“Uncle it will be good if we can take him to a doctor”, Subhash Das suggested carefully without trying to create a panic.
“The only person who practices here is not a qualified medical doctor. People go to him for loose motion but come back with constipation. I cannot trust him even if I have a thorn stuck under my foot, how can I allow him to treat my son”, Mr. Sur finished his statement without even stopping for a brief moment.
“Uncle we can take him to the hospital. It is little more than two kilometers, in a bicycle it should not take more than half an hour to reach”, Subhash Das sounded little hopeful.
“After six in the evening no doctor and nurse could be seen in the hospital. Only janitors will be available after evening hours and how they would be able to help us”, Mr. Sur did not find any assurance from Subhash Das’ idea.
“Let me see his nose again”, Subhash Das started reexamining Ravi’s nose. Looking at the examiner’s mouth, which was more widely open and his nose, which was squeezed even more than during his last examination, anybody would be convinced that he was seriously looking for a solution.
“Are you feeling pain, Ravi”, Subhash Das asked. Ravi could not speak but he moved his head once up-down and then sideways and nobody could understand whether it was for ‘yes’ or for ‘no’ but the look of his face and tears in his eyes made everybody realize that he was frightened.
“Uncle I think the smell of the naphthalene vapor which he is inhaling is bothering him more than the obstruction caused by its size”, Subhash Das suggested to Mr. Sur. Mr. Sur remained silent.
Subhash Das again turned his head to the child. “Ravi, look at me very carefully and breathe exactly the way I will breath. Take air through your mouth and throw the air out through your nose.” He started demonstrating in front of the child. After few trials Ravi was able to breathe in through his mouth and breathe out through one of the nostril which was partly open. Soon afterward the child looked less frightened and stopped crying. “Are you feeling any better”, when Subhash Das asked him he nodded his head and also said ‘yes’.
“Subhash, is breathing through mouth could be bad for him?” Mrs. Sur asked in a very polite manner. She was looking somewhat happy to see that her child was not crying any more.
“You are right aunty. We should not breathe in through mouth. But if Ravi breathes in through nose he will inhale lot of naphthalene vapor because naphthalene is volatile and it also has a strong smell which will make him feel very uncomfortable. There is no smoke and dust here so even if he breathes in through mouth for a while it would not cause him any harm. And while he is not in pain we can all think how to bring the naphthalene ball out.” Everyone present was convinced by Subhash Das’ reasoning. Many people started praising him for his intelligent thinking and being able to help.
Subhash Das again looked very thoughtful. Everybody realized that only he would be able to help. So suddenly he became the center of attention. He was heard talking to himself in a low voice:
“It is the second member of aromatic hydrocarbon. It formula is ‘C’-10 ‘H’-8,.naphthalene is highly volatile, highly combustible solid, its molecular weight is 12 times 10 plus 8 which is equal to 128……. ……..”
“What are you whispering, Subhash”, suddenly somebody spoke out from the crowd. Everybody looked at the gentleman, named Anil Biswas, a medium built person who could be in his mid-fifties.
“Uncle I was trying to recollect the physical properties of naphthalene. I have to find out which of the physical properties I could exploit to bring the ball out of the child’s nose.” When Subhash Das explained his thought to Mr. Biswas everybody present started nodding their head with great admiration for Subhas Das’ wisdom. Even though the white ball was showing no sign of coming out but Subhash Das had already reached the hall of fame.
“Subhash I am glad that even though you are not a science graduate but still you know so much about science. You really surprised me today”, Mr. Biswas commented wryly.
Suddenly everyone fell silent. Subhash Das looked visibly disturbed and he started searching for someone in the crowd. A young man came forward and stood in front of him.
[to be continued ……]