Living with the unusual

5 a.m and 8 nights later, the Mother refuses to sleep despite all the medications she is given to get some shuteye. The Doctor may discharge her in the morning (which might be a fallacy, since I have been hearing that for the past 4 days) and that is causing the anxiety. She loves hospitals and has been making practically an annual pilgrimage, since I was nine.

Some days, which are more frequent now, I get fead up. I realise how politically incorrect that statement is but some days I want to lock myself up in a room, scream till my voice gets hoarse, cry till my eyes turn red and break things till my head stops to throb. The pressures of dealing with a father who starts drinking at 11a.m and a Mother who has been unwell for more than three decades has of course taken a toll on my health. My BP starts to fluctuate, I have more and more anxiety attacks and I know my own sanity hangs by a loose thread. The only thing that keeps me going is a memory of a far off place. Sitting by the Dal Lake, driving through the Western Ghats…sitting with a camel trader in Pushkar, reaching Kanyakumari. The advantages of escapism, my dear.

The trouble with being in a complicated situation is not just the situation itself but the pressure that society puts on you. I’m quite adamant so I don’t give in that easy. But it’s another way in which people judge and try to imprison you.

I have an aunt who is of a similar disposition as my Mother. She has two sons-the elder one, more attached to the mother is a lot like me, has one foot on each boat ( of sanity and insanity). The younger one is very successful. He has spent the majority of his grown up years away from his family and now lives in a different city and has a wonderful life. I am not trying to give you the pros and cons of living with or near your parents, here. But this what people say about them. About the older one, ‘ he does’nt do anything’, ‘ what is wrong with him’ blah, blah , blah. About the younger one, it is ‘how can he be so selfish?’, ‘why couldn’t he at least live in the same city as his parents?’.,.blah, blah, blah. Now, pray tell, what are they supposed to do?

A lady I interviewed many years ago, Merry, told me that she faced the same kind of judgements. Her son, was diagnosed with autism, more than two decades ago. When you meet her, her positivity will surprise you. She is not just someone’s wife, she is not just the mother of an autistic child. She is a woman who has fought for her child rights as well as her own rights- to live a well balanced, happy life. She works, she travels, she chills out and of course she takes care of her son.

A couple of weeks ago, as I lay alone without an attendant on my hospital bed, I got a lecture from the hospital staff about getting married.’You need someone who will think about you’, said the lady from the front office who came to pay me a visit. Now, tell me how fair is it to get another person involved? I think it would be quite sadistic and terribly selfish on my part. Though, there are a number of people who think I am so selfish that I dare to go away when I want despite the fact that my Mother is unwell and I heard so much rubbish, including someone fabricating a story about my Father being unwell, to get me back from my K2K trip. But this getting married to make my life easier, ain’t my cup of tea.

Miss

Dear Love

Each time I think I have almost forgotten you, something comes up that makes me miss you like mad. Some nights, nights such as these I wish you were around. Though, you hated hospitals and I don’t know how useful you would have been in handling your Mother right now, it would have been nice to be worried together. We could have cracked jokes on death and dying, pulled each other’s and our Mum’s leg and nobody would have thought us strange.

We could have yelled and screamed, fought and cried and only we would have known how terrified we are of losing her. Without you and G, it’s too tedious to bring the bring the guard down for anyone. You would have handled the relatives with your sweetness and handled the Father with your charm.

But you are not here and I am our parent’s only surviving child. I shall have the privilege of watching them wither away and die by myself. All the time pretending that I got this shit covered.

Ye duniyaa bhi ajeeb he dosto

Yeh jab tumhare zakhm dekhti he

Ussi samay khuraidne aatee he.

Jab tumhari majburi dekhti he

Ussi pal tumhe rolane aati he.

Iss uuch neech ke naatak mein,

Iss sahee galat ke khel mein,

Insaaniyat kahi gumm si ho gayi he.