Unlike others, we did not get an opportunity to rejoice the birth of our child. I lost my wife when Tithi was born. I thought my baby would help me deal with this loss, however, when I first saw her, I lost all hope, because Tithi was born with a cleft. Although I knew about the deformity and that this could be cured, I was shattered as I had never imagined this would happen to us.
My mother was very supportive, but we had a tough time raising Tithi. Apart from the emotional trauma we had to face, our baby’s condition led to financial problems as well. We consulted a local doctor about the treatment. I know I couldn’t afford it, but being a father, I continued my search for other alternatives to gift my child a new smile.
When I had begun to lose hope, one of our neighbours informed us that Anandaloke Hospital in Siliguri, provides free cleft reconstructive surgeries under the Smile Train program. That was the best news I had heard in a long time and that was the first time, in months, that I had smiled.
Though a little anxious, I was confident that my child would receive the best treatment possible at the centre, as I had received positive feedback from my neighbours. And it turned out to be true. When I saw Tithi after the surgery, it was like everything fell into place. After the surgery, Tithi is a transformed person. I only wished my wife had had a chance to look at our baby and her beautiful new smile.
Today, when I see Tithi, I see a reflection of my wife in her. Now, I’m relieved and assured that my daughter has a bright future ahead of her.
As told to the Smile Train India team by Tapan Barman, Tithi’s father. Tithi received a cleft repair surgery at partner Anandaloke Hospital and Neuroscience Centre, Siliguri.