Thursday, November 26, 2009


She was sitting in her favorite place in the balcony of her apartment stroking her slightly protruding tummy & sipping coffee. No, she wasn't a coffee addict like many her age, but probably she figured I'm a Coffee Freak and the coffee she sipped would pass on through the umbilical cord to me. I was lying there half asleep when tiny droplets of coffee trickled on my face and I opened my tiny mouth and tasted my very first drops of coffee. Mommy then stroked her tummy again as I moved inside, thanking her for the coffee. I knew she loved me a lot, though she never really said it like anyone else would normally do. But I was her little baby and she called me sweet names in the sweetest ways possible almost every minute. Also the fact that she named me Lov-E made me believe there was none she loved more than me.

The word Lov-E meant a lot to her as much as it did to me. It was short for Lovable-Embryo and also E for the greatest E’motion in the universe –Love. But sometimes I felt mommy wasn’t too convinced by the emotion, even though she was already impregnated by the feeling and it was growing inside her –everyday, every minute, every single moment. Sometimes mommy would be so lost in her thoughts that she wouldn’t answer the questions I asked her. I donno if she never heard me or if she chose not to listen. But I always spoke to her, I spoke my heart out, poured my feelings into the amniotic fluid and into the blood that flowed in from her body and out through mine. But my words got dispersed in the vacuum and at times were mostly incomprehensible or half baked ones which didn’t matter much to mommy.

Mommy wasn’t convinced about the power of Lov-E that grew inside her and sometimes I think she didn’t want me in the first place. I remember she had asked for some ‘time’ to think over it and get ‘used’ to it. She was excited from the very first day but she was at the same time not too sure if the excitement would last long enough until all this grew bigger. She was afraid she may lose all this excitement in the coming days and all this might be a passing emotion, something that wouldn’t last long…. Just another phase in her life! I guess she had her own share of bad experiences in life but I wanted to scream and tell mommy this wasn’t gonna be like anything she had experienced before. “This was gonna be the greatest adventure ever mommy… You and the Lov-E that’s growing inside you will make it through every storm & every dark day… Get over your insecurities… You juz have to believe me mommy coz I’ll never let you down…”

But she never heard me, and never once believed me. She sat in her balcony and finished her coffee and walked away to do other things more important to her. Whenever she went to her office she was always worried about what her friends said about her. Some of them obviously didn’t like the ‘visible change’ in her and voiced their opinions. Mommy pondered over the effect of the change in her and wondered why she had to go through all this. Her already confused brain worked overtime and with each passing day she fell into a hollow of depression and self doubt. Sometimes it affected me, sometimes I pretended it didn’t affect me at all and closed my eyes and went to sleep almost drowning myself in mommy’s blood which was beginning to poison my mind and my body. The tantrums she threw affected my brain and her silent thoughts were acting like a silent killer and beginning to take its toll on me.

One day mommy said what I had never dreamt I’d hear even in my scariest dreams. “I don’t want Lov-E...” she said stroking her tummy. I was slightly sick and had almost fallen asleep, but those words fell on my ears like a huge boulder thrown on me mercilessly crushing my nimble body underneath it. Maybe she didn’t mean to say it, maybe she had no clue what she was doing. Maybe she said it to herself and didn’t want me to hear it. But it woke me up nevertheless and hurt me much more than she could possibly imagine.

I lay awake all night crying and wondering why mommy ever said those harsh words. Did she ever stop to think what I’d have to go through because of her rash decision? What about my little dreams? What about all those things I imagined I’d do with her? What about all those sweet words she told me from her favorite balcony? What about those promises of giving me the moon? What about those kisses and hugs and loving whispers I dreamt she’d shower me with? What about those assurances she gave me when I felt lonely and lost and wasn’t sure what I was doing in her womb? What about all those times I made her smile whenever I tossed and turned in her tummy? Was this how it was supposed to end? Is this what I deserved after all that we shared mommy?

You should've rather named me Dog-E mommy, maybe then even if you abandon me I'd be picked up from the street by some dog lover or some social worker. I still may have had a chance to live. But no! I was named this way for a reason, and you forgot what it was. If only you had used the 'time' you had asked for in a better way instead of cramming your head with futile imagination and negative thoughts you may have loved me as much as I loved you. You'd have known we were meant to be and this world would've seemed a better place for me and you. But it was not meant to be!

I wiped my tears and thought for a second. If mommy made a decision I must respect it and accept it, even if it means bringing harm on myself. I held on tight to the umbilical cord and waited for mommy to fall asleep that night. She must’ve been tired or maybe weary of carrying me and the burden I am to her tummy as well as her sweet li’l heart. She fell asleep as soon as she lay on the bed. As the night grew darker my tiny heart beat faster. I had to do it, but I couldn’t bring myself to it how much ever harder I tried.

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine my mommy’s kind face. One last time I sent a kiss through the amniotic fluid and said, “I love you Mommy... Forever and beyond” and pulled on hard at the umbilical cord severing all connections between mommy and me. Mommy suddenly woke up from her sleep and groaned in pain. She held on to her tummy and writhed in her bed. Blood gushed into my peaceful home in her tummy and I began to feel a terrible pain engulfing me. My half formed limbs and organs began to feel weak. Before I lost consciousness I pulled all the 'wires' around me and then closed my eyes and embraced my inevitable end.

Mommy didn’t know what was happening to her. She had no clue why this was happening either. That was exactly how I felt when you decided to kill me mommy... Now you know how it feels when a loved one walks out on you. You may regret deciding to kill me someday, but you’ll find that it’s too late to turn back time. There’s nothing you can do now coz I’ve pulled all the plugs at my end and ended all your miseries. But is this the end of everything? No. This is only the beginning of greater miseries for you. You may wanna have another Lov-E someday, but you would soon know there’s no Lov-E greater than me. There’s none who’d love you as much as I do. There’d never be a Lov-E that would be as much a part of you as I was. I’m leaving behind a trail of blood and my body for you which the doctors might call a ‘dead piece of meat’ or just a piece of foetal flesh. Maybe that was all I was to you. The doctors will also tell you that this was the last time you could have anything like Lov-E coz on my way out I've made sure you cannot have another one in this lifetime. I've left behind a void -a home that'll forever be empty.

Each time you stroke your tummy you'll remember me coz that was my favorite place on earth -the safest home where you hid me from the rest of the world and its miseries. You'll miss me when you have coffee coz I wont be there to share it with you and every day, every moment, every thing you do will remind you of me... and you'll miss your one and only Lov-E. You should have thought twice mommy, coz now there’s no going back. I’ll no longer be a burden to you.
Goodbye mommy.
I love you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mixed Feelings 2: Pre-Diwali Surprises

Oct 16. 2009:

It must have been around 10:00 or later in the morning when I tried to open my eyes, almost succeeding to open one a little more than the other. I looked for my cellphone & found it under my pillow. My sister had sent me an sms letting me know that dad's surgery went well & he was recovering well. 

Good! I thought. God must have been in a 'giving' mood this Diwali and if he has made this right he'll do the same for my other priorities -in the same order I had asked him to. I went to the balcony and the air seemed fresher and the day seemed brighter. I tried to inhale some of it and found I still have a cold. My body was hurting a bit more than the previous day & my temperature was also on the rise. I smiled. I looked up at the sky and said, "Thanks.... If you have increased my pain, it means that you've decreased the pain for dad & Elviz and also taken care of everything else as per 'our plan'..."

I went back inside, brushed my teeth, then put on some light clothes & went down to the restaurant on the ground floor of my building. I tried having breakfast but had a hard time swallowing as well as chewing due to the fever. I gulped down the coffee & left the food on the table. Ignoring the waiters and others who looked at 'weird eyed Joe' with a red nose & funny swagger, I went up to my room. The steps to the 3rd floor seemed never ending & as soon as I reached my room I crashed on my bed and went off to sleep.

I was woken up a while later by the sound of my phone ringing. I turned in my bed and looked for my phone on the table. It wasn't there. "Where the hell is it?", I thought. I tried hard to concentrate on the sound with whatever little sense that was working and figured it was coming from my pocket. I answered the call moments before it would've been disconnected.

"Hhh...lo?", I said. Wondering whatever happened to my voice.
"Hello?? ....Aakaash??", said a slightly aged female voice on the other end of the call.
I cleared my throat and said again. "Hello..."
"Is this Aakaash?", she enquired again.
"Yeah, Speaking... Who's this....?" I asked, while I analyzed the voice & ran it through my brain's database of female voices.
My feverish brain gave a quicker result than expected of it along with a helpful note to remove my confusion, if any. -This is a call from a Chennai no: dude... and you don't have any friends who fit into the age group of this particular voice -said the brain.
Before I could thank my brain for the timely tip, the female voice continued. 

"I'm calling from The National Folklore Support Centre..."
Without me prompting, my brain ran a scan through the database of people who were acquaintances or those I met or talked to recently.
The lady with kind eyes at the reception of the Folklore office smiled in a virtual image.
"Oh, hello ma'am... How're you?", I asked enthusiastically.
"I'm fine, thank you... how're you?"
"I'm... uh... pretty okie..." I replied half-heartedly.
"So... I've called you to let you know that you've got the job as Programme Officer at our office".
"Oh... Okay...."
There was no response for a bit from the other end.
"Thank you ma'am...." I added.
"Hmmm.... You're not excited, Aakaash?" She asked with genuine eagerness.
"Ah... well.... I'm sorry ma'am... I... Its just... I AM... I'm excited ma'am... but its like... my dad had been admitted in the hospital for a brain surgery yesterday and he went through the surgery today morning at 4:00 AM... and I've been crying all night... and also feverish & just woke up from sleep when you called... So.... But I'm really excited ma'am.
I don't know if she was convinced by that reply or if she thought she just ruined her day by calling a Mooney Loony boy. She transferred the call and I was soon connected to my new boss who 'officially' gave me the news that I was appointed as the new "Programme Officer" -Field Work, at NFSC, Nungambakkam-Chennai. 

I was seriously losing my ability to induce my vocal chords to produce some sort of sound at least remotely like talking. Somehow I managed to thank him for considering me worthy of the job and expressed my gratitude in the least possible way. The next thing on my mind as well as his was when would be the ideal date for me to join the new job. My heart skipped a beat. How on earth am I gonna tell him I needed to be with my dad now more than at the office. I somehow gathered enough guts & told him my dad's condition & that I needed to go home for at least a week or maybe until dad recovers. What had slipped my mind was the fact that it was Diwali & God a while ago was in a real 'giving' mood. So my boss spoke exactly the words I desperately needed to hear. He asked me to take my time & join on the first working day of November, which happened to be Monday, Nov 2nd.
Perfect! I thought. This just couldn't get any better.

I hung up on the call and gave out a loud screech. I went & stood in front of the mirror & said to myself. "Buddy.... You better get your act together now.... Life's gonna get absolutely hectic... and there wont be any time for anything else... So if you wanna have fun & play the fool... Do it NOW". 

Wooooooohooooooooooooo! I yelled, and then picked up the phone and called my best bud & bro Sujeeth Nair. As I dialed his no: & waited for him to pick up, I could hear Tamil drums being played in the background & crackers being burst somewhere in the close vicinity of my building. On any other day, I'd have passed it off as someone in the mood for some early celebration on the eve of Diwali. But, No. I chose to believe otherwise. It was the drum beat of my joy & celebration and crackers were being burst somewhere in the name of my personal victory. For a guy who was almost broke, had no cash to buy himself crackers or sweets or even receive sweets from anyone, and for someone who wasn't even planning to celebrate, this was more than he could ask for. The world being part of my li'l joy -I hadn't foreseen this one ever. 
I conveyed the good news first to Sujeeth & then my sister, who in turn passed on the news to friends & relatives. Everybody expressed their pride & excitement and I was sure dad was gonna be equally or doubly happy and maybe even recover faster now.
Next on my list of things to do -Go home ASAP!

Mixed Feelings 1: The Festival Hater

Oct 15. 2009:

It was one of the most unusual evenings I've had in recent times. My sis called me up and told me dad has been worrying himself miserably over the last few days, especially ever since I attended my last job interview and they told me they'd get back to me by Friday. It was only Thursday and dad already had his bouts of severe headaches wondering if they'd take me or dump me for a better and deserving candidate and my sis feared the worst and took him for a scan. The results came in and just like she feared it was another one of those internal bleeding cases, a subdural haematoma in medical terms... something we thought we had buried in our pasts. Already having had 2 brain surgeries in April and May 2009 respectively, it was too much in too less time. No one even dreamt there would be a 3rd one because the doctors assured us there was nothing to worry. So much for their goddamn assurance, coz sometimes god's plans don't go hand in hand with a doc's assurances.

The city of Chennai was gearing up to celebrate Diwali which was in a couple of days. Hoardings and posters everywhere suggested large scale celebrations and joy and fun times. Not for me though. If it were up to me I'd definitely have torn down everything that suggested happiness in the city. But then, that would be too selfish of me. So I walked ahead on the streets, almost ignoring people having fun and making last minute purchases or just going about their festive business. I had no clue what to do coz I was 'ordered' by dad before he was taken into the neuro ICU 'not to' rush home while ma job status was pending, and I was in no mood to celebrate Diwali as well.

Kerala is not known for Diwali celebrations as much as Chennai or any other state down south or up north. I had never really given it a thought as to why only my state has a problem with a festival that's otherwise so much fun & has a lot to do with gods who're pretty big deal in our state too. Maybe Kerala has an attitude problem or is trying to be different or perhaps the folks only wanna celebrate local festivals like Onam & Vishu [which by the way is not a local festival coz its known as Ugadi, Pongal, Baisakhi, Sankranti etc in other states. So there!] Anyways, I almost felt like my state, Kerala; while I was trying to "avoid" Diwali and say no to any kinda celebration. Yes, I did feel stupid doing so but had no choice not to. A pending job status, Dad in the Neuro ICU, Dad's 'order' not to come home, My best friend Elviz admitted in a hospital in Mexico due to severe health complications, Myself beginning to have a cold coz of the smoke in the atmosphere resulting from the Diwali crackers people burst in the narrowest of lanes without even thinking for once how it'd affect a person living on the 3rd floor of the adjacent building next to the shoddy lane.... and finally a sad case of one's self respect & worthiness hanging on the noose when someone you love more than your life accepts you & then rejects you in the same week & vanishes into oblivion shutting the doors of communication behind them.... Doesn't seem like a time to celebrate, does it?

I lay in bed half asleep that night, tired & worn out and sort of wishing if there was something I could do to change things.... at least one of the many things. Hours rolled by and as the wee hours of the night gave in to a dawn that was only a horizon away, my tears had dried up and i made my priorities clear to God. I looked out to the purple sky through the window and said; Take care of Dad & Elviz... They're the ones who need care & blessings... Forget ma job right now... Or bring it down the list coz nothing is important than these two to me... I can survive this cold or an impending fever and wouldn't mind succumbing to it coz in any case 'she' was making me feel utterly miserable trying to avoid me like the plague. Having been convinced that my prayers reached their destination i gave in to impending sleep or probably the weariness induced by several hours of crying.