Little reminders

Being my own best friend is probably even more powerful than it sounds. I’ve been groping in the dark for faith, for reason, for light. And then, I find this, written three years ago, or slightly longer…by me. And to think I’ve been brooding over bad traffic, space constraints and petty mind games. When I wrote this, my maternal uncle was battling cancer and the family plunging deeper and deeper into the despair of watching a second loved one dying before their eyes, in the space of 4 years. And I was encountering the disillusionment and vileness of the working world for the first time. Surprisingly, I pulled through. When did I forget how to?

This morning I thought that real rejuvenation could only come from the company of the young, untainted by cynicism, unbroken by disappointment. But I guess real inspiration comes from those who have weathered it already. I stand in awe of both, youth and old age.

14 October 2004

Yesterday was voting day and I left home early so I could register my vote before going to work. I felt a little silly especially since all my friends who were working shrugged and begged off and the lucky ones with a holiday decided to ‘enjoy it and chill out’. As I walked into the schoolroom, deserted as it was at the early hour, I realised I must be the only voter there below 50….and one of the few below 60.

Today I drifted back home wondering whether I’d missed a cycle and somehow the nightmare world had got interchanged with reality…I seem to be going through 18 hours in a dazed state and 8 hours in complete comprehension…instead of the other way round. I walked down the road, my vision a blur as I kept dabbing at my eyes and finally I broke down. For the first time in months I cried….and cried…and cried.

A little old lady in snow-white hair and a sleeveless terrycot dress ambled up to me, patted my shoulder and said

Are you feeling alright dear? Is there a problem? Are you not well? You can talk to me.

I managed to shake my head and indicate the phone in my hand. After the call I went to say thank you to her for caring enough to ask…and I had to stop and talk..and listen to her story. So many little things she told me….that she was 80 and loved people and life, that she had lost her husband to cancer 10 years ago and what a wonderful, loving man he had been and how much he loved her…her eyes gleamed as she said,

Cancer is a very bad thing. He was 80 years old when he died. I am 80 now.

She told me how she loved coming out for walk and talking to nice people like me, how her neighbor had taken over her house and was trying to oust her, how she cooked for herself, cleaned her house and walked and talked and was never sick.

Life has come to me in huge, overpowering waves recently.
I am watching a loved one sink into an abyss where no one can pull him out.
I am holding together like a dam against the flood of the grief of the people around me.
I am fighting battles that everyone says are routine but rough nevertheless.

Yes, there is a lot of pain in this world
There is injustice and grief and jealousy and manipulation and cruelty and sadism and weakness and terror.
But there is also hope, blind optimism perhaps but hope nevertheless
…I have seen it in slightly breathless but determined faces of the senior citizens who believe that this country is theirs to respect and run.

There is courage and compassion and inspiration….in the eyes of an 80-year old widow who fights worse battles than mine and more bravely.

Yes, life has its miracles.

9 thoughts on “Little reminders

  1. your words have so much inspiration to me…I too am boggling battles within myself that no one seems to understand or take seriously…I try to talk to the people that say I can lean on them but in the end I just feel that I have burdoned them and end up under the covers of my bed holding a box of tissues and asking myself “what happened to you?”

  2. No words will do any justice…just know that this is beautiful…!!!

    You from the south region of the country….loved the piece with mum and the word power scene from RD…: )

  3. Do post the blog address where I can find the post that you have mentioned in here. I would like to read articles/posts in the vicinity of that period.

  4. @ dazzlecraze: From experience…writing helps. Take care.

    @ Dusty: πŸ™‚ Thank you. But I’m not from the south region, me Mumbaiker 100%!

    @ Gaurav: I don’t keep track of meets so I’m the wrong person to be asking.

    @ Dreamcatcher: My one and only reader/fellow-blogger from those days! πŸ˜€ Right you are, of course!

    @ Brad: This is from my early days (see my reply to Dreamcatcher). I’m migrating posts from there now and then.

  5. Cancer was always around … hear so many people going through it ……..but when it hit closer to home it really became big for me.

    One of the hardest parts for me and something I still get a litlle teary eyed about was looking at my loved one without her hair.

    I have resolved and am really keeping up to it never to complain about my beautiful hair again.It’s like you forget and need to be reminded off and on what’s really important in life

  6. Beautifully written. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it any of my other comments on other posts elsewhere, but I love the way you write.

    Thank you, for passing on to your readers the inspiration(s) that you yourself have gotten from the young and the old.

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