Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two scars

  'Show me,' she says. I raise my leg and place it on the small stool. Just above the left ankle. Two marks. She examines it keenly. 'Does it pain now?' 'Yes...a bit.' She presses the area around the marks, slowly. An imperceptible shiver in the leg. Don't like it.

 'How did you allow it to happen? I mean...were you not careful?'

 Of course...I wasn't careful. I was mesmerized and lost....watching the aggression, the ferocity. Thinking that no matter what, I wouldn't be harmed, I wouldn't be hurt. Over-confidence...in the other. A strange amorous feeling... even in the midst of the attack. Careful not to hurt her further even after she sunk in her teeth. Wondering...whether to save myself first...or save her from my survival instinct which would kick in any time soon. Scared of my own aggression that's seething under the surface.........  I don't tell all of this. Just smile. The doctor must be 25 but acts as if she's a senior surgeon with decades of experience. A bit arrogant. Looks good on her.

'What do you normally do when there's a bite, doctor?' Addressing her as 'doctor' looks silly. As if she's a matron or a senior lecturer. A small badge near her left pocket...rayirath. I look up before she catches me reading her name. She's multi-tasking...attending a phone call, instructing(yelling) to a nurse, signing some papers, listening to me (catching my eyes all along). Restless, and focused. Sharp, sensual eyes. It must be the dark kajal...she looks like one of those models from Coskun Cokbulan's black and white pics(minus the nudity, of course).

'The anti-dote isn't available in all hospitals. Only a few stock them...the supply is less, and you need to change them every six months after keeping them in deep refrigeration. So first...do not panic....tie a cloth just above the bite, tightly...' she examines the marks again. 'Ya...tie a cloth. Then go to any nursing home and get precautionary injections to prevent the spread of venom. Then rush to the hospital that stocks anti-venom medicine.' She's already instructing the duty-nurse about another patient...an old lady with a heart-attack, her weeping young daughter outside.

'So...mr...!' I tell her my name. 'Ya...see...normally its advisable to kill it and bring it to the hospital so that the doctor can see if its venomous or not.' Impractical! Tamaashe na? 'Our place is teeming with these things, doctor(a small pain down there, like a nibble). We lost a dog recently.'

'Ok...take this chit to the counter and get it billed. And then the nurse will administer the injection. Come again on this and this day. You should be fine.' She turns away...and I catch her first name from the badge that swings along with the coat.

Crazy life.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Nick

 Alex. He wrote about Alex. Most of the time. The antics of Alex. His Cat. Sometimes I'd get bored reading about the cats adventures. And then slowly I discovered(my assumption, dunno). This old man, living alone in a city in US, blogging almost everyday, commenting on each and every blog post of mine....this old man was terribly lonely, perhaps. With nothing but his cat for dear companionship. I would wonder about his life, about his friends and family and others, about how he lived there in the land of plenty, yet hungry for human companionship, away from his near and dear ones...

Loved his jest for life. His witty comments full of love and compassion. Subtly guiding sometimes. Blessing me on important occasions. Writing about his past and opening a window into a beautiful, eventful life. Of course, writing about Alex and his other cats, subsequently.

Then I lost touch with his blog and got busy in my own world for a couple of years until Karthik pinged me one day, and asked me to checkout his blog. Nick was in deep poverty, suffering from neglect and bad health. A few of us gathered some money and sent it across to him. He was immensely grateful and ecstatic. A few hundred dollors of assistance...how long could it help him? What else could we have done, from here?

Then it was all downhill. Ill health. Cancer. Obesity. An operation and loss of ability to walk. Isolation in the hospital ward. Perhaps the biggest blow...being cut off from Alex and other kittens. Yet....except for the last couple of months, his joy towards life and optimism was intact. He regularly posted on facebook about what was happening to him and what he looked forward to.

I sincerely wished for his 'passing on' a few times, praying for a peaceful end to his suffering. And it has come about, a few days ago. Nick has moved over.

Heck...this passing over, this continuing the journey....sounds good to hear. Except that, those who continue their journey, they don't send back a post card from their new land. You're completely cut off from them and can access them only in memory. Wish it wasn't so. Wish you could connect to them at will. Wish....

 Can't be detached about it. Terribly missing Nick.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

On a shore without footprints...

‘Where are you?’ asks Madhavi. ‘She wants to see you.’

I can’t attend the function—full busy. But post lunch I can meet. ‘illa…she will not be here by that time. And she’s been asking everyone about you. Baroke aaguttha? Try mado…’

Aaagalla. A twisted feeling within. I feel like dropping everything and rush there but… And the next two hours, I’m floating in and out of the past. To a particular time period. For some reason, that part of the history is popping up again and again. As if it holds something to be healed, to be revisited and sublimated.

Teacher’s pet. I had no intention of becoming one but from day one, I went deep into studies. And the next three years, there was only one goal. To excel in studies. To be the very best. To score the highest marks, higher than anyone and everyone. A bit of football. Karate. And studies, studies, studies. Nothing else.

She was a gentle lady. Our class teacher for the three years of high-school. In the beginning of the term, when the first test results were out, I had scored extremely well. And after that, I started sucking up everything that was taught, as if I was a camel away from an oasis. Loads and bundles of appreciation from the teachers. Particularly from this lady who handled the English classes.

She was affectionate…loved by everyone. And when someone is a class teacher, you have an additional dose of belongingness towards them. Like you’re in a big joint family, and this woman who’s in charge of you all, she’s your Mom. An invisible, almost intangible feeling of warmth that flowed between her and the entire class, for the whole duration of three years.

High school ended. And we flew away. I went back just a couple of times to my school after that, to invite all the teachers to my sister’s marriage…and another occasion. Saw her once and she had a big grin. Enquired after me. ‘The world is competitive, you have to work hard to succeed,’ she would say. 

And then…it’s been almost a quarter century until today.

I go in the afternoon and meet up all the classmates. No…she isn’t there. A high school teacher…she must’ve seen thousands of students pass through her gaze, her teaching, her nurturing. Like a rock which bears witness to the flowing river across eons. I get sentimental thinking of them. A fine bonding lasting just a few years. Then more children…again they pass out. You embrace them for a while…and let go. How many faces do you remember?

‘But she remembers you…she repeatedly asked everyone about you.’ I see her in the photo, aged and frail. There’s warmth within…to be held in someone’s memory across decades. Wish I could meet her. Maybe I should’ve. Just dropped everything and rushed.

There’s this passing fear…that she wants to see where I’ve reached, for all the promises I raised in those years. And I have nothing earth shattering to show. Will I be a disappointment? Will I falter before her, in my hesitation and awkwardness? Or…is it just to look at me as I am, without expectations, with nothing but a gentle affection towards a once shy, stammering, studious guy? I would love to believe it’s the latter.

I may not meet her again. Or I may. But today brought the beautiful gift of remembrance towards a long forgotten soul, and also a satisfaction of knowing that I’m still being remembered. A gentle bow!