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Ailing boy beats all odds

Asansol, March 14: He cannot walk or run like his friends, but wants to invent a machine that would make life easier for the physically challenged.

He cannot write on his own, but wants to score more than 90 per cent in his higher secondary exams. He cannot go for his classes and studies at home, but reaches the test centre before everybody else.

Indubhushan Bhattacharya wants to be remembered as a research scientist who beat physical odds to achieve his feat.

The 17-year-old was detected with a muscle disease that robbed him of his ability to walk or run. Determined to become a scientist, Indubhushan studied hard and scored 85 per cent in his Madhyamik. Now, he wants to outdo his performance.

The boy, with twisted limbs, is accompanied by his father and a writer, Utsab Sadhu, to the test centre at Asansol Eastern Railway High School at least an hour before the exam begins.

“He has thorough knowledge of his subjects. He tells me the answers and I write them down for him. I am sure he will perform well,” Sadhi said after writing the English paper for Indubhushan.

The boy’s father Biswanath Bhattacharya, a headmaster at a primary school in Asansol, said Indubhushan had problems walking properly since his birth and would often fall while trying to run. The situation turned worse when Indubhushan turned 12.

Worried, his parents consulted every known neurologist in Asansol and Durgapur. They took their son to SSKM and several private hospitals in Calcutta.

Later, doctors at CMC, Vellore, detected Indubhushan with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease of the muscle caused by the absence of the protein dystrophin. “The disease manifests itself in the first four to five years of life. Slowly the patient becomes immobile as the muscles weaken,” said Calcutta-based neurologist Debasish Chowdhury.

The 45-year-old father sobbed: “The doctors in Vellore regretted and told me that the disease is non-curable. I returned home with a heavy heart. I am now consulting homeopathy doctors. But hope eludes me.”

He added: “We did not go for a second child so that we can devote all attention to Indubhushan.”

The school teacher said he sold his single-storeyed house and his scooter to fund his son’s treatment.

Struggle started early for Indubhushan. The 17-year-old was admitted to Ushagram Boys’ High School, about 5km from home, but had to stop attending classes since he was diagnosed with the disease. He was in Class VII then.

Headmaster Golden Murmu made arrangements for Indubhushan to study at home and come to the school only during exams.

“He was a good student. I could not have allowed him to discontinue his studies.”

Indubhushan declined to speak much after coming out of the test centre. “I can’t speak much. I have to go home and study. I want to become a scientist and invent machines that will help people like me,” the boy said.