A story that happened in the city of Kuibyshev could be compared to a fairy tale of the sleeping beauty. Unlike in the fairy tale, in this story the sleeping beauty is still sleeping, for the past nine years.
Her friends last saw this girl when she was completing her fourth year of studies at a teachers’ college. Now her classmates are all grownups who have long ago exchanged their school desks for office tables. Masha Rashalova (the last name is changed) is remembered as virtually a child.
It is easy to tell how the girl is by her looks . In her high school pictures Masha looks like a child. You could never tell that the girls next to her are the same age.
Her college friends say that Masha did well in all of her classes, and her choice of math was accidental and had no reasoning behind it.
Masha’s friends do not remember her going out to cafes and clubs. She was not engaged in belly dancing, fitness or beading.
The only establishment she frequented was a library. She loved books, but in moderation.
Yet, she was always afraid of exams, despite the fact that she was always well prepared. During her last physics exam she did well, as usually, but after the exam she disappeared.
“We were told Masha was sick and most likely won’t study with us any longer, “ told Olga Batluk, Masha’s friend.
It turned out that after the exam Masha came home and “fell asleep.”
Her condition is officially called a “vegetal state.” It means that the part of her brain responsible for information processing was “turned off.” Such people are not conscious, but not in a coma either.
In college Maria was given an academic leave of absence. With time, her friends stopped asking about her and many forgot that she existed at all.
Masha’s mom is a medical professional and has been helping patients of her small city for over 10 years. Her daughter is the only one she is not able to help.
“They are called 'vegetables',” she said. “But I know that this is not true, I know she hears and understands everything. It’s been so long, we asked so many doctors for help, but there is nothing they can do. She has to wake up on her own, her body has to fight.”
A similar story happed in the city of Saransk. In 2000, also during exams, another girl named Masha fell asleep on the day of an exam. It was two days after she turned 18.
She is still sleeping. No one knows how long it will last. The family is hoping for a miracle, and doctors remain helpless.