Dated, September 2008
I am angry.
I am frustrated.
I am worried.
I am confused.
I am aimless.
I am someone else!
Often, I question myself and get no reply. Everything looks the same and yet seems unknown. Familiar voices don’t make much sense. Lingering feeling of being sick despite a perfectly good health.
No drastic pulse in the recent past, which could have made me change so much, or atleast, nothing that I could remember. Maybe the lack of alcohol in my body was causing me to hallucinate. Maybe it was excruciating pain of saying no to drugs. Maybe my rusting idle mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe it was nothing.
Someone was laughing… AT ME! Who? I don’t know.
I found myself at a hospital, with my father. India’s best cancer hospital, or is it India’s best Private cancer hospital? I think it’s the latter, maybe not. We, the people, often relate below standard, time consuming & complete worthless service only with the government run organizations; This place, however, takes the cake with the cherry on top, or under the table in some cases. I couldn’t spot a single staff member under 40; be it the frustrated ‘over friendly’ doctor, hyper ‘laidback’ receptionist, horny ‘snobbish’ ward boys or the sexless ‘motherly’ nurse. They might be below 40; maybe this place makes them look old, ugly & heartless. This hospital is capable of infecting any perfectly healthy individual purely by its smell and/or depressing walls. Maybe it’s their business strategy. Just when I thought I had my hands full with life, I get this new ‘reality’ thrown at my face. My father is diagnosed with lung cancer.
Someone screamed ‘Take that you sucker’ and walked off laughing his heart out. Who? Screw it!
There is nothing worse than spotting pain on your father’s face. For you, he was the strongest man in the entire world. For you, he could do no wrong. For you, nothing can ever scare him. Now, he wouldn’t even look in your eyes, lest you find his fears.
The best you can do at such moments is keep your mouth, eyes and mind, shut. Keep telling yourself that it is nightmare & it will be over soon. That’s precisely what I did. I zoned out.
‘Hi I’m Rose, what’s your name?’
For few moments I forgot everything; no anger, no frustration, no confusion, no hate, only peace! The most beautiful creature on this hideous planet had made her way to my right. Ballerina shoes, hair pulled back neatly, toy mobile in hand, dressed in a cute pink outfit; she looked like a princess. I think she was one. Her smile blew me away. I had to smile back at her. She didn’t wait for my reply but made sure I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she ran from one corner to the other. I wasn’t alone; everyone had forgotten their problems and were smiling at this bundle of joy. She didn’t care; She was busy making faces at the staff members – almost taunting them to catch her. She introduced herself to everyone in the room without bothering for a reply. She laughed with all her heart and love all the attention. This went on for about 5 minutes before her mother escorted her to the doctor’s cabin.
‘Bichari ko brain cancer hai… I don’t think she’ll be around for her 6th birthday’ said the man sitting with my father.
I couldn’t believe my ears. I refused to accept it. SOMEONE THAT SMALL & HARMLESS DOES NOT DESERVE THIS! I wished that I could trade places with her.
Whistle followed by a sadistic laughter. Didn’t see anyone. Didn’t need to. I knew who it was!
Rose occupied my mind for the rest of the day and I kept wishing for ‘trade’!
Another sadistic laughter! Why now? What for? I was only wishing good for someone. All I wanted was to take place so that she can lead my life. Nothing! Silence! Clear mind! Selfish mind! Criminal mind!
Without even realizing I had wished the worse for that poor girl. She was living the way she wanted, she brought a smile to everyone, she made them forget their woes for that brief moment, she was loving the attention, she was smiling, she was happy! Look at me – I hate everyone, detest every emotion, happiness eludes me & I’ve even forgotten to smile.
She was merely losing her body while continuing to live in everyone’s memories – I am dead and nobody even realized it!
Dated, June 2011.
My father is cancer free for three years. Rose passed away in April 2009.