My name is Abinav Jyotis, and I'd like to share a story about my friend, Ajin.
In March 2022, with the help of Dr. Arvind Palanisamy, I got the opportunity to spend two weeks at Pallium India in Kerala, India. Pallium India is a charitable organization that provides free palliative care to underprivileged families across India and was founded by the chairman emeritus and 'father of palliative care in India,' Dr. M.R. Rajagopal.
During my stint at Pallium, I met a charismatic young patient with one of Pallium's physicians on my first day at the inpatient clinic. Ajin was roughly my age, diagnosed with quadriplegia, and receiving free pain management, like countless others at Pallium's clinic. Despite his condition, he was a charming fellow and a vivid narrator. I remember pulling a chair close to his bed as he lay under the breeze of three different table fans that cooled the burning sensation of his paralyzed body. Those details, however, never crossed my mind because we talked for nearly two hours about his family, fishing days, and fascination with cars. His nostalgic telling of his past life stole my awareness until he remarked with a bright grin, "Wow! Talking with you made me forget all about my pain!"
His cheerful words obscured his desperate reality for a few moments, and all I could do was smile and lay a hand on his shoulder as I felt a lump growing in my throat. I realized then that he had needed a listening ear all this time, and I could give that to him for those two hours.
I have always kept in contact with Ajin since then. Every week, my Sunday nights are spent talking with Ajin over WhatsApp about new movies, cars, family matters, or any subject that seems to plague his mind. Ajin's ability to laugh and seek joy in the little things has always fascinated me. He rarely mentions his troubles with his health or finances, and perhaps his silence is a means of coping. But I have seen his reality. Currently, Ajin is in dire need of assistance to finish the construction of his home in Trivandrum.
Below, I've copied a message that Ajin dictated in English:
"My name is Ajin. I'm from Pozhiyoor in Trivandrum . 4 years back, while studying in the 12th standard, I met with an accident when I was bathing in the sea with my friends. My head hit a sand bund formed by the waves, and I lost consciousness. My spinal cord was injured at C4 and C5, resulting in paralysis from neck to toe. I have been bedridden ever since. I was operated upon, and a steel rod was inserted in my neck. It has been an endless suffering for me ever since.
My father is a fisherman, and he earns a meager amount which is hardly sufficient for our daily expenses. My mother has been with me throughout, and she feeds me, cleans me up, and shifts my position every now and then to avoid getting bed sores. Whenever I am hospitalized, she is my caregiver. She cannot take up a regular job as I constantly need her help.
Over time, I was fortunate to get in touch with Pallium India. From then on, Pallium India took care of my medical expenses.
Subsequently, I developed a pain in my neck where the steel rod was inserted A medical checkup found that I had to change the rod. So I had another surgery.
We had a tiny, dilapidated house with a leaking tin roof in the coastal area. The heat from the tin sheet was unbearable, especially for me, as I'm totally bedbound. After the second surgery, I was unable to tolerate the hardships of our old house. So with the help of a kind sponsor, we could move to a rented house. But within the last year we had to shift two houses. The shifting process is so strenuous for me and my family. So we sold our old house and managed to buy 2 cents of land with the intention of building a small abode. But we cannot afford it now as all our resources are exhausted.
Ever since the accident, life has been extremely difficult for me. According to medical opinion, I am unlikely to regain my mobility. My only wish is to spend the remaining part of my life under a safe and secure roof. I am badly in need of your support to realize my wish.
So I humbly request you to help us build a small house so I can live peacefully through all the pain and discomfort I endure. Thank you."
This is Ajin's story, and I hope you all can support him as he aims to find a better quality of life. All medical documentation, ID, and proof of disability have been provided above. Additionally, consent was obtained from Ajin himself to share his story.
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