Joy in the little things of Life!!

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Potter, Writer, Blogger, Quiller, Avid Reader, Chatter Box, Traveller, Foodie, photo crazy, Orchid lover, FB addict, and an enthusiast.... I work on extremes... You'll either find me laughing insanely or discussing something seriously serious.... I suffer from a laughter disorder...I am a lover of arts and crafts and anything that's colorful, bright and beautiful which includes my plants and my little lovely birdies... I am a mad friend, an insane daughter, a crazy wife and an unconventional sister... I choose to love, laugh and live!! My smile is contagious....So be careful :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Weekend Stories

Love and Forgiveness - Part I

A usual Saturday morning for me would mean staying at home and doing my laundry, completing projects, loitering around the city with Sanjeevani. Universities in US have holidays on Saturdays and Sundays which gives students enough time to cater to their personal needs. My parents felt a sense of pride that I was doing my PhD or perhaps that I was finally doing something meaningful. They often boast about it to their relatives. In all the letters that my mother writes to me she mentions how she has been missing me. But I don't miss my family at all. I felt happy away from home – happiness? you feel when an electric current runs in your body and takes a pause at your lips. Then your lips stretch themselves and you end up smiling. 

Life in US is different and peaceful. You do everything on your own including cursing yourself. But it is different here in India. You outsource everything to domestic help including attending to the emotional needs of your child. Nonetheless, sometimes domestic helps can be a boon especially when your child is Autistic and it is too much of a hassle to deal with him. In my case it was. Amma had been kind to me in spite of the fact that I was nuts. So here I was in a small town of Kerala to meet Amma, to pay off her debts, to fulfill my promise, and above all to beg for her forgiveness. I had last seen her when I was 14. Today after a decade I was to meet her again.

Ironically I had first met her in a hospital. I was just 7 then. They said I had hit my head against a wall and that I was hurt. Hence, I was admitted to the hospital. But that was a blatant lie. My nanny who would often vent out her frustration on me had hit me with a stick so hard that my skull almosy broke open. I was stubborn I think or mad as my nanny called me. So first aid was administered and may parents were advised to be kind and nice to me till my wounds healed. I couldn’t speak clearly then hence nobody could know that my nanny was the culprit. And by the time my parents could understand what I was saying my nanny had managed to escape the cruel clutches of my parents. That is when my father’s uncle referred Shirley Amma to take care of me. She came to meet my parents in the hospital itself. I think the emergency was on both sides. Amma wanted a job desperately and my parents wanted some respite. It was then that my journey with Amma began.

"St.Philomena’s Hospital" the board read with a cross sign next to it. I instantly recognized the cross. Amma wore a similar cross around her neck. Her God was crucified on it, she often told me. Strange how the cross was always next to the names of all the hospitals we have ever seen. Amma thought it was because God's presence was required in hospitals to help patients and their families. But Sam had a different take on it. He whispered in my ears that it is because all doctors crucify little children on this cross with their injections. Of course he chuckled every time he cracked that joke. Sam was my best friend, rather my only friend. He was the only boy who never called me “Mad”, or “Crazy”, or “idiot”.  But he taught me a word called “Rascal”. According to him it meant, “Good boy”. So he was the only rascal I met in my life. The other boys were bad. They would pinch me, pull my pants down, and sometimes even locked me in the toilet. But Sam was different. He laughed loudly, always and read books. Sam wasn’t particularly healthy. He was lean, his eyes were buried in little sockets, he hardly walked, most of the times Amma carried him or he was on his wheel chair. But he had a particular liking for reading. When he was placed in his coffin which was on the whole small, I neatly placed two of his favorite books next to him. I had promised to buy these books for him but before I could even gift it to him that rascal died. He was in a hurry to go to Jesus I think. He didn’t even wait for me to say sorry.

I entered the hospital building which appeared to be very depressing. The building stood still with the same numb look. Perhaps the hospital buildings are also autistic. They never show any enthusiasm. The dull green and off white paint, jaded curtains and creamiest spartac tiles only added to its misery. Just like the doctors across have a protocol to scowl; hospitals have a protocol to look uninteresting. The odor of the antiseptic was so strong that my nose was filled with it. I think they do it deliberately to make the atmosphere gloomy. Have they not seen those deodorants ads? They can just spray it across the corridor and people will instantly cheer up. Perhaps they don’t want people to cheer up. The whole idea of hospitals will be diluted if people felt happy at hospitals.

The lift seemed full and the queue outside looked disappointing. I decided to take the stairs instead. I walked past the Childrens ward, NICU, then the general ward and I finally reached the private ward.

"Amma? Shirley Amma?" I asked the older nurse sitting at the counter on the 2nd floor.

She looked at me and spoke in heavy accented English. "Room No. 202. Take a left from the end of the corridor, the second room. Visiting hours end at 7. Just one hour, wokay?" She lacked expression on her face and that made her look more autistic than me.

"Okay", I took the pink slip and walked towards 202.

I peeped inside and found a nurse attending to Amma.

"May I?" I asked

"Yes please." She answered

I walked inside the room. Amma lay on the bed, motionless. Once upon a time a plump woman, now she had reduced to a narrow frame of with a single layer of flesh covering the bare bones. Her ears particularly looked large. Her eyes now looked just like Sam’s, buried in the socket yet full of life.

"Can she hear me?" I asked the nurse.

She responded in positive and stood cleaning the table. I think she was curious to see who has come to meet the almost orphaned Shirley Amma.

“Amma, I am here. Nurse told me that you are listening. I am fine. I didn’t get your letter so I realized that you must be dying. I am glad you didn’t die. I wanted to place you in the coffin. I had promised you, remember? Now if this life is painful then you may die, please. I will hold you through death just like I held Sam. It is only when you die that I will let go. I have also got a letter for Sam. Please give it to him. I wanted to ask for forgiveness but he left before I could even say sorry." I spoke almost breathless.

"I couldn't even say sorry to you. Have you forgiven me Amma? You know it wasn't my mistake, right?"

I saw a clear line of tears oozing from Amma’s shrunken eyes. She couldn’t speak. She just cried.

"Don’t cry Amma. I am better now. I have a girlfriend too. She is nice. Only that she is plump like you. And she speaks Malayalam too." I wiped Amma’s tears with cotton balls kept next to her bed.

The nurse looked rather stunned at my words. She thought I was insane. Who in a sane mind would ask people to die? From the look on her face I could read that she could not appreciate the depth of my words. Normal people could never understand that Amma and I were different. That what we nurtured within our hearts was an emotion which is not understood by many. It is called Love – Love? you feel it when you place your hand on your heart.

The link to Part II of this story is here

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