I am a guitarist. I grew up as a normal kid in a middle-class family. But there were a few roadblocks that we had to go through. Firstly, when I was in my 10th standard, my father went missing. To date, we don't have any clue about it. We lost our house, and my mom had to take care of everything. I was in 10th, and my brother had just started working. The family's income was meager at that time, but my mother told us that whatever happens, we don't have to quit our education. We have seen her fighting for many years.
Things started picking up when I was graduating, and my brother was doing his work well. I got an admission for my post-graduation. I used to take my guitar with me while traveling. My friends and I used to sing and play guitar and people used to love it. It was my habit to take a guitar with me when I travel and sing songs; sometimes, even strangers used to join us.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia Diagnosis
I was in the second year of my post-graduation when my mom got diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
She was taking a dental treatment, and her bleeding didn't stop. The doctor asked to get the CBC done, but she was not ready to go to the hospital. When we got the CBC done, we came to know that her Platelets were deficient. Initially, we thought it was dengue, but her Platelet counts didn't increase even after one week of treatment. We went to a hematologist, and he diagnosed it as Acute Myeloid Leukemia. We were numb when we got to know this news, and we didn't know what to do. We were just stabilizing in our lives, and suddenly, cancer struck our lives.
We were almost on the verge of crying because we didn't know what to tell her. My guitar was lying around, and I started playing the song "Meri Maa. This song does not have the particular lyrics to convey the message, but she got to know whatever I wanted to convey. She suddenly stood up and said, let's go to the hospital. We lied to her that we just had to go for one test. One of our friends helped us in all the processes at the hospital.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment
Later, the treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia started. We were very depressed because suddenly we were in a cancer hospital. After the first chemotherapy, we got an idea of the treatment. In further Chemotherapy sessions, we used to think that we were going for a picnic; I used to take my guitar with me.
We got through the treatment, and everything was going well, but after five months, Acute Myeloid Leukemia relapsed. Though she was looking normal, we were told that she only had one month left. We were not able to digest that fact. We were supposed to be at our jobs at that time, but we wanted to spend time with our mom, so we left our jobs. She expired after one month, i.e., in September 2014.
We three took care of her
If there were any important practicals in my college, I used to ask doctors to look after my mom and go for my practical and come back as soon as possible. My college supported me a lot. My brother was working because we needed financial support too. My brother, maternal uncle, and I were handling everything.
We never gave her outside food and took proper care of her hygiene. When we came home from the hospital after the six-month treatment, we were so tired that we slept for 16 hours straight.
Playing guitar for raising funds
Later, I went to a few NGOs with the idea that I could play guitar to raise some funds. I have seen people asking for funds for cancer patients, but we cannot trust a person whom you have just met. I told them that if I sing for an hour or two, they will at least get to know its importance, and one of the NGOs said yes to it. I started playing guitar by saying that I want to raise funds for cancer patients, and if they wish to donate, good, and if not, they are getting free entertainment.
Initially, I was too scared, but when I started playing, I saw people like it, which boosted me. Someone took my video and put it on Facebook. I was called on the radio and was interviewed by Manishka. Hearing that interview, I was approached for a TV show hosted by Mr Amitabh Bachchan. I was called on that show and was felicitated for this.
That gave me an advantage because people started recognizing me and could trust that I was not a fraudster. People used to trust me while donating money, and I used to collect around 8000 a month. Once, Mr Amitabh Bachchan came on the train with me, and just after one week of that, I raised 1,50,000 rupees.
Later, I started doing it individually and collaborated with different organizations and donated the whole amount I collected for this cause.
I am pursuing music as my profession, but I manage to keep a fine line between my career and social work. The work I do enables me to sleep peacefully daily.
Look around and help whosoever you meet. Learn to be more empathetic towards others.