A Burning Issue
Soon after moving to Bangalore and getting myself a job at Holiday Inn and my Ben was born, Jaya started to work at the Mallya Apollo Hospital (now Mallya) after a 10-month confinement. Life had become more routine with my lunch-dinner shift and Jaya’s morning shifts. Our weekly offs were also not coinciding with me getting a weekday off and she on weekends.
It was on my weekday off that I used to keep all my chores to. Having moved to the two roomed house, adjoining my in-laws, Ben used to divide his time between the two houses. I did not have to do much as far as his feeding and cleaning was concerned, having two grandparents, an uncle and two house helps to take care of his needs. So I was left to myself for the better part of the day to wake up late, share the table for meals and such.
I would do my regular ironing of clothes during the period after breakfast and before lunch having got the necessary training at home as well as catering school. On this fateful morning, Ben was asleep on the cot as I went about setting up the wooden writing desk for my ironing chore. This table being about 4 ft in length was not long enough for the clothes and hence a cane stool was the preferred location to rest the iron in-between the pressing of the clothes and folding it.
I had just finished a trouser, folded it in three, shot a glance at the cot, where Ben had been sleeping peacefully. He must have been about a year and a half. He was just starting to wake up and I had a couple of pieces more to go before I could give him my full attention. I placed the ironed trouser on the bed, looked at Ben, placed the hot iron on the stool and was straightening the next piece on the table when I shot my next glance at him and did not find him on the bed. I did a 180 and saw that he had climbed down off the bed, crawled to the stool and stood with his hands on it and shaking the stool. As I dove to catch him, the hot iron fell on his tiny hands and all hell broke loose.
His increasing crescendo brought the in-laws from next door and I thrust his hands under the tap water in an attempt to reduce the damage done. Someone stopped an auto rickshaw passing by and I quickly changed from my ‘lungi’ and urged the driver to hospital. Ben soon quietened down and got distracted in the ride. His resistance to pain was high and that was evident over his growing years and even during his knee operations. By the time we reached the hospital, he was back to his cherubic self. The doctor in attendance was an Iranian, on OPD duty. He went about applying cream and covering it up with gauze and bandage but that did not last the ride back home.
I went to pick up Jaya from work and on the ride back home is when I broke it to her about the accident. She thought something had happened to me. Then I explained to her about the sequence of events. The ride was relatively quiet and my mother in law’s teary face said it all. But Ben was brave through the aftermath and enjoying the added attention. The next couple of days was spent trying to figure out ways and means of keeping the wound infection free. A visit to Mallya for a second opinion and mental satisfaction lead to losing the bandage and Ben getting an identifying mark on his back of his left hand for life and no movement discomfort.
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