They call him ‘aspataal ka beta’ (son of the hospital)! A four-year-old boy, Arjun, who was brought to the Bahraich district hospital for treatment in 2008 is now 13, but hasn’t left the campus as he shares a unique relationship with the hospital and its staff.
Nine years ago, he was found alone in a flood area. Arjun was crying near a nullah when administrative officials spotted him during patrolling. He was admitted to the hospital by the then district magistrate Sudhir Kumar and operated for stone in ureter. But after recovery, he stayed on.
“The little boy had no place to go. We decided to keep him until something was done for his safety and future,” said M Bhalla, the hospital’s matron who has seen Arjun growing on the hospital campus.
When officials traced his ancestral house, Arjun still refused to go. “I don’t remember anything about my family, so I don’t want to go anywhere,” said the boy whose daily routine is connected with the hospital functioning.
He wakes up early before the OPD starts and goes to sleep late. The hospital staff enrolled with in a primary school, but he stopped going in a few weeks.
Ask any hospital staff and each one of them will say that Arjun is the hospital’s child. He has grown up here, playing and understanding the healthcare system. His education though could not go beyond a few classes but for Arjun what matters is his family – the hospital staff.
Sweepers, paramedical staff and doctors – everyone knows him. “All on the hospital campus are my friends. This place is my home,” said Arjun, whose expenses are borne by the staff.
He does not participate in any official works on the campus but is well aware of the system. He interacts with the staff, especially the drivers of the 108 ambulance service, who often come with patients for their admission and treatment.
Sudhir Kumar had also traced Arjun’s native village Masih and ordered that his name be enrolled in the property there so that when the boy grows up he has some share in it. “He is not an orphan. In his family, we found his sister and brother-in-law,” Kumar told HT over the telephone.