Ritu's marvellous bedwetting days

Ritu's marvellous bedwetting days

I made one fatal mistake that changed my entire existence. I stood first in my class! When my city based, married, well-to-do, brother heard about it, he convinced my father, that I should move into his house and enroll into a ‘good' city school.

"Chee, chee, not again Ritu. A big girl like you. For heaven's sake, you are in standard VII” screamed my bhabhi. My dark secret was now in the open. The  apartment's gardener and gate keeper, my bhabhi's cook and maid, even my brother's Dalmatian knew that I wetted my bed at night. Back in the village,  I used a woven mat (to sleep on) which could be washed and hung to dry without anybody being wiser. Here  -  a hue and cry-over a habit that was beyond my control. I am ashamed of wetting the bed night after night. However much I try not to, it just happens. My sister-in-law has tried, every possible remedy to stop my bad habit - doctors, psychiatrists, quacks, even god men. She thinks that I do it wantonly. As a last resort, she announced in class that I was a bedwetter. Her idea of "Shock treatment"  to overcome my "stinking"  habit.

All that happened was, I became  an object of ridicule for the school. "Urine" jokes about me, became an everyday affair. Every puddle in the school's grounds became "Ritu's piss". "She does urine therapy" and "Ritu Karthi hai sshu sshu" rose from almost every one's lips.

My father had come to Bangalore on some work.     "Pappa, I want to go home. I hate my school. I hate Bhabhi. Please take me back with you" I cried. He heard me out. "Ritu, you lost your mother at a young age. That trauma may have started this problem. Dont worry about it. You'll soon out grow it. You have inherited the problem from me. I was  a bed wetter too: Join the teasers and joke along with them about your condition. There's lots more to life than worrying about bed wetting".

My father’s casual  approach to my problem calmed me into accepting it. The class was a buzz about a new arrival, and how he was an untouchable; A skinny, tousle haired boy with a Pinnochio nose, sat in the last bench, looking lost and friendless.
"Hi, I am Ritu, can I be your friend?"
He gave me a shy smile.

"I am Sabbhu, if you want to, but I am HIV + Ve, so........”
His voice trailed into silence.
“I know all about it" I boasted "It doesn’t spread that easily". "How did you get it?".
"My parents died in a road accident. I was hurt and needed blood transfusion. That is when I got the infection”. said Sabbhu.

"Where do you live?" I asked. "In a home for Infected children" he replied. "Can I visit the home?" asked a curious me. "we can go after school" said Sabbhu. As we walked towards his home, I thought to myself-two outcastes bonding together. The entire home of 18 children, were so happy to see me, touch me and hug me. They made me feel so wanted and important that I became a regular at the home. One day Sabbhu said "we will lose Shyla very soon". Shyla was a cute little two year old with an attractive lisp in her speech.
"You mean she is going to die?"


"She needs expensive medicines which the home cannot afford".

I spoke to my father about Shyla. "Where there is  a will there is always a way. This apartment has  so many children. Talk to them. Organise a fun fare   (in the car park). Invite the adults. Let the them know the reason behind the funfare. Lets see how much you are able to collect" said pappa.

We organised eats and several interesting games.   It was great fun learning about cost price,  selling price and profits. We managed to collect Rs. 20,000. Father and brother chipped in with equal amounts. When I handed over the 60,000 rupees for Shyla's treatment, Shabbu just said "Thanks".     But I fully realised there was much more to life than crying over bed wetting, at that moment of Sabbhu's Thanks.

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