Shireen an eleven month old infant born with bilateral cleft lip somewhere in the deep icy, most harsh, treacherous terrain of India . Yes you guessed it right, nearby Siachen Glacier, even where eagles dare to fly. The spine chilling temperature of -20 to -30 degree centigrades gives one a shiver down the spine by just fathoming in what kind of adverse conditions do these people live .
But the determination of her grandfather, a war veteran of Kargil war (ceremoniously awarded by Mr Vajpaae), knew no limitations or adversaries as he had to walk for 20 kilometers on frozen lake along with his whole family so that they could reach leh and catch a flight run by Indian air force to Chandigarh (no doubt the waiting time for that flight is too long as it is subsidized!!!!!!!)
Infact it was an honour for us to have them here at Tricity institute of plastic surgery ( TIPS ), a leading centre for cleft lip and cleft palate surgery. After listening to their gruesome and mind boggling journey we left no stone unturned to operate the child as early as possible because they had a window period of one week only. The subsidized flight was to leave after 1 week and had they missed it, their turn would have come after a month!!!!!!
After the cleft surgery, when her grandfather saw Shireens face- he pulled out his badge of honour and presented it to us, it was such an emotional and overwhelming moment that it is difficult to express in words .
Nevertheless after getting the surgery for cleft, they caught the flight back home on time and left us with some memories and stories which we would continue to cherish for the rest of our lives.