The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Food for thought in first meal

The morning of April 22 found him lying wailing in a vat on Rabindra Sarani, beside Matri Mangal Pratishthan, the umbilical cord still dangling from his navel.

The morning of November 14 will find seven-month-old Gonu hogging the spotlight at Matri Mangal Pratishthan. For, Children’s Day will mark the annaprasan of this abandoned boy, now in the loving care of the hospital authorities and staff.

“When the baby was found abandoned in the vat, we took him in and started treatment,” recounts Surinder Agarwal, joint secretary of the Pratishthan. “For quite some time, the infant’s condition was critical. Gradually, he responded to the treatment in the neo-natal cabin and things started looking up.”

Today, christened Gonu by the nurses, he is a baby bubbling with energy and keeping the hospital on its toes. Trundling around in his ‘walker’, little Gonu has no clue about the confusion that clouds his tomorrow.

“What will happen to Gonu'” is the question bothering everyone at the north Calcutta hospital. A case has not been lodged with the police, for fear that the child will be picked up and put into a home for the destitute.

“How can we allow that'” demands paediatrician Pramod Chowdhury, treating Gonu from Day One. “The matter involving the hospital’s right to keep the child is pending in court and so, we have no legal standing to find a family for him.”

Gonu — making a grab for the doctor’s stethoscope — of course, is too busy having a ball. But, for how long'

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