Sunday, November 23, 2008


"Take frequent feeds.. bland food will sooth you.. "I smiled at her

"I don’t feel hungry..” She bowed her face..

“But you need to eat frequently.. Your pain is due to hyper acidity..” I persisted

“I don’t feel hungry at all”

Her eyes filled up.

I watched the plump unadorned face....there were black circles under her eyes

I felt impatience rising within me

“Saradamma.. You need to move ahead.. Concentrate on your family..” Was my tone a bit sharp ?

She started to weep..

I felt so helpless..

She was depressed . Still in mourning.

Her thirty one year old son had died in an accident two and a half years back

Leaving a young bride and one year old girl child.

Saradamma hardly saw them .They were in Mumbai.. With her daughter – in laws parents..

“Take more interest in life.. Eat good food.. Go for walks.. Temples..”

“Don’t you want to go to Mumbai..? Visit them ? “

I smiled encouragingly..

“I don’t like going anywhere”

She started to sob..

“Please don’t cry. You are the pillar of your family. Think about your husband..”

“At least get out of the house.. Don’t just sit and brood. Go to temples then ..Get close to God”

“I used to be very close to God.. Now don’t feel that too” she shrugged.

I would have to suggest professional counseling for Saradamma..if things didn’t improve in her next visit.

“Take frequent meals.. Go for walks.. Pray more. Your problem is hyper acidity. Go out of house I spoke fast writing the prescription”

Patients were waiting me had no more t time to spare that busy Monday morning..

Mourning your child death.. Is there any pain more intense than that ?

I know a couple who distributes laddoos on their dead son’s birthday.. Every year. To the whole school where he studied.

A mother once asked me if they could donate the organs of her brain dead teenager ..

I remember a woman I met on a train journey to Mumbai.. She talked to me late into the night the tears falling unabashedly down her cheeks. She didn’t even bother to wipe them away ..

She talked and talked.. Describing how exceptionally smart first born had been.. An IIT student. He had died in the hostel at Gorakpur.. With undiagnosed cerebral malaria.. Fourteen years back.

But once the tears had died, I remember her eyes glowing in the dim light as she spoke of her grandchild for whose wedding she was going to Mumbai.. About herblooming garden.. How one day old kanji water did wonders for her anthuriams and roses..

She even told me the recipe for perfect lime rice.

( I still follow her recipe)

As a child I had heard stories about a brother of my mom, who had died at the age of twelve due to typhoid.. My grandma used to stand on the terrace during the weeks following his death.. gazing up at the sky waiting for the stars to fall down..cos she believed that definitely the world was ending..

But the grandma I knew was so full of life.. Laughing incessantly. She loved cooking and would feed the whole brood lovingly.. Her mysore paks. Halwas.. Mutton chops.. Dried mango pickles…all were out of this world..

I remember her in her eighties bringing me steaming coffee at 4. AM as I sat reading for my medical entrance. Watering her plants herself..

They all had survived.. And moved on.

When one survives life’s devastations.. With acceptance.. Strength.. Courage .. And Hope.. There is so much power in that.. It becomes a miracle..

I would have to suggest professional counseling for Saradamma..

She too must move ahead.. With smiles.. With hope in her heart.. And love in her soul.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To be a child..

“Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of to-day. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul.”

-Francis Thompson