India/Pakistan: Asha ki Kiran

Tea with the lovely Nandita Das in Mumbai

Tea with the lovely Nandita Das in Mumbai

Found to be inoperable in Bangalore, young Kiran Soomro won over scores of hearts and has returned to Pakistan with a priceless gift of love – and homemade Singhar mithai. My article published in Aman ki Asha and TOI blogs today

On January 20, 2014, her seventeenth birthday, Kiran Soomro flew from Karachi to Bangalore on with her parents. They left with hope in their hearts and a prayer on their lips, expecting that Dr. Devi Shetty at the Narayana Health hospital would be able to surgically close the hole in Kiran’s heart.

Five days later, they learnt that her condition is inoperable by now. It would have been a fairly simple operation had it been looked into and treated earlier. Doctors initially discussed a heart-and-lung transplant. Dr. Balakrishnan, a well-known surgeon from Chennai drove down on his own initiative to examine Kiran in Bangalore. Continue reading

Update: Kiran Soomro in Bangalore

Happy birthday, Kiran. Photo: Haresh Jiwnani

Happy birthday, Kiran. Photo: Haresh Jiwnani

On Jan 19, 2014, friends and family gathered at heart patient Kiran Soomro‘s home in Karachi for a small send-off/birthday party. The following day, on her 17th birthday, Jan 20, 2014, she left Karachi for Bangalore with her parents, via Mumbai where her Indian ‘didi’ Nitu Jiwnani met her. The five hour flight delay had been exhausting. A skinny, exhausted, red-eyed Kiran clung to Nitu and wept. She didn’t want to get on another flight. But after a breather and some refreshments, she was ready to tackle the onward journey  (see my article in Aman ki Asha; also published in TOI blogs).

They landed in Bangalore late at night, and spent the following day, Jan 21,  at the police station undergoing the verification process that Indian and Pakistani citizens are required fulfill within 24-hours of arrival Continue reading

Nitu’s mission: Save Kiran

My column PERSONAL POLITICAL published in The News, TOI blogs, and Aman ki Asha

Kiran Soomro: "I want to live".

Kiran Soomro: “I want to live”.

Nitu Jiwani-1

Nitu Jiwnani: “Save Kiran”

By Beena Sarwar

Didi, I want to live,” 16-year old Kiran Soomro in Karachi tells her friend Nitu Jiwnani in Mumbai. “I don’t want to die.”

They are talking on Skype in Sindhi as they often do, since first meeting at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, in May 2013.

Kiran had gone there with her parents to undergo surgery for her congenital heart defect (“hole in the heart”) that should have been operated upon when she was much younger. But her father Sikandar Ali Soomro, a tall, thin matriculate who earns daily wages selling potato wafers at a Karachi roadside stall could not afford the operation. Her parents were resigned to losing Kiran, a weak and sickly child.

But she wouldn’t give up. Pulled out of school when she was in class five, Kiran studied at home. A few years ago, as a spunky teenager, she realised that without the surgery, she would die. Continue reading

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