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    Life's too short to leave the important words unsaid!! consider things left unsaid and my thoughts unexpressed that may be valuable to u...& I promise you will have precious time !!!

    Saturday, 7 April 2018

    Snakes and ladders

    The universe has no special favourites. If we open our eyes consciously & look around, we will realise that whatever we have experienced, experiencing may have been our fellow being's experience yesterday or will be our neighbour's experience tomorrow. Right?

    Human life is really strange, mysterious, paradoxical and uncertain. The heartrending and painful cry of "why me?", comes naturally to every one of us, it seems.

    A few months ago, I had merely the worst part of my life. It was a pain meet like a parent's meet!


     And above all agony, it really pains when you see your mother weeping out of pain. Yeah, she suffered from later stages of Adenomyosis. So, we admitted her to a prestigious multi speciality hospital in Chennai. Almost, we had been there for a month merely.

    But that One month, meant a lot to me & I never thought I would be writing this; at least this is what that each day there put me into. 

    As all the deluxe and single rooms were engaged, we had no way than to opt for a semi-private room. And that I would see as a blessing in a disguise. 


    The woman in the immediately followed bed was as old beyond a natural lifespan and paying the price. While her heart beats stubbornly within her pigeon chest, her skin was so fragile it ruptures on anything more than the softest of touches. The open eyes were not focused but moved randomly, white, obscured with cataracts so completely that I could not tell her eye colour. Her hair was wispy over a scalp that shows signs of pressure sores, pink from the constant contact with pillow or chair.  Since the doctor came to assess her, I raised my voice and called her "Paati Paati, can you hear me? After no reaction, the doctor then smiled at me told that she was still in there alright, just deaf and blind. 

    I was devoid of my reactions. 

    And in the bed being directly across our bed, a young woman was trying to open her eyes slowly after a quiet time she was under wakefulness. Amidst, I heard a sudden loud cry of a boy. I turned back instantly where I saw a boy, bandaged from head to toe. He was whimpering in pain. His eyes spoke of a terror that I could only imagine but had never experienced. There was blood on his forehead and he kept saying, “Amma Amma”, but no mother ran to nurse his wounds or coo comforting words to the wounded seven-year-old. Not that she didn’t want to, but she couldn’t. She was battling for her own life in the ICU of the same hospital. I was horrified by what I saw.

    And that young woman held my hand that made me inattentive from the little boy crying. It seemed like, she has something to tell me. And I let a plastic smile on her. Plastic smile! Yes. I was totally broken with all that happened there. 
    She pointed the bottle at the terminal of short, the small plastic tube that tracked from her vein. Some intravenous fluids were directed as drips. It was about to over, that she wanted me to inform the nurse. I smiled again and said, "okay, wait!"

    "I was talking about the...", she said in a soft, shallow voice. 

    "What?", I said and went near her bed and sat.

    "I was talking about the cornerstone of our very existence, 'the DNA' to a panel of eminent scientists. I was deeply engrossed in my presentation and that was when I felt like urinating. Yeah, it was around 1 a.m.! Fooled by the woolgathering, I woke up to nature's call. And that was when 'the pain' started to crawl....slowly towards my loins. It was very excruciating. I have  rough experiences of the renal calculi(Kidney stones in medical terms)."

    She continued.

    "You could never imagine what these tiny monsters could do when they take this journey from kidney to ureter. I could not find the emergency tablet I was trying to stay calm amidst the unimaginable pain, I didn't want to wake my parents at an odd hour like that. All my attempts to the washroom were an utter failure, but it did succeed in waking up my father from his sound sleep. And its all the story I got admitted here", she said.

    I let a smile, not plastic now!

    Since I stayed there in the hospital for last two days, my sister replaced me for taking care of mom and so I and Appa left. And that night, when I went to bed, myriad horrendous images kept playing into my mind until I finally found comfort with my Appa's words. 

    "Why, why, why, Appa, why is there so much suffering??" 
    I cried and cribbed telling him all that was not okay that day.
    He held my hand in his warm and said, "Pain is a consequence, but suffering is your choice."

    Not understanding what he meant, I looked at him indigently. He smiled and said, "Pleasure is when everything is going your way. Pain is something that is not going the way you wanted it. So the question should have n't been, "why there is so much suffering?"....It should have been," how can I ensure that even though there is the pain, there is no suffering?"

    Thoroughly confused I stared at him. He stared back at me until I finally started giggling and said, "Okay, now please explain it all"

    "You see...", he started.

    "Ladders are the times when things go exactly the way you want them to and you find yourself, literally 'on the top'. Snakes are the variety of problems that come to bite you just when you think life is all beautiful.
    The snake in your life could be a heart attack, cancer or paralysis. The snake in your life can be a divorce, death of a loved one or not having enough fulfilling relationships surrounding you. 

    The snake could even be self-created emotions like jealousy, hatred or low self-esteem or it could be being in debt, business plans backfiring or simply never having enough money to do all that you want. 

    Of course, it could be external catastrophes such as natural and man-made disasters. Yes, the snakes come in various shapes and sizes, & bite you just when you think you have got it all figured out. But tell me, how boring life would be if there are ladders and ladders only?

    For, while ladders make you feel good about yourself. But, it's the snakes that challenge you to improve yourself-  explore a new thought & grow. It's the snakes that give you the thrill of reaching the finish in spite of them biting you all along the way. Snakes add excitement to the life.

    Snakes tell you that there is something wrong with the way you were going- rethink, re-plan & set off once again. Snakes reveal you to yourself."

    There must have been some understanding, some comprehension of all that was being said reflected in my eyes. He smiled and continued.

    "When life throws a challenge at you- it's its own way of checking whether you have evolved or not.Your old pattern of thinking and self-beliefs brought you this snake- but are you willing to change them and climb a higher ladder is your evolution. Imagine life being a school. After the seventh standard, why were you promoted to eight standards? Imagine if you were to continue being in the seventh standard for years, would it be exciting?

    You would know the portion by heart & even if each year, you would top the class, wouldn't there be a desire to evolve? To grow? To go to the nest standard? To test yourself with a newer challenge, more difficult sums, more unknown experiences?
    Then why not with life?

    I know that it pains him more than me since the woman I have been worrying about is his "wife". But still, he convinces me. And it has been his habitual action to make me wonder at him with awe.

    "However bad the traffic jam, maybe, eventually we will reach home.", he said smiling and switched off the lights and went out. 

    I slept with a conclusion that life beyond the imaginary finishing line is and will be beautiful.





    With smiles...
    Swathi Mohan
    (Investing myself completely in the art of living)





















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