Every teenage guy or gal has atleast once in their lives exclaimed this. Be it to go on an excursion with friends or even if it was to convince that we've grown up to make our own decisions, all of us have done it. Last night I heard my cousin say that to my aunt and it reminded me of the first time I had said so but I'm glad it was for a noble cause....yeah 'noble' is what I'd call that for I'm sure you would agree with me soon.
I had completed my first fortnight at college and hostel too. My confidence levels were on a high because I was leading a so-called independent life away from home. College seemed to be fun until I went beyond the confines of my classroom since the rest of the premises were full of the most dreaded seniors.
It was yet another lecture-packed weekday when someone interrupted our physics class. A senior had some announcement to make so he started off and everyone listened to him curiously. He told us that the NSS was organizing a blood donation camp in our college. Interested candidates were supposed to give in their names to him. After he had read through the notice, he enquired if anyone was willing. A few hands shot up from different corners of the class. I looked around and was perplexed to see that it was only guys who were coming forth for the camp. All the while he noted down the names, I kept wondering if I had overheard some detail that was to do with female candidates' eligibility. After he had finished, he confirmed whether he had left out any by chance and hesitatingly I stood up. To avoid being laughed at by folks, I waited for him to come a little closer to my place and then softly I enquired if gals could participate. He grinned and then spoke aloud- "Ofcourse you can! Your good name please?" . Aah! that was some relief. I got my name entered and then relaxed back on my seat. Suddenly someone pinched me on my shoulder. I turned around and to my surprise there were those amazed looks on the other gals' faces. One of them interrogated - "Won't you ask your parents before doing that ?".I simply replied back - "Yes definitely ! but I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem with that". The whole day I waited for college to end so that I could talk over to my parents about the upcoming blood donation camp. I was thrilled about it and thought that even my parents would be proud of me when I'd convey the news. It might sound a bit crazy on my part but that was something I had waited for from the very day my mom told me that she had once donated blood during college. Not that I had affinity with clinical stuff but the very thought of making that big a donation in life was exhilarating.
I got back to my hostel and quickly reached for my cellphone. The ringing phone was never so irritating to me. Finally, I heard my mother's voice and conveyed the days' happenings to her excitedly. I paused and waited for a response. My mother queried me as to who had brought the notice, when and where was it to be organized, who was doing it etc. and I promptly furnished the information to her. Then like a very obedient child, I humbly asked for her permission....umm yes 'permission', I have always been in a habit to do so even for the very obvious things; I've done it for my own good and ofcourse to satiate them. Then I heard something I could not initially believe. I confirmed - "Mama did you say NOOOO ? " and there came a list of innumerous reasons which I was most unwilling to hear. I was disappointed and angry to quite an extent. The consequence, which you would have very well guessed by now was 'The Statement'. I almost yelled out the words - " I'm no more a school kid Mama ! ". My mom did not argue further and warned me that I'd still have to obey whatever they decide after Dad is back from work at night. I was almost furious but did not dare to speak more for I had already crossed the line today. With hardly any options, I waited for my Dad's call till late at night. After a long discussion over all sorts of risk factors involved, we settled in for something reasonable.My dad told me that I would be allowed to participate only if I assured about appropriate arrangements in the camp before venturing in. Qualified doctors, sterilized needles, hygienic environs, so on and so forth. There were some other precautions and advices that I better follow on that day to keep all hale and hearty. I agreed almost instantly for what mattered to me more was that act of bravado I'd be undertaking.
After a two days' wait, it was time to prepare for the day. I was forced to buy those instant energy biscuits, carry some extra water bottle, stuff in an overly nutritious meal and then move on to college. Things appeared normal for the rest of the people around me but I was heading for something exceptional. I waited in my class for someone to come and call for the donors. My eyes constantly fixed at the door even while the lecture was on. A couple of hours passed by and some dispiriting thoughts started striking my head. I tried to keep myself busy with work although the wait seemed ages long to me. To my rescue, finally someone knocked at the door. Hopes went high and the next moment I was packing my belongings and headed a queue of people being taken to the camp in the basement of the building. We made our grand entry into the basement where the scene was more like some government hospital. Nurses and ward boys pacing up from one room to the other. The classroom benches had been replaced by beds and the whole place was reeking of the typical anti-septic smell. We were seated in a room at the far end to wait for our turns as already there were seniors in huge numbers lining up to occupy beds. A little while later some seniors got into our room. I was pretty scared as there were only a handful of first year gals around and all strangers to me. Soon I saw one of the seniors marching towards me. Fortunately, his only motive was to enquire if I was scared about all that needle and blood thing that I would face. I smiled back telling him how least worried I was about the pain. It was only then that realization dawned on me of the various investigations I had promised to make. Moments later that very guy escorted me to the room where all the formalities were going on. I started my scrutiny right from the moment I got in. There were sealed needle n bag sets, doctors seemed to be decently sophisticated, everything appeared to be in place and I assured myself that I had taken all the necessary precautions and it was time to move ahead.
The examination began and an attendant signaled me to take my position on the weighing machine. He told me that there was a minimum limit of 45 kgs for one to be a donor. May be I looked undernourished[:P] but to his surprise I was comfortably above the lower bounds. Soon, I was queried about my Name, year of study and 'Age'. I responded '17' for the latter and there he stopped short at me. He said - "Sorry ! you should be atleast 18 to donate blood". After all those retaliations at home I never thought of this being a reason of my disqualification. I told him I'd soon be turning 18 but he would not let me proceed. On seeing the disappointment on my face he called for a senior doctor. There was this huge lady sitting right in the center of the room. He told me to go and have a word with her. I explained my situation to her but she denied. I pushed on saying that I would not really grow older in a week for it was my 18th birthday six days later. On hearing that or maybe realizing how eager I was, atlast she agreed.
A nurse took hold and found a vacant bed for me. I was made to lie down and then she brought the needle set and carefully unpacked it. She glanced at me before piercing it into my wrist. I'm sure she saw no signs of fear on my face but still as is advisory, she told me to turn my face aside. I calmly lay there for some fifteen-twenty minutes, noticing streams of my blood gushing into the bottle hanging right above me. Every time a staff member came in to monitor the level in the bottle, they'd smile at me and I grinned back. It was a bit painful but I was cherishing it in my own sweet ways. Time passed by and the
nurse returned to take off the needle. She told me to rest a little while on the bed before leaving. Taking out some 250-300 milli litres of blood enervates individuals for some time. I got up and sat at the extreme end of the bed. The nurse was busy preparing things for the next candidate who had already occupied my place on the bed. A few moments later I experienced a wave of dizziness. I thought maybe it's the instantaneous weakness so I sat still. Just the next moment I opened my eyes and found myself surrounded by four or five of those doctors, a couple of nurses and a few seniors. I was lying on a bed at some other corner of the room with my legs uplifted on some support and someone rushed in with a glass of water. It was then I realized that I had fallen unconscious for some time. The huge lady came in and asked - "How do you feel dear ? " and I smiled sheepishly and she continued..."I warned you not to go ahead, there's still time for you to be 18". I again responded with a smile – the best escapade for a situation like this .Soon after, I walked out of that room with a couple of people around to make sure I don’t collapse on the way. Gradually I felt better and moved out to catch my college bus.
I had made an achievement and no one else could understand the reason of my joy that day. Even when I went to bed at night, I had no regrets of being unconscious and I couldn't even feel the pain that the clot on my hand gave. The happiness of having contributed some part of myself for someone I do not know and would never get to know was far greater. I hope I'll find more such occasions in life to be proud of my “ I’m no more a school kid Mama ! “ acts.