Thursday, May 02, 2013

As things go...

Things have been rough for my parents lately. Both have been very unwell since the last two days. I had made a frantic trip to Bombay yesterday and I watched both of them slumber in states of semi-consciousness. I have seen either one of my parent unwell at a time. Not both. Watching them both that way, looking so frail and weak, was a revelation. I did not think...I know it sounds silly...but I did not think both could be so weak at the same time. I didn't think my family was designed that way. I had never imagined that. I had imagined one ill, one strong, or both strong, or even one alive and one having passed on. But I had never imagined what it would be to have both of them not respond to my voice or not hold my hand or tell me what was going on in their world. For a sharp moment, when I didn't think they were breathing, I remember sensing the room spin wildly. I wasn't having a dizzy spell or anything but I was so confused. It can't possibly happen to both my parents at the same time. They can't possibly BOTH go. One of course has to be there because well, certainly I need to have a say in these matters or some su chvain thought crossed my mind. But they were both so quiet that they seemed small. They were curled up on the bed and lying so softly, so deeply, and so peacefully. Everything was so hushed. Both their bodies seemed like they were at some phase where this world and everything in it had just melted away and they'd slowly dissipate into some other realm. They would vanish and I'd be left counting the number of sunflowers on the bedspread. It was a very bizarre experience.

What was even more bizarre was an interaction. My parents were at the receiving end of some thievery that was covered in some newspaper. That piece of news was emailed to me with some kind of a relish. I don't know why anyone would do that. To a friend. To someone they claim to love and what's that other word - yeah, respect. I don't see why or how an article about my parent's condition becomes so newsy as to merit a forward. There are many things my gut has been prepared for, over so many long years that I have lived and walked the earth. This felt like a really dirty, low betrayal.

This morning, they were feeling somewhat better so I left for Pune. For the good part of the morning I had pleaded that they come with me. They didn't want to. Then I packed my bags and hugged my mom and  hollered, "See you later!" (I have become superstitious about the word 'Goodbye' now. I'll never wish my parents that.) As soon as I came away in the car, without seeing my mom at the window because she was too dizzy to stand, or wave to my father because the bright sun was hurting his eyes - at that very second, every single thing stopped to matter.

I went to work, had lunch, answered my colleagues' queries about what happened, got some respite from chatting with someone else who was telling me about her pet cat, had cups of bad coffee, skipped gym, drove home very badly, almost colliding into cars and pedestrians.

Now I am sitting at home and typing. I still cannot understand how or what could make someone actually enjoy sending across a newspaper clipping like that. What kind of twisted humour is that?

My house feels so empty and my life at this point feels so meaningless that it is beyond comprehension. I never knew that it was possible to feel 'nothing' of such proportions. Is it possible for people to want you to suffer so badly that when something bad happens to your loved ones and not you, they will derive joy form it? Is that that even possible?

When I saw my folks like that - so feeble - I realised that lately, they have always seen me in the midst of heavy work or dire despair. When I become good and whole again, some other person gets the full benefit of my hearty, healthy self. Including the person who sent me that message.

Well, some learnings take a long time to hit home and today it did. Not everyone is worthy of my love and affection. And I will not follow my father's advice to 'love till it hurts' or my mother's advice of making sure that a friendship outlasts a quarrel. No. I will not do any of that. Whoever I need to get by happy in this life were asleep in that room and that one who looks back from the mirror. Everybody else is incidental - some possibly more meaningful than others. Some more painful than others. Some pain comes with growth. Some others comes with the question, "How much of a sucker will you be now?"

Today, I decided to answer exactly that question. I decided to answer, "Not any more."

With their eyes closed today, my parents opened mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You ranting against who exactly? Your post makes me think that the media in India has gone to, umm, dogs...