Tag Archives: mother

Rainy Night

On a rainy night, by the window,
I sit with steaming coffee on a tray.
Though the world is dark, right now,
I seem to always like it this way.

The drumming of drops on the windowsill;
Far away, some frogs croak.
Mom asks me to close the window,
Dad is busy having a smoke.

Inside the house, it is even darker.
Nothing, but a solitary candle.
As I walk away from the sill, I get
hurt by the cupboard handle.

I sit down on the floor and scoff,
My beloved rain is away.
Then, a sudden bolt of lightning
makes a bright, momentary day.

My eyes shine as I see the flash,
then I hear the loud roll of thunder.
While everyone is clearly startled,
my lack of fear makes me wonder.

All the house-flies that seek refuge
from the rain, buzz inside the house.
My memories have flown inside, too,
Oh! The nostalgia they arouse!

Droplets to drops; drops to puddles;
Puddles to rivulets; rivulets to streams.
Senses to thoughts, thoughts to visions;
Visions to imagination; imagination to dreams.

I wake up with a start, I find
the rainy night is gone.
Though this day started hours ago,
of my contemplation, it’s only the dawn.

An Account Of My “Minor” Surgery

It is not too difficult to get jitters imagining being in a hospital. The smell of spirit, the never-ending white walls, the medicines, shrewd nurses and of course, doctors who always tell you what to do and what not to do. When I was admitted to the JJ hospital for my Laproscopic Appendectomy (swell name, eh? It is a method to remove an inflamed appendix, for those who don’t know), my fear was quite evident, too. Who wouldn’t be scared? It was the General Male Surgical Ward: The prospect of being surrounded by men with amputated limbs and diabetic feet was enough to demoralize me! Although I wouldn’t be going through all what the other patients were, it was the first time I was admitted to a hospital. So my fear was understandable. Dr. Abhishek, a newbie in the ward, was given my responsibility. He had to visit me around 5 times a day. And often, the poor fellow had to wait, as I would be busy gorging on the roadside food below the hospital building or simply roaming around. I wasn’t sorry for it at all – Hospital food is never something that I consider worth relishing. Also, I did not like to wear the patient uniform provided to me. I would wear the same clothes that I normally would at home and shockingly, no one objected.

Dr. Abhishek, I must say, was a very nice man, but often appeared too stressed. Dealing with so many patients was not an easy task, that too while working in rotating shifts. Plus he was about to get married, so I could understand his plight, and how he must have felt constantly switching lives. It is ironic how someone who is supposed to provide comfort, can be at discomfort.

Relatives would have to wait for me, too. In one such instance, I had gone to the barber for a shave (Yes, I did that!) and ended up meeting them while they were leaving the hospital building. Apparently, they were trying to locate me for half an hour. After a couple of days of my stay, even the hospital staff knew that my medicine had to be kept at the table if I wasnt there. Although I feel ashamed of it now, I enjoyed every bit of this ‘special’ treatment back then. I hated the medicines, though. I would crib like a little child at the sight of tablets and capsules! “We can’t always inject medicines, right? Your body will then get so used to injections that oral medicines will have no effect. When you grow old and have to have medicines because your veins will be too hard to find, what will you do?”, Dr. Abhishek would rejoinder. Doctors always have their way, somehow, and he seemed to prefer the softer form of intimidation.

As a few days passed, I began to get used to the place and the people. I would talk and try to motivate patients with really extreme injuries, most of which had resulted in amputations. It was painful to see their agony, as much as it was difficult to understand the exact extent of their courage. I clearly remember walking towards my cot from the loo, and finding a man (probably in his sixties) weeping, as the doctor clawed the deep, wide wound on the sole of one of his feet. When he realized that I was watching all this, he smiled at me with tears still in his eyes. I saluted the man with a silent smile, too.

Such incidents gave me much-needed courage for my surgery, although I must say, I was not very scared of it. I trusted the doctors, many of whom performed multiple surgeries every Wednesday and Friday. Needless to say, there was always a long queue of patients wearing the same bottle green clothes, complete with a bottle green skull-cap. I got a chance to try this attire on a Friday. It was also the day when I came to know that ‘Laproscopic Appendectomy’ meant they would put a camera inside me through an incision. I was told that it was a safer option than the conventional method of opening the side of the patient’s torso. This added more to my already-brimming stock of self-assurance.

The doctors were literally on a surgery spree that day. After all, patients had to wait for an entire week for one of these two days. By the time it was my turn, it was afternoon and I was already famished. They had prevented me to eat anything since the previous night (which is good, or they would have discovered that I ate outside food). I walked inside the operation theater alone. Here too, the walls were white and the entire room was well-lit and extremely clean. And then, I saw the operation table. It was not very wide and just about the length of my body. I wondered where I would be resting my arms. My imagination conjured images of corpses with their hands resting on their stomachs, and kept inside coffins about the same size as operation tables. It was the time of my life when I would do some act of cleanliness to ward of my nervousness. I can say I began to get really nervous, because I was washing my hands (arms, rather) all the way up to my elbows, without the slightest clue why. I could hear my bravado draining. Hell, I must have pissed tens of times in my mind! This feeling of mental incontinence was overwhelming.

“What are you doing there?”, said a voice from behind my back. I turned around to see a group of doctors standing before me. “Just washing my hands… I thought since this is a surgery, I should be clean… Am I right?”, I responded. “Mr. Shamsi,” said an old female doctor in a motherly voice “We are performing your surgery, not the other way around. Any way, you are too clean already.” They all laughed and I followed suit, but halfheartedly. I know what she was talking about.

Earlier that morning, I was given a shave from my chest, all the way down to my knees. The process, which I consider too shameful to speak in-detail, was appalling at best. I was happy with the end result, though. At least chances of infection would be slimmer, I thought. But the happiness was short-lived: They sprayed a solution on me (read: my shaved area) which, they said, would form an anti-bacterial coating. It also turned out to be the time I screamed my loudest in a medical facility. I feel it would be futile to make my readers understand how painful it was – I just cannot explain it!

My doctors asked me to lie down on the table. I did so, with my panic seeping out at places. I asked that motherly voiced lady about what would they do to me during the surgery.

“Nothing. We will just put you to sleep.”

“You mean you will inject something that will cause my Serotonin levels to go up? And how will I wake up? And will you be putting THAT camera inside my stomach?”

“Just relax and… why are your palms sweating?”, she said while injecting something.

“Oh, that is just the water I couldn’t wipe.”

operating room

When I opened my eyes some hours later, the light bedazzled me. I must have died and reached heaven, I thought. It did not take me much time to figure that the room was too well-lit for my liking. I was still half-asleep. A guy in bottle green-clothes walked up to me and showed me a little glass jar. It contained my inflamed appendix, and it looked absolutely horrific, as far as I can recollect. I realized it was Dr. Abhishek, and my eyes closed. When I regained consciousness again, I was no longer in the operation theater. But wherever I was, I was not alone. I could hear people moaning in pain, myself included. I tried to lift my head, and realized that I could not do it; not without having to experience more pain, at least. My hands were positioned exactly where I had imagined on the corpse, but they could move, which was relieving. I lifted the sheet that covered me to see the extent and number of incisions. The sight was shocking. I could not believe what I was seeing. I was aghast at how incapable my doctors had proven themselves.

“Where the hell are my clothes?!”

These were the first words to come out of my mouth after my surgery, and sadly, they were addressed to myself. I could not speak properly, may be because they had inserted tubes through my mouth. I was disgruntled. Which idiot wearing only a hospital shirt, after a painful surgery, won’t be? The night brought even more pain, as the effect of anesthesia faded. The only thing that helped me cope up with this pain was the presence of my mother, who sat beside me throughout the night and kept saying that everything would be alright. I was discharged two days later, as my surgery was “minor.” I thought otherwise but didn’t really care a bit about the term, perhaps because I was too busy bidding farewell to my fellow patients and wishing them speedy recovery. Most importantly, I was just happy to be heading home.

Image courtesy: dlflowtech.com

Death of the Dilemma

Should I go, or should I not?”

It must have been one of the rare times in the history of humanity that a person was confused between entering a building and climbing up to the third floor, or not. Most people need just the first step to convince themselves. I needed three floors. For precisely 7 minutes, I stood there and kept tackling my thought. I would not let go. My eyes remained fixed on the third floor window all the while. I turned around and left the compound. I could not take myself building so much suspense for me. “No big deal! I haven’t been there for over a year. Doesn’t matter if I did not go there today”, I explained to myself while on the way in an auto rickshaw. My other self kept quiet. My phone rang. It was Mom, who said that I had to collect some jewelry from an aunt and deliver it to another aunt in Amrut Nagar.

“Amrut Nagar?”, I confirmed and mother responded in the affirmative. I was returning from the same location. It was the same place where I stood under that building, lost in confusion. In no time, I was going back there, a box-ful of ornaments in my hand. “Sometimes, all you need is a sign”, my other self gave back a long-pending reply. Quickly, I delivered the box to my aunt and looked at the remnants of my deliberation about my visit to an old friend’s house.

When I say ‘friend’s house’, it would hardly appear to be a matter to be so perplexed about. But it DID matter to me. I had not been there for more than a year and five months (Yes, I kept a track of the time). All this time I had avoided that place as much as I could. There had been many such moments when I had stood and stared at the third-floor window, wondering if I should go upstairs and meet my second family (I would call them this). Every time I would return, just explaining to myself some way or the other. And all this was for a reason.

It is said that people with true friends are lucky. While I don’t really doubt this saying, I believe that there is hardly a person as fortunate as the one who is also loved by his/her friend’s family as one of their own. My friend’s family loved me dearly, and I realized my superior luck very soon. It was only a matter of time when they were my mother, my father, my brother and my sister. The only wrong thing that they did was they lived right next to my ex-girlfriend’s house. When I was planning to marry her, my second family tried to help me. In return, they were banished by their own neighbors. And then, they banished me. The only thing more painful was that they never said it to me by themselves. It was a long day, I recollect.

It only took a phone call to my present girlfriend to end this mental disarray. She encouraged me to go and meet them. When my mind was waist-deep in confusedness, she de-cluttered it in one moment. Some people understand what calms you down more than you can ever understand. I walked away again, but this time, I wanted to buy something to eat. When I get worried or nervous, food helps me (and maybe, this is one reason I am turning so fat now). But I did not want to eat alone, so I bought some shawarmas for them and a huge pack of chocolate for my friend’s little son. While returning, I watched daylight fade, and since I was walking in Mumbra, surroundings began to lose visibility as there was no power, not even on the streets. I reached the building and was on the stairwell without a second thought. As I stood in darkness on the third floor, the heat of freshly-prepared shawarmas warmed my fingers , as I continued to gasp out of exhaustion. I did not want to change my mind midway, so I ran as fast as it was possible for me. I knocked the door and waited for what I felt was an enormously long minute. The door creaked open, and lights began to glow. Power had resumed.

The Entrance

I am a Murderer!

What is the true value of life?

This question has puzzled philosophers and scientists alike for centuries. Sometimes, people who are not from either of these two categories (read ‘Average people’) are also put in amazement by this seven-worded interrogative sentence. Mostly, they need a trigger to make them wonder about life. For me, the trigger occurred at around the age of 10.

It was the summer of 1998, and my vacations were on. It was always an awesome feeling to worry about almost nothing. Of course, my area of responsibility was limited to my school tasks. And this was the time when all I thought about was playing and my pocket-money. I have to say that I miss that time a lot. A lot of my friends started keeping pets, mostly birds. I wanted a bird, too, and the only thing I could afford was a baby chick. So I went one day to this roadside seller and had to wait a decent 15 minutes till my turn came. There were always so many children wanting to buy baby chicks and raising them. I had never thought about raising one, I just wanted to own it. I loved the way they chirped. The sound always had a soothing way about it. I wanted to buy a couple of chicks. I asked the seller how much would two cost. “Rs. 3 per chicken”, he said rather rudely. I checked my pockets and found Rs. 5. After trying a few minutes to bargain with the man, I returned home with one yellow (my favorite color, then) chick and two one-rupee coins. Mom was immediately pissed, not because she hated pets, but because she thought I should have bought at least two chicks. “They don’t like being alone. It will die if it does not have a partner”, she said. I was not willing to go and buy another one. Mom let me be.

tiny_chick

I started taking care of my new little friend, feeding him, cleaning him, taking him along if I ever went downstairs. It was a very good feeling. I had my own pet, my first one. I never talked to my friends about him, though. I don’t know why, but I felt they would disturb him. I wanted to name him, but I could not come to a conclusion. Perhaps, I thought there was no name cute enough to suit him. He would often follow me when I went out to play, and I would have to keep him in a shoe-box that I had punched holes in for him to stay. I can say he liked it, because there was hardly any sound he made once inside that box.

As he grew, I noticed that he started getting irritated. There were times he would just stand still. I asked Mom what could be the reason. “He needs a partner”, she said. I thought for a while and replied that I was his partner. I was proud. Mom did not respond, squaring her shoulders and leaving me with him. This really got me angry. I started to walk out of the house, the chick in my hand. He suddenly started making a lot of sound. But his chirps, that I once found soothing, were now infuriating me. As I stepped outside, he bit me. I could not believe he did this to me. In a fit of hot-blooded rage, I threw him on the ground and proceeded to move ahead, not looking at him. It was only once I heard rapid fluttering of wings that I turned around. He was struggling to get up, flapping his wings wildly. They were no longer of my favorite color. They were red, soaked in his own blood. I panicked, taking him in my hands and looking at him helplessly. I was so shocked, I could not even manage to cry. And there was a moment when all his movement ceased.

At the age of 10, I murdered my best friend.

To say that I miss it would be wrong. But yes, I regret being angry for that moment. He had done nothing wrong. He did not choose to be painted yellow. He did not ask me to buy him. I held him captive, when he was supposed to be enjoying under the warmth of his mother’s feathers. I called myself his partner moments before I killed him. Though I was only a child at that time, it is a matter of great shame for me. To this day, I have not had another pet.

That day, my pet chick not only caused me to wonder what is life, it also gave me the answer:

“Your life is only worth how much you value the life of others.”

Image courtesy: goldenmillinc.com