India's ‘youngest pilot' Chandan is in pain. In advanced stages of cancer, the 14-year-old little fighter has not eaten anything for the past five days. He weighs just over 17 kgs now.
Unable to bear the pain, Chandan was moaning when this Correspondent spoke to his father Girish Mandal (39) over the phone from Delhi.
"He smiles at us and I know my son won't give up his fight. He had told me that through our prayers he will spring back to life," says Girish. [OneIndia's special report on Chandan and his dream]
Doctors give up hopes
Chandan's doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi have given up their hopes completely.
He has stopped responding to the medicines. He is not able to get out of the bed even for a minute. Every four hours he is given heavy dose (40 mg) of morphine tablets, a pain killer, as suggested by his doctors.
"Now there's a large tumour on his head. Cancer has spread all over his body. The size of the tumour on the head is increasing rapidly. He cannot move an inch from the bed now," says Gopal, who lives in Badarpur in Delhi.
"Right now we need to pray for this little boy. He is such a strong fighter and we are all worried as he has stopped eating as well," says Rahul Verma, founder of Uday Foundation.
The Foundation has been selflessly supporting Chandan and his family for the last many years.
As reported by OneIndia earlier, Chandan was a studious child and his father Girish ran a small-time business in Smasthipur district of Bihar. The family moved to New Delhi for Chandan's treatment at AIIMS.
IAF's gesture had lifted his spirits
In November last, the Indian Air Force (IAF) fulfilled Chandan's biggest dream of becoming a ‘fighter pilot.' On the eve of Children's Day, Chandan ‘earned' his wings.
He was taken to an air base and made to sit in a fighter plane. He flew short missions on a simulator as well.
Chandan's story had moved IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who met the boy along with his father.
His plane model yet to land
However, Chandan's wish of having a plane model still remains unfulfilled. His father says Chandan did ask him whether he could arrange for a small plane model. His mother hasn't been told about the seriousness of Chandan's illness yet. Nor, Chandan is aware that probably he is fighting a losing battle.
"Only a miracle can save him. Only through the power of prayers. I have never seen boy with so much of fighting spirit. He wants all of us to pray for him now," says Rahul.
Uday Foundation (on Sri Aurobindo Marg) is conducting a prayer meeting on Monday, February 2 (at 4 pm) for Chandan's speedy recovery.
[The photos used in this report are copyrighted property of Uday Foundation. They are being published with permission]
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake)