It was a day out of the ordinary for the children at the Dubai Hospital Paediatrics ward. Their normally glum expressions had given way to bright smiles and their laughter reverberated in the clinical surroundings.

By Ilyas Qureshi

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Published: Tue 24 Aug 2004, 2:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:33 AM

One of the main reasons was that the brightest icons of the Dubai Summer Surprises - the mascot of the festival - Modhesh, had emerged from his normally plush surroundings to pay a visit to sick children, some of them terminally ill.

The children were overjoyed no doubts, as the "massive" mascot went around doing small, yet considerate acts of kindness - he wiped away tears from the wet cheeks, shook their hands and gave them gifts. There was magic in the air - as children who has possibly not smiled in months broke the silence of their sedate surroundings with peals of laughter. It was truly an eventful day in the lives of these children and for their parents. One Indian lady, whose child has been suffering from a debilitating kidney problem since birth, said Modhesh has managed to bring the smile back on the face of her child who often showed signs of irritation. He came in like an angel and left his mark behind.

Modhesh was his usual self while going through different levels visiting the ENT, Ortho, Nephrology etc. sections and made it a point to meet each and every young patient on his way, presenting the goody bag carried by the hospital staff in their large trolleys.

Last Monday, Modhesh visited the Paediatric Department at Rashid Hospital in the morning. The first patient he met was two-year-old Abdul Rahman who had sustained a head injury in a road accident two weeks ago. According to staff nurse, Ambika, the young boy was suffering from a temporary loss of speech. So, do they get some kind souls like Modhesh coming in to entertain the kids? The reply is a straight no. "You know the hospital is a place no one wants to go to unless you have an immediate kin admitted in. So Modhesh coming over to cheer up the children is a pleasant surprise not only to the young patients but to the staff too."

Zeina Akl, a Lebanese mother who carried her six months old daughter Meera, stepped out to greet Modhesh. The little bundle of joy in her arms jumped onto the goody bag and tried to grab it from the mascot who willingly obliged. Meera had a head tumour operation and was covered in bandages, but has not lost her exuberance. Modhesh was inspiration enough for her to cheer up.

Another mother came forward to express her views. "You know when my child's brothers and sisters came in and told him about the DSS activities, especially the gifts and prizes, he kept quite because he knew that he is confined to the hospital bed and would not be able to go out to enjoy. When he saw Modhesh coming in with the gift pack he had tears in his eyes. I knew he couldn't express his thanks but this visit has made a big difference in his life. It took him out of this feeling of deprivation. I must say that Dubai has its unique way of doing things - going that extra mile to make everyone happy," she said.

Essa Malek, member of the Colour Surprises committee pitches in. "What she said is right. People presume a hospital to be a very boring place. Something, which is full of pain and sad, faces. But we want to break that jinx and who else can do that better than the ever smiling Modhesh who brings smiles to the faces of the young and old alike."

Earlier, while launching the Colour Surprises Week, Khalid Ahmed Shaikh Al Mubarak, acting director general, DOHMS, has predicted that the final week will be a visual treat that will create everlasting memories for residents and visitors. So far in the middle of the week, his prediction is proving right.

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