Ask Lakshmi where are her extra legs and hands and the two-year-old gives a bright smile. She gestures with her hands indicating they are ‘gone’.
Dressed in red top and white shorts, Lakshmi Tatma enjoys her cookies as she sits comfortably on her father’s lap. Born with four hands and four legs, she was separated from her ‘parasitic twin’ in a 27-hour-long surgery by 30 doctors. Lakshmi, who could have landed up in a circus in Delhi, took a flight to Jodhpur to join the Sucheta Kripalani Siksha Niketan (SKSN), an institute for rehabilitation of the physically challenged.
"I will educate her to the best of my abilities. Who knows she might become a doctor or an engineer tomorrow," says Shambhu, her father, who’s a daily wage worker from Araria, Bihar.
A relieved Shambhu, his wife Poonam and their children, Mithilesh and Lakshmi, performed a ‘thanksgiving’ puja at a Lakshmi temple on Saturday before leaving Bangalore. "We had prayed for our daughter’s recovery. Now that we are leaving the city with good memories, we wanted to thank god," says Shambhu.
The couple will build a small Lakshmi temple in their daughter’s name in Bihar. "I always believed my daughter would be fine, though many thought it as an impossible feat. Now, I want to tell all that miracles do happen," adds Shambhu.
Doctors said Lakshmi needs to exercise and have foot massages regularly till her next trip to the hospital in March 2008.