Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paradise Lost

I was just wondering how we react to changing circumstances and whether that really makes us master of our own fortunes to the extent we'd like to be. A friend put up photos of her sister's newborn baby yesterday and that was the trigger for these reflections. I just can't get over the wonder of the process of growth of a newborn into a full fledged adult and then actually leaving the nest to discover life. The sheer contrast between the helplessness of the infant and the ruthlessness of the adult astounds me. I was watching 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' yesterday and the experience of innocence transforming into experience was a marvel indeed. It's been going on for ages, this metamorphosis, and yet one wonders. At the cycle of life that fuses good with evil and makes us embrace both to attain wisdom. No use grieving over the once trailing clouds of glory and the angelic (if limited) existence that we were cocooned in. Much as they might have wanted to, parents have never been able to shield their children from the darker, baser side of life. It will happen. One way or the other. And they all (even the victims, at times) remain unhappy onlookers (and even participants) of that momentous occasion.

Ma slipped and fell down the stairs of our home on 17th Feb, 2009. Her nightdress and chappals caught on the rails of the collapsible gate that looms midway between our ground and first floor and dragged her down several stairs, taking her by such shock that it was all over before she realised that something had happened, and further, not being able to get up indicated at some unpleasant development. Mitu called me up frantically here and I ransacked my address book to locate the phone numbers of a couple of neighbours and relatives who might be able to reach the spot fast before the situation took a turn for the worse. Both Mitu and K tried Baba's cellphone but it went on ringing without any vocal response. It was 11.45 here at night and we had just been about to turn in for the night. Finally, we managed to communicate with Dr Sur, our neighbour (a very old gentleman) and Pranab Kaku. They promised immediate aid. A couple of hours later, K woke up a headache-treated-with-crocin-groggy me to offer the information that Baba had arrived and they had reached Baba's hospital to get an X-ray done. Ma had torn 60 of the 1000 ligaments of her ankle, the condition being serious enough to be bracketed as a simple fracture and impair normal movement for more than 21 days. Three whole weeks has now been extended to a month, Mitu tells me. The whole world has gone topsy turvy at the small Mandal microcosm and I'm just sitting here and drowning my helplessness and pain in words. I now realise what most women in patriarchial society lose with marriage : the solace of happily executing their own small but well-demarcated duties to parents and siblings in an oh-so-familiar world. My own situation is not the general one perhaps. Not everyone is living in a different land after marriage. But you can't but concede that yes, it has the potential of developing into the permanent and general situation some day in this era of mass migration and globalisation. The trauma of being a hapless (n)on-looker of the trials & tribulations of one's immediate family and too far away to be of much practical aid is an agony I don't possess the audacity to express in words.

This is the same parent that carried me in her womb for 9 months and nurtured me for God knows how many sleepless nights and days. Maybe she continues to do it even now. And here I am. A sphinx of solipsistic splendour.


joyita said...

I so agree with you.....its such a guilt ridden life sometimes....

Clytemnestra said...

OMG! That's bad, poor Kakima. And I know exactly what you are going through - its so hard to escape the dilemma & guilt of divided loyalties. Its so frustrating not to be able to do anything.

gul said...

oh god! I so hope your mom gets well soon.. n i can understand how you feel sitting here not being able to do wht u oh-so-wanna do... its my worst nitemare :(
I can only hope this situation doesn arise again!


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