I first met Mohammed almost four years ago, weak from Interferon therapy, alone and friendless and very afraid in Mumbai, only about 21 years of age (he comes from UP.) Some pehchan walla (acquaintance) from his village had guided him to his pehchan walla in Jogeshwari in Mumbai…where he was totally lost. Once on the Programme and on the magic bullet, Glivec, he soon began to feel better physically and when he came to meet me the next time he was looking so much better but still restless and not knowing what to do to keep himself busy.
I spoke to his penchan wala ka pehchan wala (the acquaintance…of his acqauintance!) to see if they could get him some work. “Sab ko yeh phikar thi ki isko who wali bimari hain…” (“Everyone was concerned that he was a sick person…”) So after convincing them that nothing of the sort need worry anyone, he was taken on at a bakery. It seemed to be the best thing that ever happened to Mohammed. The boy seemed to found his calling…and everytime he would come to see me he would literally be blooming looking better and better and loving what he was doing…baking pastries and cakes and bringing delicious treats for me to sample.
One time he said to me, “Mummee, mujhe koi hotel mein kaam dilva deejiye na…main isi line mein kuch khas karna chata hoon…mujhye yakeen hain main bahut achha karoonga…” (“Mummy, please try to find me some work in a hotel…I want to do well in this line of work…I really feel that I will do very well if I have the chance…”)
It was such a coincidnece – I met Vithal Kamat at a book launch just that week itself and I just casually asked him if he would have place for a trainnee in his hotel, The Orchid (…it is yet another story how Vithal so graciously let me have a patient group meeting in his hotel for over 350 with chai and dinner thrown in…on the house!). A position for a leukemia patient who had what it took to do well in life a strong belief in himself and the willingness to work hard and learn…and VK took him in, just like that…this boy then worked and worked, without a break and without taking leave, sending someone to pick up his supply, and taking a day off only when he had to see his doctor.
Today he has been made a permamnaent employee of the hotel. He's been promoted, he bakes the most lazzeez pastries and just look at him will you…my pride and joy! He calls me Mummee and I just love him so much…And he made my day today when he came with his father and a wedding invitation his own.