Kids on China border stand on army legs
Thupten Tsering, 19, is a mystery bowler; he delivers off spin, leg spin, googly, doosra, faster one and cutters. But unlike the Ajantha Mendises and Sunil Narines, he doesn't use his fingers. Rahul Karmakar reports.india Updated: May 15, 2012 23:16 IST
Thupten Tsering, 19, is a mystery bowler; he delivers off spin, leg spin, googly, doosra, faster one and cutters. But unlike the Ajantha Mendises and Sunil Narines, he doesn't use his fingers.
"The ICC will have to incorporate some rule for bowling from the elbow," he said tongue-in-cheek.
He adds: "Unless I can learn to use these (artificial hands) for bowling all kinds of deliveries."
Thupten is one of 95 inmates of Manjushree Vidyapith, an orphanage 37 km from the China border in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang town. He lost both hands from below the elbow when he was six after he touched a live wire.
That didn't stop him from doing everything – from driving cars to playing football, sketching and appearing for his Class 12 exams with the pen held between the tapering ends of his arms.
But Thupten wanted to "roll the sleeves of my shirt down to the wrists". Thankfully for him, the army was on an image-building mode with militancy in the northeast on the decline.
Earlier this year, the personnel of the army's Tezpur-headquartered 4 Corps took him to Artificial Limb Centre in Pune where he was given new hands.
"I feel like a complete man now," he said.
The orphanage's Lobsang Choeny, 12, too had his prosthesis fitted below the elbows while three others had their vision corrected.
At Jhantse Gatsal Children's Community, another orphanage at Lumla near Tawang, 13 of 82 children were screened and treated for tuberculosis.
And in Assam, children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy, spinal disorders, domestic violence – a woman branded a witch had her throat slit – cancerous tumour, cataract and other ailments were "given a new leash of life".
"This is just the beginning, and we hope to cover more people without access to proper medical care," said Brigadier LS Vaz, who heads the Medical Corps, adding that cleft lip and palate operations have made the army an organisation that makes people smile.
"The army is for the service of the people, and our ability to help disadvantaged children get that little spark while facing life bravely is the best thing to have happened to this Corps in its golden jubilee year," said 4 Corps commander Lt Gen Shakti Gurung.
The 4 Corps was formed in 1962, the year the Chinese army had taken Tawang.