LIFE IS A SERIES OF BABY STEPS; AT THE END OF EACH STEP THERE IS AN EXAMINATION

The whole world was surprised when a a non-English movie won the Oscars a a few weeks back. The next morning every major newspaper applauded the movie, It was an epic moment for Koreans to celebrate ‘Parasite’ bagging not just the best film award but the best direction as well. Curiosity arose in me as to what might have been the plot of that movie which impressed the Oscar panel so much. Being a non-English movie it is difficult to create that impact crossing the language barrier. After a little wait, I did watch the movie. It was not my first Korean movie, yet my first of this kind of genre. Parasite depicts that part of life which most of us think is very normal in our day to day life, but the director Bong Joon-ho’s take on it made it a spectacularly woven story. I am not going to spoil the fun for you if you have not watched it yet, but I would certainly love to tell you that the movie is very impactful in many ways. I kept thinking about the movie for a couple more days. 

The best dialogue I loved was, “you know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all. No plan. You know why? If you make a plan, life never works out that way”. That is very very true. We always think we have planned well, ahead in time and are ready for challenges. At the exact time, life throws an unexpected twist. We might feel helpless and are lacking the strength to fight through it. It is life’s way of telling us, “Get up and keep going”. 

Three years ago, I went through the worst time in terms of health. Something was wrong, I could not see properly, I had balance issues, I couldn’t walk and doctors had no clue what was going on. I was struggling at work because of health. I remember one of the conversations I had with Chiradeep back then, “Dada, I don’t know anything else but to write software. If my eyesight doesn’t recover, I don’t think I can earn for living. My life was all going good a month ago and now I don’t know how my future would be like. The only thing I can think of doing is to continue writing using a speech to text converter, and have you as my editor“. Chiradeep and I had a good laugh over that. A month later, the doctors said my brain pressure is high and they have to do a procedure to check if there was any infection. 

The nightmare my mother doesn’t want to be in. She called up my father and started crying. “How can I take her to the hospital for the procedure alone?”. She was more scared of being alone there than my procedure. I can understand her situation. She never had been alone or handled things alone. The next day before the procedure, I told her, “Amma, listen to me. This is called a credit card, and this is the PIN number. In any emergency situation, don’t panic. You can use this card to pay for the bills. Don’t worry so much; nothing would happen. You just sit outside and wait. I would be back after the procedure”. She came back after the procedure to see me, as the doctor said I cannot walk. There was a sigh on her face. I bet she was worried about the results. My health took a good four months to recover, but during that time I have never given up. It was very slow and steady progress. 

In the above, my father had to take the exam of being a helpless father. I know he would have preferred to be with me, but he could not. My mother was worried about seeing her child suffering. I had no clue if I was even going to survive this. I wondered if I had cancer or even something worse than that. “Who would take care of my parents if something happens to me”, was the constant thought that bothered me. The situation is the same, but all our examinations were different. 

From then on, I did go through a lot of ups and downs both professionally and personally. Sometimes I even wonder I would have committed sins that are following me to torture me, Karma you know. Sometimes I think I am very lucky to have parents who support me in all walks of life. No matter what my decision is, they stand by my side. Without family, I would have been lost a long time ago. When I think of not having a family, I think of those orphans who live their life all alone without the feeling of family. Chiradeep always tells me, “Sona, human beings are social animals. To be alone is not how we are wired, so I can understand you find it very difficult some times” and he is right. A human being always needs at least another human being, who would care for them. As long as you have that one person in your life you would come out with flying colors in all the examinations life throws at you. That person can be anyone but should be the one who you can trust and who sees you as a part of his/her life. 

HOW ON EARTH I AM IN THE MIDST OF BABIES?

I, being a person who enjoys making fun about my own self, I rarely have any embarrassing moments as such that can really entertain my readers. Yeah, I had two such moments where I had to be embarrassed because I could not hold back my bursting bladder but let loose on a crowded street in my trouser once and in a cab another time. The first incident I had already shared in the comment section of Pradita’s article “Looking for the Loo” and the second one was quite similar to the first one, so I don’t want repeat it again.

Let me share something today which might be quite different than what others have shared or will be sharing.

It was in 2001, February 20th, when I had my second heart surgery. The surgery was over but I was in complete darkness and haze because of the effects of anaesthesia till the next morning. When a nurse woke me up in the morning the very next day, I heard cries of babies all around my bed in the Intensive Care Unit of Manipal Heart Foundation, Bangalore. I saw the morning shift nurses were looking at me with a confusing expressions reflecting on their faces while taking over the duty from the night shift nurses. I thought maybe the young nurses were fascinated by my handsome persona and that’s why they were discussing about me with each other… But I was in such a pain, that I was not so mindful of what they were thinking or discussing. Remember, I just had an open heart surgery a day ago and I was in a state where I only could thank my God for granting me another life.

Minutes later, I realised what they were discussing about me when I overheard a nurse asking a senior nurse in charge of me, “how come this patient of 25 years old was brought in to this Paediatric ICU?” The senior nurse smiled and walked close to me saying, “This is my 25 years old baby who was kept here because there might be a shortage of beds in the adult wards”. And all of them giggled looking at me though not in a bad intention yet I felt embarrassed wondering, why on earth I was between all the babies around me. I forced a smile looking at my nurse but was really mortified to know where I was at that moment as I tried to look around painfully tilting my neck, to see only babies and their cutie nurses all around their respective beds. Soon, to my utter dismay, I realised I was bare completely under the sheets like a new born baby while there were young nurses all around me. When one of them did the whole body sponging and her fingers caressed through my bare skin, at those uncomfortable areas of me, it made me feel embarrassed all the more.  Although I knew there’s no alternative to it and she was just doing what she was supposed to do. Probably, I would have enjoyed the bath if I would have been in a different scenario but not at least in the condition I was in that time. :p

Later that evening when my surgeon came to see me, my first question to him was, “Doc, why am I in a Paediatric ICU?” And it was a new revelation for me as well as the nurses around me when he addressed my question… “Chiradeep, you are a congenital heart patient. Your heart and lungs didn’t develop as of a normal adult and thus a Paediatric Cardiologist can only understand the movements taking place in your body much better than anyone else. That is the reason why you are in this particular ICU.”

After two days, I was shifted to a normal adult ward to my relief and did all my routines on my own that were supposed to be done privately.

Now, years later when I visit my specialist, I wait for my doctor in the OPD sitting along with the babies all around. When I go to the counter to register, they ask, “Where’s the patient, where’s the baby?” And I answer them politely with a smile, “I am the one, I am the patient… I have congenital heart problem and I am supposed to be shown to the Paediatric Cardiologist”.

It has become a habit for me now to get a surprise look from people about me as there are very few like me who must be moving around in the crowd. But I would say, my embarrassment 18 years back was not because of my silly mistakes or oops moments but it was because of a lifestyle that was in the process of being set for me inimitably by God over which I didn’t have any control at all. When I recall all, which have happened in my life in the past or still happening now, I get marvelled and gather them as precious lessons for my life and for the life of others to embrace them, to learn from them and to live.

Stay Blessed!

(Picture Credit: Google Inc.)