that the condition of my baby remained the same. On the insistence of my friends and family, I took him to a skin specialist who diagnosed the condition as severe case of scabies. I was devastated to hear the Doctor say that. But how could that happen? I asked the Doctor and he told me that scabies is contagious. Constant unhygienic conditions lead to scabies and it is mostly found amongst the poorer class of people mainly maid servants. He was right! After he mentioned that, I realized the maid servant who washed our clothes actually looked very shabby and kept scratching herself all the time. I decided on dismissing the maid the very next day and appointed another one who was cleaner. On Doctors advice, I asked the maid to rinse the baby’s clothes in Dettol.
It was now more than two weeks and my baby’s condition was not showing any improvement. Out of distress I called my mother and explained the situation to her. Not that she is a Doctor or a faith healer but I thought it would make me feel better. On hearing my predicament, my Mother kept consoling me in every way possible and finally said that within a week baby will be alright and I should stop worrying. It did feel good to hear my Mother say that but when I turned towards my baby, his state astounded me. Days passed by and I kept applying the stupid medicine much against my will. It was agonizing to see him crying every time I applied the medicine.
One evening, I returned from office and as a ritual, the baby sitter handed the medicine to me for applying on my baby’s body. No sooner he saw the medicine, he started to cry and howl nonstop. I don’t know what went through my mind at that time; instantly I returned the medicine to the baby sitter and asked her to keep it back in the medicine cabinet. As soon as the baby sitter took the medicine away, the baby stopped crying and I could read the look in his eyes which expressed endless gratitude. I decided then and there that I was not going to use this medicine for my baby and torture him any more although the rash was still very significant.
Couple of days later, my husband and I left for a week to visit my Mother. The minute I landed at my Mother’s home, she took the baby from me and started to scrutinize the rash. My Mother looked at me and said ‘if the rash disappears in another week’s time, you will have to make a visit to Tirupati with the baby’. What for? I asked her, getting a little agitated. She told me to calm down and narrated some incidents wherein people had vowed that if their wish was granted, they would visit Tirupati. Everyone in her circle of friends who had taken vows, their wish was granted and they had made sure that they paid a visit to Tirupati. Concerned about my baby, my Mother also took a vow that she would send me to Tirupati with the baby if her wish was granted and she was sure my baby would be ok.
How time passed by I did not realized until my husband announced that we had only one days to leave and I should get down to packing our bags. I was so happy at my Mother’s home. I did not have to worry about what to cook, bathe my son or feed him because everything was being done by my Mother. While I was making an attempt to pack my bags, I heard my name being called out. I left my packing half done and rushed towards the backyard of the home where my Mother usually gave the baby bath. What’s the matter? I said. My Mother picked the baby in her hands and lifted him up in her arms saying ‘look the rash has all disappeared’. Wow! I was exhilarated. This was actually a miracle. How did that happen? I literally had tears in my eyes. These were the tears of joy and I realized how strong my mother’s faith was. All these days my Mother was bathing the baby so I had not noticed the condition of the rash on my baby’s body although once or twice my sister casually mentioned that the baby’s rash was reducing but I had not paid any heed to her conversation and took it as a passing comment. I was at a loss of words and did not know who to thank, my Mother or God.
Once baby’s bath was over, my Mother sat me down and said ‘faith is the biggest healer of all’ and I whole heartedly agreed with her without doubt. I thought to myself, had it not been for my Mother, I would have been applying the lotion for God knows how long and kept torturing my baby. After this incident, my belief in Miracles has become very strong. I took my baby to Tirupati and had his head shaved and thereafter visited Tirupati as and when I could make it. I would advice one and all never give up hopes, Miracles do happen.