Posts Tagged ‘personal experience’


Tobby was hopping from one spot to another nervously in an attempt to escape those prying eyes. Perhaps he had overstayed on the generous bits of bread crumbs. Being surrounded with so many people, in a way that he was meant to perform, was not his thing.  Tobby, my accidental balcony-visitor pigeon, injured his leg a month ago. After applying antibiotic ointment and bandaging the injured area loosely, I called the security guard to take and hearten him for doing what he does best- fly! It was more than 2 days but he was still not able to take the plunge. Every morning when I crossed the parking lot I could see his struggle, twitching from one corner to another and perching himself besides the morsels of bread.  The fight was real.

1

What made it worst was the assumption of callous overgrown kids that he will launch into the air with constant “Shooooo’s”. His strident cry was clearing stating that it was not pleasant to be reminded that, now, he is incapable of something which is supposed to be his only talent. Of course he was trying, but every time he was missing the dart.  The next day, two more pigeons followed him and this made him flutter aggressively. May be the pigeon buddies were trying to up his morale but it alarmed him more. That was it. I brought him back, housed him in the balcony with enough food and left him on his own. No pestering. No clapping. No prying eyes. And definitely no shooooooo’s.

Next morning he woke up different. He glanced at the balcony edges, slithered himself across the old bean bag and started moving his legs in unison. Look at him! I shrieked in excitement. Next thing I see is he confidently clamped on the balcony railing waiting for the ultimate moment of freedom.

4

Tobby was done with trying to fulfill everybody’s expectations; he was done with seeking validation from others; he was done with being exposed to judgments that were dime a dozen. He realized that mob has no face, just unidentified screaming heads who do not wish well for anyone. He didn’t want to figure out anything more. He just wanted to be happy and embark on a journey whose pace was determined by him, and only him. He rose to his feet, started flapping wings and finally gained the thrust for his maiden undogmatic and enjoyable flight.

Possibly Tobby’s story is the inspiration somebody with broken wings needs to hear today.

3

P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

Advertisements

“It has been with me for ten years now.”

“So?”

“Umm.. its been very long. It’s a part of my identity now. Well, kind of.”

“How can it be your part? Why can’t you get rid of it?”

“Well…I don’t know..Let’s just say, I am emotionally attached to it. I can’t let it go.”

This was me trying to explain my reasoning of sticking onto dual SIM cards, one of which –now on national roaming–was older than a decade now. Sobha, my unusual friend at work place, was tossing questions at me with full pace. The reason I call our friendship unusual is because we were poles apart from day 1; we belong to two different generations, our idea of relationships, food preferences, temperament, working style, lifestyle choices are as different as between a mom and daughter. Yet, oddly, we bonded like no one else did. She is like a Ballad and I am a grating item number. Sobha is nearing her 50 and I am about to hit 30 so naturally there are loads of conflict of interest, but once in a while I get to taste the old world when I am made to stand in her court room. In her words it’s called discussion about ‘life’. Today was one such day.

1

“Repeat what you said.” She asked. I was jolted out of my thoughts.

“I said, I am emotionally attached to it.”

Her eyes became wider. “That’s it! This is what I wanted to hear. Emotional attachments! This is the only reason you have held onto a number that is of no use to you. Otherwise there is no logic to it. Good you understood.”

Trying to defend my standpoint I responded, “Of course there is logic as well. Tomorrow if any of my old friend or acquaintance tries to reach me, it should be easy enough for them.”

She laughed. “So you mean, you call even those people friends who you have not spoken to for years or vice versa! Okay, chalo lets assume hypothetically that they want to connect to you, even then you think they would need your ten years old number to reach you in this era of Facebook, Emails and common friends.”

I stared down for a while in discomfort. “You do not understand!!  Not necessarily a friend, but I may need it someday. Who knows what situation I will be in tomorrow and I need to contact them or someone wants to contact me on this very number”, came the reply from me.

“Fine. Yesterday she –pointing out at one of our teammates– forgot her phone at her desk and went for lunch to Pizza Hut with you guys. I was the only one near to her desk at that time. She wanted to call and ask me to keep the phone with me for safety. What she did?”

“She took my phone and called you.” I said.

“Yes. She badly wanted to reach out to me and she found a way to that, through you. At least the message reached to me. Likewise, if anybody needs to reconnect with you they will do that whether after 5 years or 50 years. And in case you are wondering that what if you need the help of 2000th person stored in this SIM, consider another situation, what if you need the help of 2001th person whose number you don’t have anymore? In that case, you will find him/ her out anyhow, just like she reached out to me yesterday.”

Twiddling fingers on my head I replied in restlessness, “I don’t know. It’s all very complicated.”

“Life is never complicated. We make it. We refuse to see what is very obvious. Just like a tree sheds its leaves and gets festooned with new leaves, we too keep moving on in life. Those who are important to us emotionally or spiritually or by whatever means, we take them along. Similarly, we are picked up by people who deem us important. It’s as simple as that. The day your generation will understand this they won’t need to carry dual SIM or triple SIM. Or at least they should just start accepting that it is purely for emotional reasons.”

2

She was right. Most of us carry the baggage of past expectations and memories for a significant time and conceal it under the name of sentiment, need or emotions. What Sobha wanted to make me understand was not the usage limitation of my phone numbers, but showing me a mirror that somewhere we all are living with a baggage, if not SIM card then something else. Happiness is the basic pulse of the universe. But, the underlying happiness of the soul gets covered up with ambiguity and paradoxes. Faded jeans, old diaries, chocolate wrappers, torn shoes are all a part of it. I still have an empty perfume bottle at my dressing table because the smell still reminds me of my first international holiday and I refuse to let it go.

If we all could master the art of living baggage-free then life would have been so simple indeed. Just embrace whatever comes in your way, care for people who still are with you, forgive those who are not, show genuine warmth and chart a path that is cheery.  Strangely, its only when we are striving for something badly falls into dust, we feel liberated to fill up the vacuum again with good spirits of joy, something that is a fundamental display of human ability. This conversation was one that kept me awake for long. Having said that, I still have many of my old stuffs intact, including the SIM card. Not sure if I can ever muster the courage to get rid of them, but at least I have identified the reason for now—a baggage 🙂

3

P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

 

 

 


It was an unfussy Monday morning where getting reading and reaching timely on office was the main agenda of the day. Until my phone rang; it was my father on the other end. “You try to come by today or tomorrow. Your mom has suffered hyponatremia, it’s something related to very low sodium level in blood, due to which she is in ICU and unable to recognize anyone.” Can you imagine the throttle when someone tries to stuff pile of cotton down your throat? Yes, it was exactly the same sensation that I felt after putting down the phone call. We knew that she was unwell, but a call like this from an optimistic man like my dad was totally uncalled for.

I rushed to the other room where Ratul, my husband, was occupied in selecting the ideal Monday blues shirt for him. “I need to leave right now for Kolkata. Please book the tickets for me. Mom is not responding well.” I fumbled in despair.

“What? Okay, wait I am doing right away.” And as he switched on his laptop to book the tickets, he continued “I will also go with you. I will not leave you alone.”

A drop of tear trickled down my eyes as I said, “But, you are not left with much leaves. You already took more than 20 holidays for our wedding.”I could sense the determination in his voice and see the commitment in his eyes when he said, “It doesn’t matter. I will see what can be done”.

The 2 hours run from Vapi to Mumbai airport on that fateful Monday morning is something that transferred me — now I feel– to the world of farthest trance. On one hand, my devil side was having negative thoughts that what if I fail to make it on time, while the sanguine side kept praying endlessly on a loop. It was the most genuine, sincere and longest prayer to god in my life. Your mind tends to bring to table all possible awful consequences in situations like this. And I, just like any ordinary person, was terrified that my phone, when switched back to normal mode from flight mode, will act as a harbinger of bad news.

It was nearly 5:15 when we landed in Kolkata. I was told that the visiting hour in Apollo Hospital ICU is from 5 pm-6pm. The distance from airport to hospital was almost 15 kilometers. On an average day, it would have taken good 40 minutes in Kolkata’s infamous traffic. Reaching hospital at or after 6 would have meant waiting for another 12-15 hours to see my mother, who was on a totally slippery slope. It was a battle against time in every sense. Ratul kept requesting the taxi driver to accelerate like it was his last drive, while I kept gazing outside the window tight-lipped. Finally at 5:45 I entered the Apollo gate and saw all my relatives, brother and father standing and waiting for us. Without looking at my eyes directly, my father handed me the ICU visiting card and told meekly, “Its 2nd floor. Bed No. 230.” Only one person is allowed at a time to visit ICU so naturally no one would accompany to help you search that chaotic, confused place in a big hospital, or no would be there to hold your hand when you slowly walk towards the place of resurrection.

I had just 10 minutes in my hand now. Overlooking the ever-waiting lift, I stomped up the stairs as fast as possible. With every passing second, my mouth was getting drier and mind was getting burdened with illusion of self-pity. Finally I saw bed no. 230. My heart refused to believe it was her; her face had become considerably darker, whole body was swollen, hair was mucked, lips had black and blue patches and saline drips attached to two places. Worst, her hands were tied to bed and she was struggling to get them released. According to the nurse, her constant attempts to remove all her drips last night made them do this visibly callous thing.

“Ma, aami eshe gechi.” (Ma, I have come).

“Ma…Ma”

I kept calling her until she looked at me. At first she failed to recognize me. No matter how strong you are, when your own creator looks through you, all your reservoir of confidence dries up instantaneously. My eyes welled up, but I tried not to make it apparent.

“Aamar hath e batha. Malish kore de.” (My hand is paining. Massage it). She kept repeating these lines constantly. Later that night, I came to know that she was saying this same and the only thing to everyone.

It was a horrifying first-hand experience when you could see that your life was descending into pits and yet could not show any movement. Amidst all the genuine concerns, prayers, some worry-coated gossips, we strolled in the hospital lobby for hours. The situation was such that you could not even show your tears since it will make your old father more weak and frail. There was a roaring lion inside who was waiting to come out and fly into a rage; as an alternative, I decided to stay calm and make the situation light with smooth talks.

From Tuesday onwards our lives had changed. Eating properly, taking bath like your usual self, sleeping till 8 in the morning, going home, checking facebook and responding on whats app took a back seat. It seemed my father, my brother, Ratul and I had rented a small place permanently in the hospital lobby where we took turns to sit in the two seats available (sometimes not even that). Whole day we were roaming with the luggage that came with us from Vapi. We didn’t even have time to go home and leave our luggage at home. A guest house near the hospital was our new habitat for sleeping.

Tuesday was scariest of all days; she didn’t wake up the whole day. All we could hear was her loud, shrill snoring, which was unusual because she doesn’t snore in normal days. My brother started with some Google search about low sodium level and blurted that it can even lead to coma in severe situations. The last nail in coffin was when the doctor said that the condition is so critical that even they can’t comment anything concrete anything at this stage. I would have sunk deep had Ratul didn’t held my heart gently on that day. Some circumstances are difficult to put down into words.

Wednesday started with usual coming of relatives and lined up ICU visits. Suddenly I noticed that my dad was wearing the same shirt since last two days as he didn’t go back home after Monday. Ratul took charge of bringing a new shirt from nearby shop and without any hullabaloo he did what was need of the hour. As clock struck 5, the ICU visits commenced. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but keeping all the apprehensions aside, I walked inside again. Today, I knew she recognized me as she smiled at my glimpse. Today her hands were not tied. It felt as if someone pumped oxygen into me.

“Kemon acho” (How are you?). That’s the only thing that came out of my mouth at that instant.

In an unclear and stammering way she replied, “Energy nei.” (No energy). Those two words were feast for my spirit because at least it meant she was back to her senses. I rejoiced and said, “Tumi bhalo hoe jabe, chinta koro na.” (You will be alright. Don’t worry). She just kept staring at me for a while and then said, “Ekhane kobe obdi rakhbe? Thakur rokkha koro aamake”. (For how long they will keep me? God save me.) “You are fine Ma”. I said. And with that two security guards came to take me down as the visiting time had ended.

Suddenly, I saw people rushing with camera in their hands from one corner to other. I could not fathom what was going on. A scene like that in a hospital area was bizarre. One of the patient relatives looked at my puzzled expression and yelled, “Arey Raima Sen shooting korche”. (Hey Raima Sen is shooting here). For a second, I got flabbergasted when I saw Raima Sen right in front of me. She was enacting a scene wherein she was there to visit a close person and thus was very sad. It was a surreal experience as what I was going through in real life she was performing out there through her gloomy expressions. We usually say that movies are a reflection of our real life, but today I felt it very closely. The scene required her to walk down the stairs sullenly, while I did something similar in lift. This was perhaps the epic example of fiction meets reality.

IMG_20150611_112903843

Thursday arrived and we were anxious to know whether the treatment and medications were working as expected. My vigor reached a crescendo when her latest morning report stated that her sodium level is now gradually increasing—though still far from the normal range, but she was coming back to track at least. The usual lobby-waiting sequence continued till evening. Suddenly, my father was called by the doctor upstairs. Alarming!!!! I started sweating. He handed me the bottle of water and ran hastily. Every word fell sharply on my ear at that moment. Before I could dig more deep into pessimism, my dad called to inform that the doctors are planning to shift her from ICU to general ward as she was out of danger.

This was Room no. 515. Ecstasy and seventh heaven would be an understatement to describe that moment. We were allowed to meet her now anytime. In another 3 hours she was shifted to the general ward. We wasted no time in going and talking to her, this time at 5th floor and room no 515.

Tora kothae thakish? Aamake chere jabina. Ekhane thakbi aajke.” (Where you all go away? Don’t leave me and go. Today you live here.) As soon as we entered the room she said in an irritated voice. Even her impatience and anger seemed adorable and amusing now. Four of us surrounded her and the week-long buried emotions and conversations started flowing.

I came out of the room, then the corridor, then the lobby…..to breathe the whiff of fresh air at last. However, it was interrupted by unruly mob. Yes, again some shooting. This time it was the Sarathi Rana of the movie Kahaani (Pramabrata Chatterjee).

IMG_20150612_094736766

My phone beeped. It was my colleague. Apparently I had won the Employee of the month award for May 2015. I looked at the hospital building, the luggage on one hand and Ratul’s hand clinching my other hand….our eyes met and we smiled. My mother got discharged 2 days after that i.e 13 June 2015. I hugged one of the aunts with whom I had a bitter relationship and didn’t talk for years. I got closer to many of my cousins during this tough time. Most importantly, after five months of marriage, I fell AGAIN in love with Ratul.

I don’t know if it is true that everything that happens is for a reason, but I came back feeling a lot more light and affirmative than before. Tough situations are your ammunition because they are designed to make you a better person and propagate compassion. There is no point in sulking in grudges because you may never know when the opportunity of evoking hearty laughs comes to an abrupt end. Every day now when I wake up my only agenda is to be more considerate and kind than yesterday. Writing is my only way of catharsis and today, after putting down the journey from Room no. 230 to 515 on paper, I feel a weight is lifted off my shoulder!

Dylan Thomas was right in saying………..

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

20130816_210557