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being a girl in india
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She came to my clinic with her mother and a younger brother aged four. She was looking of age five or a six utmost. When i was checking her brother, who was having mild respiratory infection, she stood next to her mother observing curiously. She too looked seek, coughing sometimes. I gave instruction to my compounder for medicine to be given. She went to the dispensing window with her mother and was watching with a same curiosity how compounder is packing the medicine for them. She was pretty little girl with silky long hair, round face, thin,fair looking but malnourished if you want my opinion. Her mother gave money for my usual fees to the compounder, from her old wallet, almost emptying every coin from it. My fees for one day medicine cost less then one pound loaf of a bread, as i am a General Medical Practitioner and running a clinic in poor class area, no matter it is the 5Th largest city of India.But every metropolitan has a area like this, and every area of that kind has a doctor like me who are willingly practice there.

                             I could see that the girl was asking for some thing to her mother, pulling her Saree, and she was denying constantly. I concentrate my attention to hear their conversation.

'I also want medicine for my cold, mom', girl said. 

' You don't need it dear, you just have 'mild cold,' replied her mother.

' But brother also have that 'just mild cold' and you brought him medicine'.

'He is a very small boy, why don't you understand it?'

'I am also a small girl, isn't it?'

'He is a boy, 'brother' you know, you will be all right with the herbs i will give you at home'.

I could see the question in girls eyes and at the same time sense the confusion in her little mind. She couldn't understand the relevant logic behind 'not getting medicine only because she was a girl'. I knew that the basic problem was money, that her mother didn't have any after paying for his son's medicine. But what made me sick was her choice. Only because her son was a boy or a brother or a male, or a would be runner of heritage of a family, deserves every thing, and that girl was nothing in comparison to him, or less valued or 'counting last' material.

I told my compounder to give her a bottle of 'physician sample cough syrup' which she gladly hold in her hands, and went home with sparkles in her eyes. We had 'Indira Gandhi, as a prime minister 'kalpana chawla' as a space scientist. We are having sunita Williams, p. t. usha, sania mirza, aiswarya ray,arundhati roy among  us, but still we are laking some thing. This small episode is not about a  financial poverty but it shows the poverty of mind and mindset.Until and unless we overcome this 'mindset' we will not achieve the 'freedom for women' or rather for any individual at all, i would say.

Comments
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Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking tale.  But mostly thank you for doing what you can for this little girl and others like her.  As long as there are people like you, there is hope.

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thank you

Thank you ellen,

                        i  am  glad that some one some where is reading me. As long as there are appreciating people like you in this world, my kind of a person will do more gladly and vigorously the things they are doing right now.

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Thanks for bringing that up

That´s being a real Physician - having a profound and genuine interest and love for the well-being of other human beings, no matter how poor and messy they might be or seem. Western society also has its choices regarding boys and girls, although we don´t like to admit it. I don´t think they show in issues related to health, even in poor communities.In Brazil, for instance, through public health, many people can get medication for free, so they actually never have to make that choice. I think it happens a lot in terms of intellectual and emotional investiment. Some families - most surprisingly,some wealthy ones - just don´t respect their girls. They either want to "turn them" into carreer-oriented,highly competitive indivuduals or child-producing, loving suburban wives.For many people there seems to be no middle-term, and it´s exactly that middle road that suits best many, many women. I loved your post!

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respect for girls

Hi Luciana,

              thank you for reply.  I see that people [even being female herself] are laking respect for women, no matter they are in east or in west. What seems like respect is nothing but a calculative,  hypocritical behavior to cover the old fashioned ill mentality. In my part of India, to get medical treatment is not a problem. There are free government clinic just half a mile from my clinic. One can dial no 108 for free ambulance which will be at your doorstep in next 10 minutes. It is about a poor mindset that male child is more important then female. I used to give my most free physician samples to female patients, as i knew there are chances that their relatives will not buy it from medical store. Here I want to clarify that I am not bias to male patient. Patient is a patient for me after all, and i do my best to treat them.I hope that the 'medical oath' i had taken, will forgive me for doing this little favor to the other half of the society, poorly treated.

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The rest of her life, that

The rest of her life, that little girl will remember that one doctor way back when thought she was important, and that memory will help keep her strong. Thank you for taking care of her. Susan

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thank you

Hi Susan,

                           thank you for appreciation. You are right. Me and my doctor wife both are aged 50 and running a clinic at the same place since our graduation, almost 27 years. I cant describe how wonderful experience it is to see a boy or a girl, we had vaccinated for polio or T.B before 20 years coming with their newborn to you for the same procedure,but for their child. They remember us for so many things, we already forgot.

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Hello Jitu,

Lofty thoughts lead to great actions! You just did the right thing, Thankz for the good deed.