The hospital where Pooja was being treated sent for the valve from abroad. They got a size bigger valve. Initially, the hospital told the Dhabolkars that they would send it back and ask for the right size of the valve. They also said that it would take about 15-20 days for the new valve to come. But, within 4-5 days they decided to fix the same valve, saying that the child would grow and the valve would become the right size.
My aunt was not very happy with the decision. But, the parents could not watch the child suffering and had decided to go with the decision of the doctors. Pooja had visited my aunt’s place several times before this. Dolly had also played with her. My aunt’s family could not see the child’s suffering. Even Dolly had got a scare out of this. My aunt had gifted Pooja a large doll and a stuffed monkey. My aunt had named the doll as Pooja. The child was a little scared of the monkey. So, her family gave the monkey to Pooja’s younger brother. Pooja would call her maternal aunt as Maku. She would also call my cousin sisters as Maku. My aunt was Maku Aai for the little girl.
The day of operation dawned. The girl had already begun to cry since the previous day. She did not want to go into the operation theatre. She was asking for Gayatri Maku (Gayatri is one of my cousins, my aunt’s daughter). My aunt went to different temples to offer pooja in Pooja’s name. She had planned to visit the child on Sunday because my cousins had to go to school on the weekdays. The operation took 4-5 hours. Pooja was kept on life support for 5-6 hours. Soon, they revealed to the family that she could not survive the operation beyond 6 hours. The hospital gave the family the child’s dead body and told them to pay Rs. 60000 more as soon as they could.
Thus, the story of Pooja got over. Her family called my aunt to tell the sad news. They said that instead of the child only the Pooja Doll is there. But, that family could recover from the shock very soon because they had another child. However, they felt guilty that they could have listened to my aunt and waited for the right sized valve. My aunt helped in collecting the remaining 60000 rupees and they gave it to the hospital.
Pooja’s mother gave a knitted toran to my aunt, which my aunt used during that year’s Navaratri. Mission Pooja Dhabolkar was financially successful. But, we could not save the child. One thought remains in our mind. If the operation had been delayed, maybe she could have been saved.