What Will Give You Happiness?

 

This question was posed by a friend to me a couple of days ago. Without batting an eyelid I said – “If Amma, gets seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, that will suffice.” He replied, – “But Mahesh, that is not in your hands right?”

I replied – “But that’s my biggest worry and concern at the moment.” He replied – “Mahesh, we are all in our wormhole of problems, wherein the health issues that our loved ones face impact our own focus. Even my Amma has a severe problem of the swelling of her feet and nerves, I can’t do anything about it other than advising her to follow the course of medicine prescribed by the doctor.”

His reply set me thinking, what would then really give me happiness:

1 – Getting the home loan paid in totality. (A long road ahead of about 14 years beckons)
2 – A song that amplifies my thoughts –

3 – One more: –

What will I be remembered for? What will you be remembered for? What is it that will give you happiness? How does the health of our loved ones impact our own choices and lives?

I type out this post as I see my mother lying with her eyes deeply shut trying to zone out the pain that afflicts her head and ears. We visited the ENT specialist, she says the eardrums have holes in both ears and there’s nothing more to be done. No moisture to go in, no cold to afflict and no buds. It’s been less than a fortnight at a new organization, but the patterns return, again an unplanned leave, again a vortex of hospitals, doctors, medicines and cutting a sorry-figure before those whom I report to – an endless stream of thoughts that boil down to the query – “What will give you happiness?”

I can at this point counter with a thought – Why is it important to derive happiness, why can’t just one remain – and why is sadness and pain such a big deterrent? Pain drives one in strange ways, it teaches you to believe that things can’t turn any bitter.

But it is this pain that when it afflicts a loved one that causes added misery. If only I could take all her pain and struggles and absorb them within my own realm. If only I could, if only….

I resign myself to the master: –

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Hospital Memories

It may seem strange, but I do recollect the hospital where I was born after a marathon struggle that my mother and the operating doctors underwent – Portland Hospital. It is said that I was still-born and there was no response and the doctor as a last try whacked me gently on my butt and I broke into a wail, announcing my presence!

My next memory is that of my maternal uncle returning one evening from work, perspiring abnormally and clutching his chest. We proceeded to admit him to a hospital where he was treated for a massive cardiac arrest.

The next memory of a hospital is a pleasant one of seeing my aunt’s son being born!

This is followed by my nephew being born in a nursing home and my sister all smiles but tired.

After this, every single memory of a hospital has been nerve-wracking and physically and emotionally full of turmoil. From losing friends, from seeing friends having a close shave with death, of having multiple close shaves with death myself and somehow escaping the Grim Reaper; these all remain as distinct memories. The devil within the brain, does not let me forget the smallest of details, each memory is full of pain.

The past few years have seen me rushing to the hospital with unfailing regularity with my mother seeking deliverance from a variety of illnesses. From fluctuating sugar-levels, cardiac issues, a broken arm, the list never seems to end. Last year was fluid build-up in the chest and lungs and almost a cardiac arrest-type of situation

This past fortnight was terrifying as we could not pinpoint what the core issue was and the reports from the labs found nothing significantly out-of-the-ordinary. Whatever she ate, she would vomit; she would not be able to stand and fall back onto the bed and complain of extreme dizziness.

Finally with some assistance from the cab-driver, managed to put Amma into the cab and proceeded to Sundaram Medical Foundation. En-route in the cab she vomited, then in the hospital’s emergency ward, she was put on nutrients, tests were run, some food advised to be given, which she again duly vomited after one bite. Tests were run and as is the usual protocol, the nurse would come out and call ‘Sharada Attender’ – A list would be given or a bill for a test and I would keep making the payments at the relevant counters. Finally, an ENT said it is the ears that have been severely infected and there is a pressure imbalance leading to the dizziness. Slippery sensation in the feet, linked to Diabetes and would need due course of correction later. Ears cleaned, medicines given and finally dinner she ate without vomiting and said food is bland! I was here thanking God that something went in to her stomach and she says – ‘Uppu illai’ /’No salt’!!!

Then doctor said let us do a CT-Scan and cross check if there’s any other issue in the ears or the head that may be affecting her and causing dizziness. Finally at around 12:30 AM the cleaning staff cleaned the floors of the sitting area outside the ECU Ward. People began to spread sheets and lay down, I managed to lie down on the steel-chairs and found a place under a fan and went into a disturbed sleep and nightmares that keep haunting me every night; of the inevitable, painful truth!

Nurse came in by 4:30 AM, some more tests and some medicines to be bought! As dawn broke, like a gigantic robot, the hospital began buzzing with life, even as in various parts of the hospitals, life was being created, in some corner life snuffing out after a battle; the hospital awoke!

After a lot of discussion between the main doctor, a lady who was about 50 years old and who for some strange reason reminded me of Indira Gandhi and the ENT specialist, I was informed that we can leave for now and return on Tuesday for OP-review. Vertigo the reason for these problems!

We returned home and after a simple lunch and some rest, she vomited again and my helplessness continued. Medicines given, dinner given, fitful sleep, the next day dawns and vomiting again! The Gods are propitiated, rituals conducted with rice and requests to spirits of the ancients to safeguard us. In the interim, Amma’s friends from the nearby temple who are equally old and tired, call upon her and add to the moodiness and gloom and leave.

So far the lunch of samba ravai kanji has been consumed in portions.., don’t know what the evening and night holds in its wake; keep my mum in your prayers.

Till we meet again…

A Sense of an Ending – Life-Lessons in Free Verse

This trend to follow fads,
To add prefixes before names,
To crave for attention,
To pretend to be busy,
To choose to ignore,
The ones who care for you.
With practised ease,
Charm your way,
With white-lies and gossip,
How easy is this life?
Where is the value,
Of friendship in these troubled times?

I thought I knew you,
I now know,
That I hardly know myself.
Of groups and groups within groups,
Of name-calling.

The morbid need
To vilify others,
To mock others with rabid writing,
And lamest of lame jokes.
This is not what friendship is about!

As people find comfort,
In the company of like-minded geniuses,
I look at some pictures.

Some pictures that Facebook’s algorithm,
Chooses to pop-up on the screen,
Where are these people?
Where are these friends?
What changed in them?
What changed in me?
Where did I lose my identity?
Why did I surrender to self-pity?
Eventually, they all go away,
Best friends to good friends,

Acquaintances to strangers.
The transformation is complete.

No bitterness, no anger,
A sense of calm,
A sense of truth,
A sense of an ending,
That true friendships,
Can never exist,
Someone or something,
Will always come in between,
And when hubris grows,
It is pure self-destruction.
May God grant you light!
And please choose to do,
What you deem right;
I no longer have the strength to fight,
For you, for others, for myself!
I no longer care!
This had to get out of the brain,
Or I would never be able to set the demons free!

Soar high, make your dreams come true.
Good luck as always!

Jottings – 20/01/2017

Who am I?

Am I the son of my parents?

The brother of my sister?

A friend of those who treat me as their friend?

Who am I?

What is this intense pain?

That starts mushrooming,

Throbbing at my temples?

Why are the visions?

Of another life,

Returning to taunt me,

Haunt me again and again?

How long do I run?

Till which point do I run?

Where is my chance at redemption?

Will I ever find answers?

To the doubts that plague me?

I have not been able to be a good son!

I have failed my siblings!

I have never understood,

What my friends saw in me;

I have never been able,

To live up to their expectations.

Never have I been able to celebrate,

Their special moments,

As I sink further and further,

Into an abyss without an end,

Darkness creeps around me,

I embrace it like a welcome rug,

That comforts me!

But then I awaken,

From this endless dream.

I return to the mortal existence,

Of chasing mediocrity.

Life goes on,

And as I fail,

Yet again to dazzle,

You with my brilliance,

I continue to baffle,

You with bull.

No redemption…

 

One Moment of Madness

Why is it that the heart still bleeds?
Despite knowing very clearly,
That this was never meant to be;
Why like a fool,
Did I even dare,
To walk up to you?

Despite knowing with all my powers,
That I am a loser and a failure,
And you would mock me for sure,
Why did I even choose to ask?
Once a fool, always a fool.
This is the irony of life.

All I did was make,
An enemy for life,
How fickle is the mind?
All it does is take one,
One idiotic moment,
To ruin everything!

Bitterness is all that remains,
It increases in quantum,
With every passing moment,
And nothing placates the anguish,
The pain within that burns the heart.
No end to this foolish charade…., no end at all!!!

No light at the end of the tunnel

There is this subtle trick,
That the master magician plays,
You think that the darkness,
Of the days gone by,
Is a thing of the past.

You attempt at putting,
Every wound, every teardrop,
Every bit of anger and anguish,
Behind you, to start afresh!

But no, the constant reminder,
That the joke is on me,
Shows up in the strangest of ways!
Try as much as I can,
The darkness never gives way to light.

Perhaps some of us,
Are meant to only,
Stay behind in shadows,
Waiting for the Grim Reaper,
To call us out, to fulfill our duties.

Waiting…

Fears and Prayers

Hospitals scare me,
For someone who,
Has spent a lot of time,
In hospitals being a patient,
And being patient and attending others,
Hospitals scare me!

There is a deep sense,
Of dread within me,
I cannot put a name,
Or an emotion,
To this morbid fear,
That haunts me.

I am in awe of doctors,
Learned women and men,
With their white coats,
Stethoscopes dangling down,
Nurses attired prim and proper,
Walking up and down!

I am not scared of injections,
Bitter medicines or surgeries,
It is just the realization,
That one by one,
All those who mattered to me,
Bid me goodbye in hospitals!

As Mum and I battle,
Ghosts from the past,
And the demons of the present,
I wake up in the middle,
Of the night, a cold sweat breaking out!
I walk up to the bed!

And look at Mum,
Lost in the drug-induced sleep,
And I see her rhythmic breathing,
And catch my breath,
Pinching myself to make sure,
Everything is fine.

I say a small prayer,
And lie down on the mattress,
On the floor, chanting an incantation,
Forcing myself to go to sleep again.
This continues every night.
At times, sleep evades me.

I just sit cross-legged,
Staring into space,
Looking at the night-lamp.
The inevitable is the truth,
Life is but a gift,
And death a chance for redemption.

As visions and dreams haunt me,
I just cannot seem to come to terms,
To the brutal truth,
That I will have to bid – “Good Bye”
I am scared that it will be yet another painful
Heart-wrenching visit to the hospital!

Dear God! My only prayer to you!
If such an event,
Is pre-destined and in my destiny,
Please be kind my Creator,
Let the end be painless and peaceful!
Prayers, prayers, prayers – My Lord!!