If I were to write a memoir right now, I’d end it thus – And so, in that half a second I just let go.
I’m through accepting limits, ’cause someone says they’re so.
Somethings I cannot change, but till I try I’ll never know.
So long I’ve been afraid of losing- well, not love, but some kind of stability/ success, which I guess I’ve lost. And that wish for stable ground under my feet, has done nothing but prevent me from taking risks. And in that bargain, I’ve lost whatever I did have, and have fallen to the lowest rung. And I’m thinking right now, I’d sooner try defying gravity. I hope I don’t bring myself down.
It’s amazing how much I actually tell myself that that’s the song of my current life. Amongst loads of other songs lamenting the loss of something or some other thing, this one really really puts my want to be daring in words.
I’m through with playing by,
The rules of someone else’s game.
- an Elphaba trying to take off and defy gravity, all denizens of Oz and their Wizard.
Post by Deepta V Narayanan:
Today I saw this 8 year old child admitted in the Paediatric ward.
He is around 32 inches or 77 cm tall. His arms and legs are stick thin – the diameter of some two or three of my fingers put together. His hair’s withering. He can only walk, and feed himself and use the toilet. He hasn’t developed speech, he can’t see very well, cannot hear very well, or even if he can, he can’t really understand, and only makes monosyllabic noises and clicking sounds – the kind one makes at a horse. He led me and a friend of mine around the beds. He had a surprisingly strong grip for one so frail and malnourished. But apart form a brief moment of a tantrum and flailing hands and trying to hit somebody when too many students had crowded around him to ‘examine’ him, ‘see’ his eyes – as if he were some curio and Bitot’s spots some special display, he was a smiley, happy appearing child, unknowing of the injustice and neglect and suffering he’s been subjected to.
He’s eight years old, stands as high as a tall 2 1/2 or 3 year old, can’t understand the world. Has no idea that he’s in a hospital, sick, and has been underfed since he was a baby.
His mother lay on his bed, smiling for some reason. She didn’t look too old. She said she’d been to a doctor when he was 4 months old and that had been told he would get al-right and that she never bothered to go again. She left unsaid why. She didn’t look worried.
I’ve seen other sick children’s parents. They might talk normally, but one can tell their anxiety from their faces. She was just – I don’t know.
I told my mother about the child. I could hear her perturbation. I thought of my aunt’s son – my little brother. I can’t till this moment stop thanking whatever forces – call it God’s grace, call it Karma or just anything on earth – for the impeccable, wonderfully ordinary childhood we’ve had.
I can’t stop. I wanted to take a picture of his, the child’s, I for some reason stopped short. Maybe I will tomorrow.
His mother probably isn’t much older than my 20 years. Or wasn’t when she had him. Barely world savvy, poor, married to a man who is in all probability not very nurturing. I still don’t think any of that is an excuse to have left him to deteriorate to mere skin and bone. I mean to say, if she could come now, she could’ve earlier.
I remind myself not to blame her. I have absolutely no right to.
He’s eight years old, and the parts of his cortex responsible for speech and understanding, and even hearing and comprehension are probably not only underdeveloped, but also degenerated to some degree.
I remember studying about how speech and hearing if not developed by a certain age -giving it a maximum of around 5 yrs- won’t develop. And I’m pretty sure that understanding and cognition also need similar early stimuli when the neuronal plasticity is still high for complete normal development.
And here I am, sitting day after day, feeling bad about my own ‘short comings’
He might be dependent life long. Being poor, and having a pathetic family (I’m sorry, I’m angry. It’s not my place, but I can’t help it right now), he’s not likely to get support. Even if our doctors manage to get him to put on weight, I don’t know how his hypothalamo-pituitary and other such hormonal pathways and complex neuronal circuits will ever just overcome the immense early neglect.
I don’t understand what he’ll do when he’s older. When his parents decide they can’t support him anymore.
Tomorrow I’ll find out about his siblings. I was too scared to find out today.
But today, regardless of what he may have to face tomorrow, he was an active child -probably because of the food he’s been getting in the hospital for the past couple of days.
When I was 8, I’d known for atleast 2 years that I wanted to be a docotr. I was reading a Harry Potter book, loads of Enid Blytons and in general having parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles all tecahing me things and caring for me.
To all urban Indian children who go to the ‘prestigious’ schools, and well, live like all the well to do poeple in the world, here’s a very sombre reminder – you’re in the top less than 2% of India as far as income goes. The poverty that everyone showcases? It’s bloody darned well real. There’s no getting around that.
This is not just one case. I found out that the average rate of admission of such cases is 2-3 per month in the hospital where I study. And this is supposedly one of the health wise ‘better’ regions of the nation.
I’m afraid I’ve digressed. It’s about this child for now. I hope he does well.
Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North
Knowledge, wisdom, judgement – all come at a cost. The most balanced, self-assured seeming, if not calm, decisive person you know, whom you look at and wish you could be like in some respects, is probably one who’s been in the same situation a trillion times before. And hasn’t extricated themselves from it, and is stuck making the seemingly ‘safer’ choice whence you glimpse their seeming cool countenance. On the inside, the person’s remembering every last time and wondering how they got there again, and trying to make the one choice they’ve not tried as of yet, hoping to get out and leave it all behind. The ghosts of their past will likely haunt them for a while after this time, even as you think and ‘envy’ their ‘decision’. The more a person knows about avoiding death, more the likelihood that his/her wardrobe has a jumbled heap of bones – skeletons waiting to tumble out- people they watched die & in all likelihood killed.
The ghosts of mistakes and by gone blunders haunt the house at night, leaving me tossing at night, not knowing why I’m tired in the day.
The longer I stay in a situation, the more the things I want to put behind me, and the more I try to stuff them away, the more they seep out from beneath my feet, behind my back and above my head- all around.
The more enlightened (experienced, learned) our houses are- more ghosts the walls ooze.
Okay, so somehow Obama’s going to church but secretly a Muslim and somehow that has a bearing on how good a president he is/ will be. And OMG! How could THE WHOLE WORLD have missed it??? It’s the Buddhists who’re taking away the freedom from the Americans in America!!! Frikking hell! Gosh.
Goes to show just how much actual thought people put into their political choices. And just how much a good journalist can uncover by asking that second question.
No, but really, no wonder no one’s ever happy with the guys in the Parliament! They have no clue whom they’re voting for or why!
The war rages on. Relentless, like the hail that lashes down, determined to to leave everything destroyed. The oldest trees are starting to break, unable to take the weight of it all. The burden’s too much.
I watch it all, prisoner of my own mind. As it unfolds to mind’s eye, in glorious clarity, I seek catharsis as I play out the toughest decisions of my life in slow motion, watching my follies and watching the men fall and bleed to death. How they all seemed to lie there, red, bloody, with an eerie smile of sorts on their dying visage, as if the last thing they thought of was something that made them smile maniacally, laugh with remorse.
I wonder whether it will be my turn to battle it out next. I am sure I’m not ready to die.
I remember their faces. I remember the agony of it all. I wish I hadn’t caused all that pain, seeing now that I was going to be paid back in kind by the world, the universe had not been on my side after all. The deceitful maestro had led me on so.
The guards come for me. I want to flee.
There is no other door but for the one where they stand.
The window was high.
I am on the tall chair.
I grab onto the window ledge, I can see the glass.
I make to open it.
Strong arms hold me from all sides and pull me down. He forces a flimsy armour like the ones the others all wore on me. They march me down the steep stariway of that tall overly lit tower. I feel I’m hurling towards death. The light blinds me. And as I step out, I can’t see a thing.
I lie on the wet mud. I feel the impact for a moment.
I no longer am. I am filled with delight.
For one last time I’d escaped punishment. I just go on.
Roughly conveys the meaning of ‘brilliant, sparkling disarray’.
Now that is at the face of it, the sole outcome of letting life just steer itself down whatever course it wills. Apparently, flying with one’s hands free, on autopilot comes at a steep price.
But, let me tell you, living life as it comes has a HUGE plus side. It ensures that regardless of what my next door neighbour may say about my unruly shenanigans, I will have at the end of the day truly lived every moment that the day had to offer. Every single moment – to the fullest.
Not that a day should be spent meaninglessly doing nothing in particular. The day should be spent doing as many things as possible, as well as possible. And most importantly, doing those things that one truly loves doing.
So, that ideal, so resplendent, promising and inviting, calls out to one and all I’m sure. To live a day, to cherish and drink in the wonder of every given moment that passes by and to feel fully satisfied with everything done during the day is pretty much that one thing that has eluded me since the I was old enough to know that’s what I really want. Somehow the very idea of being able to exist as that ideal creates this astonishingly brilliant image, and I’m afraid that if I open my eyes to look, the pure white light will blind me.
Well, when all had been said about the ideal life, I tried to get it done too. Sadly, I was broken to find that it really didn’t work the way I felt it should or the way it does in a dream.
My life pretty much slipped out of control. I was doing everything that I’d ever dreamt of, or at least the evil forces of the world had me believing that everything I was doing was everything I’d ever dreamt of. But in actuality, all hell had broken loose and I had shards of my life lying scattered all about me in utter disarray.
As inviting as it had all seemed, it turned out that such designs in life were only meant for the higher, more evolved, controlled ones who could find it in them to both practice and preach. In trying to live each moment I found it so easy to lose sight of the future…my future. It was so easy to just remain suspended in time, at that moment, to imagine that that was the only moment I ever had to live and just keep drinking in its essence and beauty.
But alas, clocks ticked on and alarm bells rang, and as the hours passed me by all I was left with was tonnes of work to be done and so much else undone, albeit accompanied by a glorious memory or two, but I had to choose… which was worth more? Hundreds of decent, enjoyable memories or just a couple of amazing, breathtakingly exquisite ones followed by ages of pain and labour?
I tried living life as it came by,and it didn’t really feel that great. I didn’t like the after taste it left. Bitter-sweet and sour.
What I had was a glimpse of brilliance, almost blinded eyes, and no grip over the future. It was all mayhem. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I didn’t know.
I could close my eyes and remember the light I’d once seen.
I swore to strive to get there…to the stage where I could truly let my life steer itself and know for sure that it was going down the path that was best for me, to know that I would not lose control even in face of the strongest winds regardless of whether or not I stood at the wheel, whether or not I steered.
But at that moment, surrounding me was nothing but sparkling debris of magnificence that was once whole.