Sunday, June 29, 2014

In sickness and in health

Sometimes the idea of pain is utterly unfathomable and then all of a sudden it becomes a horrid truth, negating the reason for your existence. And so my friend said, I was hyperventilating. Maybe I was, but I spent the week in sheer misery, recovering and falling into repeated hallucinations which was the by-product of an otherwise nonchalant viral fever.

I didn't visit the doctor in the beginning because it felt like something I could deal with. I mean if I couldn't deal with a weather change flu, nothing would ever be easy for me. Turns out self-medication was a terrible idea. In six days, I went from 'oh I can't smell my food' to 'my skin is burning so much that I should be allowed to have a water hose at my disposal' The pain, was excruciating to say the least, and when I finally ended up visiting a general physician at a local nursing home, she suggested I take a paracetamol injection.

"WHAT? Really? What do you think I have been surviving on for the past six days?"

"This is a strong dose, it'll help you sleep."

By then, I think I had lost it. May be without an iota of rhyme or reason but for the first time in my life, I didn't feel utterly invincible. I broke down in front of the doctor, who wanted me to leave the place rather than 'create a scene.' My friend was awe-struck and should I say bamboozled by how I transfigured from a shivering Eskimo to a hysteric insomniac. 

I called up my parents, and almost begged them to let me come home. I felt I couldn't do without them. It felt utterly unreasonable to spend a bomb on flight tickets, when probably a day or two's rest in Hyderabad too, could have served me fine. But I was hell-bent. Home was what I needed, the only thing which could make me feel better.

So, I went home last Friday, the doctor I was taken to was unbelievably friendly, I was actually a tad bit disappointing that he didn't offer me a candy after being so kind to me. Anyhow, blood tests were done, I had a refrigerator full of food at my disposal. And my beautiful three dogs, wonderfully understanding, who pampered me, must I say, rightfully so. 

This post is also for my parents, who arranged for my travel at a moment's notice, my brother who kept calling and enquring about my health. My friends at office whose messages made me realise, there is a lot to come back and look forward to. 

My friends at home, you know who you are, for meeting me at a moment's notice, for almost disowning me for forgetting on which floor our class XII classroom was, for being there for me whenever I needed you. I don't feel the need to grow up, when you guys are around.

Lastly, S, you come at the bottom of the thank you list but you know that you are always at the back of my mind, especially now that you have inherited my flu. Your incomprehensibly disgusting jokes, make me realise that at last, I have met my match.

The matter of fact remains that of course we are responsible for our health and well-being. But there are times, when everything seems out of control. The idea is not to try to be in control, when you know you can't. Instead, let go. Weep hysterically at a public place, treat yourself to nice warm food, watch your favourite movie ten times on DVD, and never forget the people who forever have their arms outstretched to catch you, when are about to fall. Maybe there is a bruised elbow, or you escape unscathed. 

Or you are just scared. And that's why, even in the bleakest times, a mother's kiss on your forehead is sufficient to make you feel alright. Because believe it or not, even when medicines cease to work, people make miracles happen. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One for the dad

“You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

The day, for some reason, wasn’t going well. My head hurt and my stomach hurt in tandem. So I did something I do almost always do while away time in office. The hallowed words, , and voila, ‘28 incredibly touching photos of fathers seeing their babies for the first time’; by the third photograph I was already weeping silently when I realised I hadn’t called my father to wish him. And so I dialed his number. In the middle of an afternoon siesta, my father mumbled a “thank you” and said he’d call me in the evening. 

If, you’d known me and my father, you would possibly say that I am exactly like him. My mom says that, when I refuse to arrange my wardrobe or help in the kitchen or refuse to budge, when in front of the television. “Tui tor baba’r e mei,” (You are your father’s daughter). Undoubtedly, I was, I mean, I am. 

It has been four years, since the time I have been staying away from home. When my parents were leaving me at my hostel for the first time, my mom, who usually weeps even during daily soaps, was surprisingly calm. And my dad, he broke down, and cried. Instead of comforting him, I too started sobbing hysterically. That continued for about an hour after I reached my room and unpacked. It suddenly dawned on me; I was on my own now. 

When I was in class VI, I told my dad to get me the first book of the Harry Potter series. Since my classmates kept yapping about the novels, I wanted to find out what was the big deal about them anyway. I asked for the first book, my father got me the first three. For someone, who reads anything between two to four books every week, he certainly didn’t want to underplay his excitement at having his daughter, asking for a book for the first time in her life. 

When I was in my third year in college, I remember whining to him, that we haven’t gone for a vacation for the longest time. He called me in my next break saying that we were going to Bhutan, when I came home.
I guess, we look up to our parents in different ways. Truth be told, I always trusted my mom more than my dad, but whenever I needed something, a hug, a packet of sweets, a book to read or even sanitary napkins for that matter, my dad got them for me.

Two months back, my grandmother passed away, and while all my family members used their lacrimal glands endlessly, my father sounded almost calm on phone. I was almost angry on him, for having such a steady voice, especially when he was yet to tell my grandfather that his wife is no more.

And then I remembered, when my maternal grandmother had expired five years back, I had gone so numb, that I couldn’t shed a tear. I mean me, who sobs on seeing puppy videos, had nothing but an overbearing sense of numbness at such an occasion. 

Again, I am copiously indifferent when it comes to things I don’t want to deal with, I can’t blurt out and tell people when they have hurt me and when I do, it almost always doesn’t have a desired result. How, I hope that I could be more volatile, hurl abuses at strangers, be angry at someone and get over with it. But then I am my dad’s daughter, who chases a cockroach out of her room instead of smashing it with her slippers.
Over the last few days, I have frequently wondered did I turn out the way; my parents wanted me to be?  Would I, could I, should I try be more social, more amiable, less of an introvert, stop day-dreaming and be obstinately ambitious?
Well, of course I could.

Then I look at my dad, listlessly sleeping in a local train, with a newspaper on his lap. A man, who didn’t take a promotion all his life, so that he could come back home and rush me tuitions, and when he did give the exam, he managed to top in entire east India. Can you imagine doing THAT at the age of 50?

Hence, more than anything else, my father has taught me one thing – to be a consistent version of myself, to be happy with the person I have turned out to be. To read obsessively, to dream endlessly, stand up for the choices I make, even if it means earning probably a tenth of what I could, with my resume and qualification.
A thank you, would probably be an understatement. For you chasing the school bus when I got late, or skipping office and standing in front of the passport office for two hours, in case I needed something. 

Even though I am 21, your presence makes me feel utterly blessed and believe that angels exist. And so does Santa Claus.