Every year, about 20 accident victims with severe brain damage lie unclaimed at the AIIMS trauma centre in the Capital. Some are not identified and the rest are part of the migrant population. Patients stable enough to be transported are sent to Sapna, an NGO in Alwar, Rajasthan, which provides them with a home.
Pradeep arrived six months ago and is one of the lucky few who are ready to go home within a fortnight.
He was excited and got ready for the camera. “Wait, let me change and then you can take my picture,” he said. Though he can walk on his own, he still needs his caretaker, Ramesh Kumar Yadav, 30, to help him change.
Pradeep remembered his father’s name and his village, Laqwa, in Ghaziabad. A person has been sent there with his photo to look for his family. Once his address is verified, he will be sent home.
A hit-and-run victim on a Delhi road, Jage Ram (in green) could not lift his arm without support till three years ago. He had lost his memory; no one knew anything about him except his name — Jage Ram was tattooed on his right arm. “That’s how we know his name,” said Yadav, also his caretaker.
When he arrived at Sapna in 2005, he was bedridden. Now he has mastered the wheelchair. Greeting visitors with a cheerful “Jai Shri Ram”, he eagerly tried to help the attendants.
“Come with me, I’ll show you around. I know this place like the back of my hand,” he said, offering to show the correspondent around.
She is known as Amma Bengali because attendants have overhead her muttering in Bengali.
Her occasional mumblings apart, she does little else but spend her day sitting on a stool in the garden.
She has lost her memory, doesn’t talk but can walk around on her own. When Amma Bengali arrived at Sapna two years ago from the AIIMS Trauma Centre where she was admitted with a massive head injury, she was bedridden. Her condition, however, improved eight months ago when she started making an effort to sit up and move around on her own. Amma Bengali still needs to be fed and washed.
He’s John Doe, the man no one knows anything about. He is mute and his right leg is amputated. He arrived in Alwar a year ago and does little but smile at everyone. People who speak to him call him Bhaiyya. “He’s very strong. He offered to cut the grass in the yard and worked through the day, clearing the field by evening. He even refused to take a break for lunch. We had to drag him away to feed him,” said caretaker Yadav.