Discarded by doctors, saved by angels: Italian couple’s Kashmiri son

Muzaffar and Masimo during a morning walk. [Photo: Special Arrangement.]

The Italian couple did what some big heart specialists of the valley couldn’t do.

On the deck of the Queen of Mountain anchored in the ‘festive’ Dal Lake, Muzaffar Gasoo, 36, comes across as a native-foreigner. Born in Kashmir and bought up overseas, his breed has bewildered looks, often wondering about the changing course of water in their homeland. But this chic young man is doing less of introspection and more of examination of the story that caters to his community and rarely comes out.

He was too young to play a protagonist of one such story as a 10-year-old. His doomed diagnosis had devoured his normal childhood upbringing prompting his parents to make endless rounds of OPDs and clinics. 

But the desperation to ward-off their child’s “untreatable” coronary disease gave them endless nights, sobs and sorrow. Even big heart specialists proved of no help. This medical helplessness was breaking the spirit of late Habib-Ullah Gosani’s family. 

In that despairing moment, as the child’s parents were badly seeking intervention of the healer residing in heavens, there came two “angels” to live with them.

It was the time when strife-sparked advisories were curtailing the foreign tourist footfall in the valley. Yet, that year, in 1997, an Italian couple on visit to Kashmir stayed with the family. 

“Their arrival was the defining moment in my life,” says Muzaffar, now a grown-up man with suave and salt-and-pepper appearance. “They revived our hopes.”

Muzaffar’s childhood picture. [Photo: Special Arrangement.]

That Italian couple of Massimo and Patricia were staying with Muzaffar’s family houseboat called Queen of Mountain. One day while having lunch, they heard the child’s agonized cries. His grandfather informed the guests about his condition and they felt terrible. 

Then Massimo sought the medical reports and went outside. When he returned to the deck, he informed Muzaffar’s grandfather that he faxed his ailing grandson’s reports to his cousin doctor back in Italy. 

The next day, Massimo received the reply from Italy. Dr. Luisa, his cousin, had termed Muzaffar’s condition “absolutely treatable”.

When the news broke out, the houseboat came out of the long despair. The Italian couple did what some big heart specialists of the valley couldn’t do. They even decided to take Muzaffar with them to Italy for his treatment without charging a penny from the houseboat owners. “We’re doing it for our own son,” they would say.

Muzaffar with Patricia. [Photo: Special Arrangement.]

Years later, Muzaffar on his family deck terms the couple’s intervention as a miracle for his life. 

“Everybody was grateful to them,” he says. “They were very kind-hearted individuals. They even let my grandfather know that since I couldn’t communicate in English or Italian, there ought to be somebody to go with me, so I won’t feel alone. They took my sibling with us and treated both of us as their own sons.” 

Massimo soon booked tickets and took the boy to Italy for a lifesaving treatment. 

“My family was very happy and sad at the same time as both of their children were going away,” Muzaffar recalls. “But they had a full trust on the couple.”

In Italy, the couple’s family treated the Kashmiri boys pleasantly. They made them feel home and took care of them like guardians. 

Muzaffar was shortly taken to Dr. Luisa’s clinic—where she suggested that his Kashmiri parents should be called for the aortic-substitution treatment. 

Massimo quietly booked ticket and brought the boy’s father to Italy. “Dr. Luisa was a capable specialist and a very kind person,” Muzaffar recalls. “She suggested replacement of my troubled aortic valve with artificial one in my first medical procedure itself.”

Muzaffar with Patricia and Dr. Luisa’s sister. [Photo: Special Arrangement.]

Following the first three months of his medical examination, doctors permitted Muzaffar to travel and return to Kashmir. He arrived with his Italian family and received a rousing reception at the airport. 

“I saw my mom embracing me with tears of joy rolling down her cheeks,” he recalls. “She was simply expressing gratitude toward Allah and the two angles who were my life saviors.”

Till his eight standard, Muzaffar would visit Italy once in a year for checkup. But after that, the couple took him back to Italy along with his cousin. They wanted to continue his treatment there. 

“We left for Italy in 2001 when my second surgery was done,” he says. “I settled with the couple and continued my studies there.”

His 5-years professional course in baking beverage was funded by the couple. They even offered him their private business. 

“They didn’t want me to suffer and endure,” Muzaffar says, “so they advised me to join their business.”

Muzaffar with Patricia. [Photo: Special Arrangement.]

Muzaffar is now settled in Italy and feels home there. He often visits his homeland to spend some time with his family. But he often returns to be with his angels. 

“They give me a lot of adoration and affection,” Muzaffar says. “They’ve a child named Issaq, but they never discriminate between us. They saved my life and filled my existence with wellbeing and happiness. They’re the reason why I am alive today.”

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