Chinnappa's Aadhar Card
Chinnappa's Aadhar Card8 mins 10.8K 8 mins 10.8K
Bright rays coming out of the window and started penetrating my eyes, that's when I woke up. Checked my watch it was 11, still hungover from last night it took me some time to get out of the bed. As I was coming down the stairs noticed my breakfast kept in the table, my dad scribbling something on the paper. I took my newspaper and straightaway went to bathroom. After coming back from bathroom I had few slices of bread and started my Sunday routine of watching T.V for rest of the day. My dad was still writing something in his notepad and was scrolling something in his age old desktop. About half an hour later dad called, "Come here I need help". And that was the last thing I wanted on a Sunday morning "coming", I said reluctantly.
My dad retired 2 years ago, from last year he is working on starting a charitable trust along with his friends. According to dad this trust is supposed to help one critically ill patient per month or may be more in future if their budget increases. And as dad is handling all the legal formalities he is fully equipped these days. On the other hand Sunday was the only free day I had in a week. So when he called me for help I just wanted to say "no!". Thinking all the possible excuses in mind to avoid any work I went up to him and asked, "what happened?". For which he replied "Nothing you must be knowing we are almost ready to start our NGO, we have got all the approvals required". "That is amazing!" I replied. "But as you know our budget is limited. We can only help one family, we have shortlisted a few people", dad told as he took out a piece of paper with some names written on it and continued, "I thought you are a doctor you can help me select one person". "Let me see" I took the paper from him and he started telling me about everyone in the list.
After discussing about each and everyone on that list we narrowed it down to two people.
First in the list was Mr.Gangadharan Nair, who was a daily wage worker and suffering from Diabetes Mellitus and had complications due to which both legs had to be amputated.
Mr.Shankunni was the second person shortlisted who was suffering from carcinoma oesophagus. He was also a daily wage worker.
"Why dont you visit them and decide?" I suggested. "That is a good idea.You are free today right?" He asked. "Oh, no!" I thought.But the words which came out were "Yes, I am".
So we started just after the lunch as Mr.G.Nair was nearer so we thought we will visit him first. His house was around 14 km away from my house. We reached the address we had but as we were unable to locate the house we asked for Mr.Gangadharan Nair's house to a tea vendor. At first he told us that he does not know anyone with that name. But later when we told his details he said, "Oh you mean Chinnappa, his house is around 500mts from here. You see the small valley you have to go from there and take left after about 400 meter you have to go little uphill for around 100 meter you will reach his house". We thanked him and were heading towards our car he shouted "You cannot go there in that thing".
After walking for 10 minutes we finally reached the area told by the shopkeeper, on asking a boy pointed towards the house.It was a old house with base almost detached from the house and the ceiling was made up of coconut leaves and branches.The wooden door had multiple holes and a iron latch attached to it. We knocked the door there was no reply. We again knocked little harder. A voice came from the adjacent house "Who are you.What do you want?". A middle aged woman came out of the house and asked "Yes, what do you want?". We told her the purpose of our visit. After listening she opened the door from outside with some trick which I thought she only invented. And finally we were in Chinappa's house. The house had only one room with kitchen attached to it, walls were painted in black but not with paint but due to smoke. The roof which was made up of dried branches had a plastic covering below it which worked as water proofing. The floor was not cemented but was rather plastered with cow dung. Entire room smelled like a urine factory. And in one corner Chinnappa was sleeping wearing briefs on a wooden bed with torn mattress.
Chinnappa was 67 years old but appeared much older than that. He was half bald, the remaining hair were grey including his eyebrow, moustache and beard. He had a dark complexion with prominent jaw line and cracked lips. The lady who came with us woke him up and made him sit with his back supported by the adjacent wall.
Then the lady told him "Appa, these people have come to see you". She turned toward us and said "Appa, can barely see these days". Chinnappa turned his face towards us and started visualizing us with his eyes half open. "Yes, what do you want?" he asked in a broken voice. "Hi, Mr.Gangadharan. How are you? We have..." dad explained the reason for our visit. "No one has called me by that name in a long time. As you can see, I am fine" he said. Then he told his story that how he was unaware of the disease. He only came to know about it 15 years back when one of the leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated and 10 years later the second leg also suffered the same fate due to the same cause. And since then he has became nonambulatory. "Who takes care of you? How do you manage alone?" I asked him. "My daughter lives next door. She gives me food and takes care of me. Do you see that bottle that is for me to pee", he told us pointing towards a mineral water bottle which was half filled with urine. "What about your medicines?" "Stopped taking it long back.Few medicines are supplied by government but there is no one to go till hospital to collect it. And I can't afford insulin injections". "How do you manage your expenses? Is there any source of income?". "I had a small land which I sold 2 years ago it covered my expense for some time but later it became very difficult. My daughter is also unable to help me as she is also struggling to make living. I have taken credit from few people but when I could not pay them back they stopped giving money and started threatening me. But they realised after seeing me that it's of no use". He further continued "Later I came to know Sevana Pension Scheme introduced by government. Which was also having schemes for old age people as well as handicapped people. Where they will give benefit of at least 1000 rupees every month". "That's great so did you apply for that? I asked. "Yes, I filled the form and my daughter took it to officials. But they rejected my application.". "What? Why?", dad was surprised. "I was not having Aadhar Card.Though I have attached my voter ID but they said Aadhar Card is mandatory. "What? That's ridiculous", I was astonished."I want to have one but I'am not able to go till their office. And at least two people are needed to take me till there. I should have taken it when I was capable of going".
We spoke for half an hour and after that we returned to our home. But we still were thinking and discussing about Chinnappa and if there is any way we will get that pension for him. Next day I finished early from the hospital and went to Akshay Kendra to know if there was any possibility that Chinnappa can get his Aadhar card. When I inquired at first they said that is not possible. But on explaining the purpose he started cooperating and explained that there is a provision for handicapped people. Officials from Akshay Kendra will go to their house and can do the formalities. But for that application had to be given informing the condition of the person.That was good enough for me. I took the application form and straightaway went to Chinappa's house.This time again Chinnappa's daughter opened the door for us with her magic trick. I straightaway went to Chinnappa and told he also can get the Aadhar card. I filled the form for him.Told him to be ready on Saturday by 2 PM. As that was the time given by the Akshay Kendra officials. After that I went back to office to submit the form and they gave me assurance to come on Saturday. On Saturday I picked the officials from the Akshay Kendra and went to Chinnappa's house.
This time the house was already open. When I went inside I was taken by surprise. Chinnappa was sitting wearing a brown coloured blazer with large checks on it and was holding a stick but was wearing the same briefs. He was supported by his daughter. He called me and asked "How am I looking? I bought this for my daughters marriage. I wanted to look good in my Aadhar.". "You know you are a rockstar Chinnappa, don't you?", I told while patting his shoulder. They started completing the formalities. After taking photo they showed it to Chinnappa. Chinnappa asked her daughter "Is it okay?", as Chinnappa could not make out with his blurred vision. Then they took finger prints and retina scan. And finally they were done. Chinnappa was happy and smiling throughout. Before going I asked Chinnappa "Now you will start getting money. What do you want to do first?" "I will buy a lot of adult diapers. It really becomes messy some times", he said. Hearing that I laughed and hugged Chinnappa and told him he might be having both his legs amputated but his sense of humor is still intact. And we left. Chinnappa's Aadhar Card was issued after 15 days. Two days later Chinnappa took his last breath and never woke up after sleeping. Chinnappa did not get the pension but had an Aadhar Card before dying. But it was little too late.