27. Warning: Glue can tear your soul away

He looked at me with vacant eyes.

His frail figure and hesitant demeanor spoke volumes about his apprehension about being brought to meet me. Under the instructive gaze of his mother he sat tentatively on the edge of the chair closest to me and looked straight in my face. I smiled at him and spoke endearingly, hoping it would relax his cold armor.

Govinda didn’t speak even when spoken to.

At best his unwavering gaze lifted from the floor to meet mine occasionally and most questions addressed to him were answered either by his strikingly jovial younger sibling or his mother. What could have silenced the spirit of this twelve year old, I wondered.

It took great persuasion and seemingly casual conversation

to even make him nod his head to say yes or no. When asked if he was scared, he slowly rotated his neck from left to right, denying his feelings. His mother mentioned that he had been feeling dizzy often, had frequent headaches, was found bunking school, and had fallen prey to bad company. He had also been sniffing something regularly which put him in a drunken stupor and he had seemingly become addicted to it.

As his secrets were slowly spilled, Govinda remained unmoved

and frozen with indifference. It seemed as though he had given up on himself. Nothing mattered anymore and his spirit appeared to be extinguished. It was only after I had thrown all the others out of the room that he began to open up.

Two years ago at age 10 when Govinda was playing ball 051

outside his crowded living quarters, his ball accidentally hit an older boy standing across from him. Though Govinda managed to retrieve that ball, he lost his freedom to him. From that day on, every day after his mother left for work in the nearby colony, Govinda would be beaten by this boy and threatened with dire consequences if he told anyone about it.

Slowly the beatings gave way to a seemingly more

lenient but damaging friendship. Govinda had to meet his acquaintance each day in an old dilapidated building where no one visited and was trained to sniff some solution. At first this made his head go round in dizzy circles but as he became accustomed to it, he started experiencing the high it gave him. Soon he couldn’t stay without it and often stole things from his home and sold them to purchase the solution.

Now he craved the substance and though the acquaintance

had been caught and got rid off, there were two younger boys that he had teamed up with to perform this ritual. He claimed that it wasn’t him who had initiated them but that they were already hooked when he befriended them. Whatever this drug was, it was killing the spirit in him and weakening his vital body.

I used belief change work to help him kick the habit

and negotiated some rules that could help him restore his health and self worth. It was only when I taught him how to do high fives did viagra his face break into a smile. That to me was almost symbolic; it felt as though the dark clouds that had shadowed his life had parted and the first rays of the morning sun were beginning to shine through. I slipped some sweets into his palm and agreed to meet him for his next session a week from then.

As he was about to leave I asked him,

incidentally what is this solution that you have today vowed to give up?

It is an adhesive (chipkane-vala), he replied. We apply it on a cloth and then sniff it till we feel drunk.

Shocked at his innocent disclosure,

I wondered how many little children were unknowingly being torn away from the joys and innocence of childhood, how many parental hopes being shattered by a product supposedly meant to bond things.  I hope that in facilitating his recovery, Govinda’s eyes will once again shine with the sparkle of dreams and the hope of a promising future. And that some day we will all contribute, each in our own little ways to help reclaim the joys that these children, regardless of their social strata, deserve.

The honest truth is that I was unaware

of the ill effects of such products. However on searching the internet I came upon the following information.

The immediate effects of glue sniffing can lead to suffocation and unconsciousness – which could be fatal as the fumes depress the respiratory system and rate of heart Generic cialis cheap beats; also, as one is not in control of one’s senses, one can easily get involved in accidents and injure oneself.

 The hallucinogenic effect generally lasts for about 15 minutes, with a severe headache and a stupor-like condition occurring afterwards, and it may be hours before one can regain full control over one’s faculties. Long-term abuse of the substance results in damage to the kidneys, liver, brain and overall nervous system.

The fumes also have a degenerative effect on the nasal cavity and lining, resulting in discomfort while breathing. Some other related effects are chronic respiratory problems like bronchitis, skin rashes, loss of weight, unstable temperament and diminished levels of concentration.

Source: http://health.blurtit.com/44356/what-are-the-effects-of-glue-sniffing-

To start with, make your homes glue free

and switch to scotch tape where possible. If you must store glue at home, please keep it away from the reach of young children to safeguard their health. And if you do happen to notice your helpers children presenting any of the symptoms listed above, investigate if they are involved in substance abuse and rescue them from the dangerous ill effects.



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