In Memory of Nihal Bitla

One lovely day you were born
And our house became a home
All the grayness departed
Left were only bright colors of happiness
and pleasant chimes
Some days passed
Your skin became a little drier and flaky
We thought it was a skin infection
We were thrilled to see your little ivory teeth
They were like pearls
But we witnessed
The petal soft pink lips of yours
Turned into brown
And the baby glow was nowhere to see
Your teeth fell one by one
Till you reached age four
The doctor said you suffered with Progeria
It was a new name for us
How can a child grow
eight times faster than the normal ones?
They said one in four million people
suffered with this deadly desease
We sent you to school concerning your future
What happened there in your school?
Often we collected diamonds of your tears
From here and there
When you were teased and bullied
And called an old man by the kids
You filled a pitcher with diamonds while
We filled many
You hid your tears from us
And we concealed ours from you
The wrinkles of your face increased day by day
And our heart beats as well
Your wrinkled body couldn’t wither your lively heart
You talked of robots, Lamborghini and Amir Khan
Once the movie named ‘Paa’ released
And children told you
that you would also die of heart attack
Doctors told us such children live for thirteen years
We were shocked
Each moment started passing faster
Your bones weakened and your lungs exhausted
Still you didn’t decline
to be a part of progeria awareness campaign
Just to help other children like you
How happy we were to see you excited
When you met Amir and captured some selfies!
Your heart was overflowing with joy
We wished those moments to stop
So that we could store that happiness
And replace our pitchers of tears with those of joy
Alas! The moments flew with light’s speed
You heart burned and divorced you
You turned ninety at age fifteen
An old man died In his adolescence…what an irony!
Your photo is there in a frame
People will keep asking
Who this old man is in the pic?
We will keep telling it was our young boy
Whom old age mistakenly embraced and adopted….

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , on by .

About aashi

Aashi Husain alias Fatima Afshan is a teacher by profession. She lives in India. Several of her poems have been published in anthologies like 'The Aquillrelle Wall of poetry book five and six', 'Umbilical Chords', 'The Divine Madness', The Dawn Beyond Waste', Colours of Refuge' etc.Apart from poetry, she likes to write short stories and articles too. She writes in Hindi, and Urdu languages also.

6 thoughts on “In Memory of Nihal Bitla

  1. VijayNair

    The finest poem I have read this month–deeply touching,heart-warming, and based on what really happened.Fatima deserves all praise for tackling a sensitive theme with great empathy.Well done !

  2. Louis Kasatkin

    Editorial Footnote for the benefit of the general reader :-

    A Mumbai teenager who had been suffering from a rare genetic disease that causes the body to age eight times faster than normal has died.
    Fifteen-year-old Nihal Bitla was the face of India’s awareness campaign against progeria.
    Bitla made headlines while trying to locate 60 other Indian progeria sufferers to participate in a clinical trial in Boston with him.
    He ran an active social media campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

  3. ramesh rai

    Progeria is a life killing disease for which board awareness is required. When the people will shout against this giant it will certainly run away. This is a good attempt of the Hon’ble Poetess to kill the progeria.


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