Sunday, February 23, 2014

to the edge and back... I

every time i reach that point where i feel so trapped, so desperate, i know i will lose it if i am not careful, i pull back.

for what else is there to do? it is this wish to live, or rather, the wish to do the best one can with life that is the death of us all. i won't mind dying. if i drop dead this moment, i won't have regrets. in fact that moment when i was hit by the car in May 2012, what i felt in the longest split second of my life, was not regret or fear of death, rather the dismay that Sri would have to deal with that too. i never felt that i don't want to die, just for my death to be easier for my family, and for me not to feel too much pain. i've known for quite some time that it isn't death that terrorises me. what scares me is having to live half a life.

and that is what makes me feel desperate, trapped...every time i feel that once again my life is about to be taken over by yet another health issue. the discomfort, or pain of ill-health is nothing compared to the loneliness of it. i never want to go there again. being ill was like a prison sentence. no visitors, no kindness, no smiling faces, no concerned friends. it was as if i had been convicted of some unmentionable crime against humanity. people turned away, without a word, without a wave. just left. up and out of my life. for i had become a loser. lost jobs, lost opportunities to study, lost energy to stay up or write exams, lost the freedom to hang out at all hours, go out in hideous weather and still be right as rain, lost the carefree you, lost reckless romantic youth... oh, what precious precious things to lose.

what scares me is not the thought of having a bad liver, or lung, or stomach. or broken and missing teeth. those i know i can live with. what scares me is having my friendships go bad, having my colleagues shun me, and my acquaintances stop acknowledging me. if you are in hospital you are good - you might still have visitors. if you have a leg or an arm in plaster, even better. if you have something you can put a scary name to, you would do well socially. what would detonate your social life in a second, is something you cannot name, something misdiagnosed, something undiagnosed but troublesome enough to tie to your house. people want the name that would allow them to judge if you are worthy of their sympathy, their prayers, their concern.

you put a name to your problem, they will put the price on it. the price you pay. not a few lost evenings, a few social outings, a picnic or two, and an office party. lost years, lost names, dates, friendships. that is the price you pay if your doctor messes up his diagnosis and fails to provide you with a name to satisfy your social circle with its seriousness, its reality. even with a name you might not score high enough - people have their own ideas about what is worth worrying and what isn't. god forbid if your illness falls in the latter category. so you are not well? what's wrong? why don't you take better care of yourself? oh you are too fussy - you should be stronger...why don't you go out a bit more? you can't be that weak! stop thinking so much about your own life...blah blah blah and see everyone knows more about your life and body than you do. stupid you.

Friday, January 10, 2014


too soon, the sun has set
and now i have to walk back.
back all the way to my books
the books which made me clever.
books which make me forget.
books which make me hunger,
for the thousand lovely deaths
they bestow kindly upon me.
and, bury my terrible fears.

too soon, i have to walk back
deep into those fears, with no one
whose hands, i’d kill, to hold for a long long time.
no one but my lovely mind,
and my thin, sighing body -
wrapped up so tight in layers
to cope with the cold spread out,
around me like something familiar -
as familiar as the tautness, that tears my heart apart.
cold that has never left my side,
nor my clammy hands and feet.
till there was no warmth left, none,
except, in my lovely mind.

and now,
that i’m walking back
to my songs, my words, my tv shows
i feel my eyelids close,
close down on the sun behind the houses
taut, and drinking in, that last ounce of sunlight
greedy, petulant, stubborn . . . resigned.
and i see the darkness close down
on a million lives inside the houses
births, deaths and struggles
paychecks, cuts and strikes
lost lunches, bags and smiles
all the things in my clever books,
my mind refuses to leave behind.

and the sun goes down again,
and i wish my mind would, too.
for it is so lonely a walk -
back and forth, and back again -
looking for a cold, so cold a sun
that comes up - only to haunt
day after day after dreary day...
but, refuses,
to light up
a million lives inside a million houses
lives bursting into awesome rages, bursting into haunting song
all locked up - inside the houses, tied
to their births, deaths and struggles
and their pay-checks, cuts and strikes
those lost lunches, bags and smiles -
all the ties, my clever books
tell me quietly, are hard, to undo.

yet, for these ties to be forever undone, 
i would give up the ten minutes, 
someone kind, 
put down against my name, long back:
my ten minutes, in a blessed sun.

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