Sachin-484x543Sachin, like every Indian boy dreams of being cheered to the crease, taking his stumps, turning to frown at the bowler, tapping the heel of his bat, lifting it all set to strike.

That’s how Sachin Tendulkar does it. For Sachin Yadav it’s not so easy.

‘Sachin! Sachin!’ his friends shout as the ever-cheerful lad hobbles out to the wicket leaning on his bat – if he lifted it he’d fall over.

Our Sachin can’t stand unaided. His legs don’t work, so he settles down on the ground and works out his line from an imaginary leg stump. All too easy for a fellow who can’t move his legs to be out lbw. Given that he can’t stand, we suggest Sachin be spared the lbw rule.

He looks quite appalled. ‘If I am playing cricket I want to keep all the rules.’

Sachin wants to be a professional cricketer when he grows up and is determined to make it happen. Sometimes he grows discouraged when the difficulty of his situation weighs on him.

Recently he wrote a poem.

neither friend nor enemy I have,
nor fear of dying, nor wish to live

seems that while god gave me life
he made me forget how to walk

sure, he gave me a body,
but forgot to fill it up with life

I myself have now forgotten
whether I’m alive or if I have died

when misery is taken to be
happiness and happiness sorrow,
this we call everyday life

when pain dissolves in laughter,
this is called Chingari

the love shown by Apa and Didi*
and all the folk at Chingari
has taught me to love my life

His legs may not support him, but Sachin has the heart of a lion.

*Apa and Didi are nicknames given by the children to Rashida Bee and Champadevi Shukla, the two Bhopali women who won the 2004 Goldman Prize for their work with the Bhopal survivors and gave every penny of the prize money to start Chingari.

Update, June 2014

Sachin is now too old to attend Chingari and so left the care of the Rehabilitation Centre a few months ago. He went with the wishes and blessings of all of us whom he touched with his integrity and heart.

This week Tabish sir went to meet with Sachin to see if he was keeping well. Tabish reports that he found Sachin in good spirits indeed: he has now started a business of his own selling pappadums in his neighbourhood.

We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.