Time & tide waits for none

And now Expresso beat me to it. Recession management guru was what I desired to be. But she took away the honours. Anyways, I feel a little elevated today and would wish to share an anecdote which helps you just count your blessings and forget recession or whatever.

It was the May of 1985. Dad bought the first car of his life , old rugged 1962 model ambassador. He used to work in central India then. And he bought the car from a doc in Kerala. He had this adventurous idea of driving it all the way up to Bhilai where we lived from Thrissur, covering more than 2000kms. So we got ourselves a mechanic and started off.

Summer in the Deccan is not one of the most pleasant regions to travel in a non Ac car. But there we we were, driving through little villages with a trail of amused children and dust. We tasted all kinds of cuisines on the way from wayside little hotels and somewhat better restaurants. It was fun.

Well, we reached Hyderabad around 2 AM. And the town was asleep. We were new to the city and we did not how to get to the main road to the better hotels. We tried one or two, but they were kind of unwilling to take in late visitors and said"No rooms available". so we finally ended up in an old house converted into a hotel. It had one big squarish inner courtyard, around which the rooms were set. That night was horrible. The room was full of gigantic mosquitoes who made sure that we did not sleep a wink.

The next day we started off in search of a better hotel and found one. And we saw the Golconda fort and the Sala-e- jung museum. Drive to Bhilai from there took another two days. By the time we reached Bhilai, the driver had Chicken pox and I had fever.

The fever I had was peculiar. I ran high temperatures every alternate day and only at night. After about three cycles , I was hallucinating, seeing peacocks from my window, Amitabh Bachchan dancing by the bedside and so on... Soon, I ended up in the hospital in a double room where the other bed was occupied by a woman. I drifted off to sleep with IVs injecting medicines into me. I regained complete consciouness only by late afternoon. I had opened my eyes earlier and seen my mother talking with the woman on the bed. Now, she told me that her name was Kamala and that she had kidney failure.
" How are feeling now?", Kamala asked
" Better", I managed.
" Oh! It's nothing. I have dialysis twice a month but Iam OK".

I smiled. Mom took over the conversation part.
Suddenly, there was a commotion in the adjoining room. A girl my age was being given Oxygen. I saw her some moments ago as she peeked into my room from the small corridor that joined the rooms. She was a beautiful girl. And when mom said that she being given oxygen, I did not believe it. She had a cardiac problem.

Next day, Kamala had a visitor. Her husband, a trucking businessman had come over. They spoke in hushed tones. He was crying and she was trying to comfort him. And when he left, she told us that he would return the next with the kids. She showed some photos of the kids - a three year daughter and a five year old son.

"Cute children, are'nt they?", asked Kamala.
" And who is this?", mom asked
"That's me. I looked beautiful then. It is at a wedding."
Tears welled up in her eyes. She was lost in thought.

Later she told mom that her treatment costs were getting out of hand and that her husband was the youngest brother and he could no more take money from the family business to treat her. But she held nothing against her in -laws. She believed in God and fate.

Next day, Kamala was up early, all dressed to see the kids. Soon, we heard chattering voices in the passage. The kids were here. They came and leapt at Kamala in joy.

"Come home", they said.

I was a witness to the poignant moment. Her husband and her eyes were happy and sad at the same time. The husband had brought some food. She fed the children with her hands. The elder was telling her about school, the younger one about her cousins. It was the first time I realised, the value of life.

That evening, she was mum, unlike her chattering self. By night, she said that she asked her husband not to show her body to the kids. She wants them to remember her as an active mother.

I got discharged the next day. Later we came to know, she was soon paralysed and her systems shut down one after other and she died. She was cremated nearby and not taken home as per her wishes.

This story I wanted to narrate for long. Destiny was that it came out now.

katten kaapi

1 Had a Cuppa:

Crazy Four said...

That's a sad tale there...For the first time someone spoke sense over a cuppa.....