Dr. Sood was the only and the most popular doctor in town especially amongst children. An old affable man in his mid-fifties, he stayed with his wife. His only son was studying in Hyderabad.
Sporting thick spectacles and a long thin moustache he would always smile in the company of young children.
He had his own peculiar way of inoculation, where for the first 2 minutes he would spend talking to the child and then inject the needle without the child even registering it. He was their favorite and parents loved him for this.
Not a single child ever left the clinic crying.
‘Dwitiya has been having stomachache, headache and he is also not eating properly for the past few days’ said Mrs. Rawat concerned about her son.
A regular visitor to Dr. Sood’s clinic, she hoped for a quick diagnosis and cure for her child.
‘Let me speak to him’ said Dr. Sood.
Dwitiya an eight-year-old with mischievously shining eyes and the feet of a wanderer was unusually quiet and still today. Silently listening to his mother, he hoped to get rid of his illness quickly.
The doctor asked him a few questions like how long he had been having these problems, what he ate the day all this started and if everything was ok at school.
He spoke to Mrs. Rawat again, confirmed few of the things, Dwitiya told him, and gave his prescription along with a few medicines.
‘Don’t worry, he will be fine in a few days’ time’ assured the doctor as Mrs. Rawat got up to leave.
She nodded her head, reassured of her son’s well-being after meeting the doctor. The doctor’s reputation meant, there is no room for any doubt.
However, even after taking the medicines and following the doctor’s advice, Dwitiya was still not keeping well.
He still complained of stomachache and anxiety. He had also turned irritable and would fight with his little sister over trivial things, something he used to just ignore earlier.
Mrs. Rawat was concerned and went back to see Dr. Sood again.
Dr. Sood was surprised and confused upon not seeing any improvement in Dwitiya. He asked him some questions again, but was not able to understand the exact cause of his sickness.
He suggested Mrs. Rawat to get some of his tests like blood, urine etc. done, so he could make a better diagnosis.
Mrs. Rawat came back with the reports as soon as they were ready and finding nothing wrong in the reports, Dr. Sood was baffled.
He could not think of any valid cause for issues that Dwitiya was facing.
Mrs. Rawat left as Dr. Sood asked her to visit again after a week in which time, he decided to speak with other pediatrician to discuss and find out the possible cause of his sickness.
Two days passed since the doctor met with Dwitiya and he was still clueless.
Thinking to relax his mind, he began reading a book he had been intending to for the past one month.
He soon got engrossed as the book described captivating tales of beings who rose beyond their limitations to achieve something bigger. There was one story though which forced him to think hard about his own perceptions.
It was the story of a monkey who lived with a group. The entire group would stay together and share everything. If anyone would find a new source of food, he/she would immediately inform the other members, so they all could enjoy it.
One day one of the monkey’s discovered a hidden place filled with Banana trees. The clump of trees with ripe and unripe bananas were enough to fill the stomach of everyone in the group for weeks.
The monkey enjoyed the fruits and returned to the group at night.
He however did not tell others about his discovery preferring to eat all the bananas alone.
However, in a few days’ time, he began behaving very oddly, picking up fight with others and developing illness, no other monkey in the group had.
The female leader of the group, noticed his unusual behaviour and quickly understood something was wrong, deciding to follow him the next day.
The monkey reached the place and began eating bananas from his secret location. The female who till now was secretly following him, suddenly appeared.
He was shocked.
However, he also felt something he had never felt before; shame and disgrace upon seeing her.
The female, however, got closer and embraced the young monkey, as if implying she had forgiven him.
The next day, the same monkey showed the new place to the entire group.
Miraculously, after he did that, his behaviour began changing as he started to become more friendly and also stopped his daily fights, which soon turned into collaboration.
His sickness also subsided as he began feeling better.
The doctor had an epiphany.
He called up Mrs. Rawat and requested her to come to her clinic the next day along with Dwitiya.
She turned up early in the morning hoping the doctor must have come up with some kind of a magical drug.
The doctor asked to meet Dwitiya alone to which Mrs. Rawat quickly agreed.
He began by asking questions about his school and studies and then gradually touched upon his sickness.
He asked if he did anything unusual in the past few days, something he is not happy about, something which continue to go around in his head.
At first the child showed a reluctance to speak, however when the doctor promised to keep the conversation just between the two of them, he began opening up.
The little child had swapped his toy with his sister’s as the one he got had a little black mark. However, he did not tell about it to anyone as the toy’s were similar, he expected no one to ever know what he did.
The innocence of his childhood could not differentiate between guilt and anger, not knowing how to express his emotions properly, his body began reacting in different ways leading to uncontrollable aches and irritation.
Guilt of having committed a wrong, led to his sickness and once he confessed what he did, he immediately began feeling better.
‘So, what will you do, after reaching back home today’ asked the doctor.
‘I will return the toy back to her and take mine’ he said.
Mrs. Rawat wanted to know about the conversation between Dwitiya and him, but he declined to disclose, assuring her, she will know everything in just a few days.
Dwitiya reached out to his sister and confessed about swapping his toy with her, the one with a small black mark.
She was not even aware of such a swap but as she got to know, immediately took the toy back from his brother and ran to her mother.
She told everything to her as Mrs. Rawat quickly called up Dwitiya.
He was expecting to be scolded badly, as his shoulders dropped and his steps became slower. Reluctantly, he reached the next room.
Mrs. Rawat, however smiled as she saw him.
Dwitiya, seeing his mother smile, felt a little better.
‘I am very proud of what you did, you decided to follow what is right even though it was the tough thing to do’, she said.
She hugged him tightly, his little sister also got around and asked him to take back the toy.
Dwitiya smiled but declined, apologizing to her instead, for what he did.
Soon, his health began to improve as he started laughing more and fighting less.
Mrs. Rawat met Dr. Sood and wanted to know, how he got to know about what Dwitiya was going through, he was not a psychologist after all.
‘Nothing, I just read something beautiful and had an intuition it could apply here’ he replied while passing on the book he read to Mrs. Rawat, asking her to read the story of the monkey.
Mrs. Rawat gladly took it from him.
The eagerness to read and discover what’s inside was palpable on her face.