Sickness

Sickness is mean. It spreads not only germs but also gloom. I am using sickness in terms of anything disabling a person from normal life. Could be flu, could be cancer, could be a mental illness, could be a handicap or it could be a genetic disorder. Sickness is like a double-edged sword, not only do the people going through it suffer; even the ones around the sick people suffer. It is cancerous and depressing without meaning to be because it starts eating the people around it, slowly, steadily and surely.

Whenever I read a book or watched a movie with a sick character, I found myself sympathizing more with the people affected by their loved ones’ sickness rather that the actual sick person. I would refer to two movies for a quick reference, namely; “Black” and “Guzaarish”. In both movies the protagonist is either handicapped or sick. My thoughts constantly went to the family that was taking care of these sick people. They seemed to have lost out on life too. The sick person has to stay home as it is but along with them, the rest of the family also has to stay around them as care takers. While it’s not fair to blame the sick person for the condition they are in, it is also unfair to the healthy ones to be punished.

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Yes, we have to be sympathetic and empathetic, yes we have to care but who is caring for the ones who get mentally sick for being caretakers 24/7. Heartbreaking though it is to watch as the parents pour love for the sick child, it is heart wrenching to watch the healthy child who has been sidelined for long, who just sits in a corner, too afraid to ask for attention because they know they are not important right now. Everything seems to be about the sick one. No one notices the invisible healthy child. I know of a family with two kids, the older one who is perfectly normal and the younger who is autistic. The parents of these kids are amazing in every respect, the care and attention they give to the younger one is something one has to see to believe. Then again, my thoughts went to the older one, who couldn’t go on normal vacations with the whole family, couldn’t invite his friends over, couldn’t go out for picnics as a family, it was sad to watch him taking care of his own needs.

Another killer disease is Alzheimer’s. A disease that takes with it the patient and everyone else attached to them. The person affected has no idea about the extent of pain they are inflicting on the family. I actually think this is one disease the patient has it good as they are completely oblivious to the problems they are giving others. They are clueless! The ones in pain are the family who has to watch the patient float in and out of reality. Expecting the unexpected becomes the norm and the known becomes the unknown.

Today, I watch my mom struggle to take care of her 90-year-old father. He is hard of hearing, he can’t remember if he ate and when he ate, he can’t take care of his basic needs, he is lucid enough to ask for things but senile enough to criticize when he doesn’t get it. She is bound by relationship to take care of him and I wonder about her emotional state as she crumbles everyday with the burden. She herself is getting old and needs care and here she is caring for another. Again, there is no easy solution or answer, she has to do her duties and so will anyone who has to ever take care of a sick one.

It is always nice to see people helping each other, family, relatives, loved ones, but the question is do we owe allegiance to the ones who are with us or to the ones who are going to leave us and go? The truth is that no matter what we will always care for our loved ones because we all know that one day we might be in that place and we would want to be cared for and loved when that time comes!

If given a chance though, I would definitely opt for euthanasia for myself, before the time comes!

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Cheeku ’05

 

 I know this little boy so naughty,

He always likes to party,

With women he does score

Can you believe he’s just four?

He practices modern art

His canvas is the wall

He loves to push his toy cart

He always has a ball

His favorite letter is shiny ‘H’

That’s what he likes to sketch

If he could have his way

School would go away

No matter what weather, the day will bring

Inside him ’tis always spring,

He can trouble you till you blow your top

That will stop when you call a cop

In spite of all the mess, and mischief

You’ll love this mouse, this injun chief,

Cause when he winks and throws a smile your way

You surrender, and laugh your troubles away

 

Scar On My Forehead ‘81

Normal people do normal things; hence abnormal people do abnormal stuff. Anyone who knew me during my childhood would never label me as a normal child. I was a tomboy and was always getting into trouble. Be it climbing trees, roofs and then crying that I couldn’t get down or troubling boys (my brother) and even making some cry, I was there! Getting into trouble was my forte. My brother and me played a lot of games growing up, some when I was invited and many uninvited. Today, years later, we have stopped fighting, I love him so much and we still play together, except it’s from different parts of the world on a battle of strategies with a game called ‘Candy Crush’!

One incident that I remember, not only because the incident by itself is too crazy but also because it left a scar on me for life. This is no profound scar on my psyche but a simple scar on my forehead that stares back at me everyday from the mirror, reminding me and mocking me of my stupidity. Over the years the scar has gotten lighter but the memory still stays strong.

This was probably happened when I was in my 3rd grade, just another normal evening and my brother and I were outside our house playing together. We decided to play catch with each other for sometime, except after some time we decided to play catch with stones! Did I mention I was abnormal? My brother was about half a decade older than me, and whole foot taller than me, so we were mismatched from the start. That little detail did not deter me in anyway from accepting the challenge of playing with stones.

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Initially he played nice and threw stones, low, slow and straight into my hands. Then I guess he got bored and started playing rough and so did I! We started aiming the stones high, very low, sideways…anywhere except directly into the hands. And then as expected he threw that ill-fated stone that would scar me for life. He threw this stone higher than normal, I refused to let it go, I leaped high into the air, missed catching it and then ouch!

I felt something hot on my forehead; numbness at first and then the pain came. I took my palm to the pain and it came away bloody. Next came my tears and screams. I ran towards my house trying to find my mom. I had a lot of dope to get my brother into trouble 😀

Needless to say, my mom was livid and my brother was grounded. My mom was actually worried no one would marry me if I had a huge scar on my forehead! I didn’t care about it much though, I felt it was pretty cool to have scars, made me look and feel tough. Little did I know then that it was just one of the first scars of my life, there were many more to come!

Sunny

I know this kid called Sunny

His antics can be really funny

He loves to read and watch the telly

You tell him something and he goes ‘Really ?”

He loves bananas and spicy food

Peanut butter can get him into a good mood

You cannot suppress your admiration

When he work on the car navigation

He likes to read, but hates Kumon

And with a passion, loves Pokemon

If you call him Pandu, he sees red,

He reminds me so much of Jughead

If you find on the floor or on the carpet

tiles of scrabble and pawns of chess,

And things are not where they should be kept,

Guess, Who forgets to clean up the mess?

Ask him a question, make sure you repeat

To get his attention is no mean feat

It’s not that he does not care.

For most part, he is unaware

His questions are of the kind

They will simply blow your mind

His thinking skills you cannot but admire

He is a Flintstone that holds the fire.

Getaway Chicken ‘84

A chicken in hand is always better than one after you! It was summer vacation and we were spending it at my grandparents’ farm in the village. The farm was huge. It hosted a number of cows, sheep, chicken, cats and even some unwelcome rats. My grandparents also grew mangoes, peanuts, coconuts, rice and many kinds of vegetables and flowers. We always had a great time at the farm and came away from every trip with a basket full of memories. That summer was no different.

One morning, my cousins and I decided to play with the little chicks that were just hatched about a week ago. The chicks were very cute, tiny, bright yellow feathers, pink beaks and orange curious eyes. They looked like a Picasso painting in motion. Well, cute or not, we wanted to play with them. All chicks were housed under a big wide wicker basket to keep them safe from other predators lurking in the yard. We just flipped the basket and let them all out into the enclosed yard. All 18 chicks ran helter-skelter and we ran behind them trying to catch one. It was chaotic, with the cheeping chicks and our screams of excitement. Little did we know that our screams of excitement were soon going to be replaced by screams of fear!

What we had forgotten was that very close to the wicker basket was the chicks mother hen tied to a pole. She was watching us all the time, as we first let her babies out and then as we chased them around the yard. Before we realized it, she had cut herself free from the string that kept her tied to the pole and off she flew towards us with rage written all over her face. She went straight for my cousin who had just boasted seconds ago that he caught a chick. So there he was chick in hand, standing frozen to the ground as the hen ran towards him.

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We screamed at him, waking him from his shock and he ran. Now this was a hilarious Kodak moment! He wasn’t even close to laughing but the rest of us were in splits as we watched an angry little hen, chase him all around the yard.

After we had our fill, we figured we needed to help him, so I got the basket and another cousin got a blankie and we tried to trap the hen under them. After some hits and misses we were finally able to trap her and put the basket on her. We even placed a stone on the basket, just in case she developed some superpowers and decided to go at us again.

We then called our grandpa and he tied her back to the pole. He also made us help him collect all the chicks and put them back under the basket and placed it close to the mother hen. And yes we got a royal yelling too from him for troubling the chicks but we still smile even today about that funny little Kodak moment captured in our memories!

Sprint Queens! ’89

It was the last sports day of my school life. I was a 10th grade student of Sophia School, Khetri. I didn’t know it then, but I was going to be running the last race of my life. We were on the hot, sweltering grounds of Sophia, where excitement was going up a notch every minute. The air was thick with nervousness and even students who were not in that race were excited – for a lot of reasons.

My team, known as Blue house was tied with another team, Green house for first place. There was only one more race left and we needed to win the race to claim the school championship. If we won, it would be the first time in many years that Blue house would take the cup home. The final race was going to be the 4×100 relay race. The entire school had gathered on the grounds to witness the race. All the teachers were also out in the hot sun to watch us run. Being the under dogs we had many supporters and many students even from the losing teams were rooting for us.

Reema, my best friend, also captain of the team and me, the vice-captain of the team were having a heated discussion as to where we should place ourselves strategically to win the race. Reema and I were both good runners and we were known as sprint queens in school. Between us we had brought home about 11 medals for the team. So the expectations from us was high. We should have been confident but we weren’t. Firstly because we never underestimated our opponents and secondly because the other two runners in our team of four were not that good, whereas all four runners of the other team were good runners.

After much thinking, both of us decided that I would be third person to run and Reema would be the last person. Our thinking was that even if the first and second runners slow down, I would make up the lag and Reema could then lead the team to victory. As if I was not nervous already, I almost got sick thinking about what people expected of me. A lot depended on my 100 m dash. I couldn’t wait to get this over with. 

We were all in position. I looked at Reema and silently we made a cross sign and said amen. All I could see was the first runner, nothing else was in my vision. I heard the whistle blow and saw the girls make a dash. Our girl was losing ground fast, she somehow made it to the second runner at third place. Making sure my feet were toeing the line, I stretched my hand forward for the baton from the second girl. All the time yelling, words of encouragement to her. By the time she reached me she was in fourth place. The blue baton was in my hands.

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All I could now see, was Reema, everything else was blurry. I had a lot to make up. I had to use every bit of strength in me and I did. I watched myself run past the first girl and then the second. And then I was there, I put the baton in Reema’s hands and yelled “Go!”. I saw her take off like the wind. I was in second place when I gave her the Baton, so she still had to make up one more person. I knew she could do it. And she did. I saw her reach the end of the line and jump up high with the baton. I ran towards her as she did towards me. We hugged each other and cried uncontrollably. Many students walked by congratulating us, but we held on together.

The thrill, the happiness, the excitement, the nervousness and the sweet taste of victory is something worth experiencing. 20 years later, Reema and I still talk about it and know that we both have not felt that kind of excitement again..maybe never again.

Hide and Seek ’00

Sunny, just like his name, brought sunshine with him. He was always smiling, curious and full of questions. The ‘whys’ never ended. The world was exciting and he was curious to learn and explore everything around him. He was very responsible about his things and followed directions to the ‘T’. He was a model child, the apple of our eyes and the cutest little pumpkin (which is what I called him). So one dreary afternoon, when he went missing, needless to say we panicked.

It all happened one holiday season at Macy’s. Sunny was four years old and we were out shopping for some suits and shirts for Sanjay. Whenever we went shopping, Sunny would always hold on to a corner of my dress or shirt and would make sure we were always in his field of view. As soon as we got there, we got engrossed in all the black suits that were hung so neatly creating a black ripple on the racks. Sanjay was trying on the suits; Sunny was tugging along behind me, asking questions about the mall, while I was trying to find more suits in his size and quench Sunny’s curiosity at the same time.

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Even though the mall was noisy and alive with people, I suddenly became aware of silence around me. I had a bad premonition in that instant, the kind that sinks your stomach and you forget how to breathe. I looked around me and my worst fears came true when I didn’t see Sunny anywhere close to me. Sunny was not one of those naughty brats that ran helter-skelter in the mall, so it was all the more impossible that he might have strayed away from us. We had been to the mall innumerable times but he always stayed close to us.

We were in sheer panic. We called his name out aloud and ran through the different sections looking for him. People were now stopping to look at us; they knew something was wrong. They were whispering with each other and looking around not knowing what we were looking for. All the little snippets of conversations about strangers, kidnappers and the lot played like a movie in my head. I stopped Sanjay and told him that we should call the mall security and ask them to help us.

Like the jingle of bells, like the sweet voice of a nightingale, like a voice that only a mother can recognize, I heard a giggle…his giggle! I looked hopefully towards the sound – but all I saw were a rack of suits. Suddenly, two tiny hands pushed the suits apart and out came sunny saying, “Boo! Mommy!”. Sunny had played a little game of hide and seek with us and we were the unknowing participants of the game! I hugged him tight and tears flowed freely as curious onlookers watched us. I held on to him, never wanting to let go. We took him home, the suits long forgotten and left behind for another day, for today we found our sunshine back and we wanted to cuddle in his warmth.