Tuesday, January 19, 2010

i am called death...part-1

I am about to die. Its not that I’ve been waiting for death. I mean everybody dies. I am 93 years old. I just got operated. I fell from a chair and broke a bone below my hip. I don’t know what it’s called. Imagine just falling from a chair and breaking your bone. They tell me I’ll walk again. Do I want to? Yes, why? I don’t know. What is it that is making me even try?
I’m sick and tired of these green walls. At times I just want to walk again so that I could paint them in a different color, even the divine ones. I look at myself in the mirror. I clean it, twice, thrice and then look again. It seems the same all the while. I can’t afford to look at my reflection. The reflection tells me that I have a face covered with black dots, some small and one very large. But even the dots aren’t able to hide my layered and withering skin. It’s as if somebody stretched it and it hasn’t been able to regain its shape. It’s soft, very soft and layered as if the volume has increased over the years. I look at my fingers. They shake all the time, even when I try to pick a pen.
It’s been two hours since I feel like peeing. But I haven’t asked anybody. Do you want to know how I pee? Two men lift me up with the help of a cloth which lies below my back. Like a large sack full of potatoes. They lift me and keep me on a chair while one man holds on to my operated leg. It’s a chair with a hole created for the purpose while a bucket waits for my shit below it. My operated leg rests on another bucket which sits in an upside down fashion. It’s actually better than my former way of shitting. I used to do it on a pan which was slid under me in the similar sack-lifting manner. My buttocks rest on an air filled tube. This has been done because my skin has wearied so much just below my back that I can’t put it back on the bed. They tell me I’ll walk one day. For whom?
My wife died six months ago I cannot recall how she died. My medication stops me from remembering. But there are a few prints on your imagination which no medicine can wash. I remember her face. The one which I saw on my wedding bed, glowing in the fading light of that lamp in my village. I fell in love with it the moment I saw her. Or the one which I saw right after she gave birth to my first son who is 61 years old now and sits next to me every night and responds to my calls almost in a servant like fashion. I don’t like calling him. I don’t like calling anybody. Just about a year ago I used to wash my own undergarments. I never asked anyone to put eye drops in my eyes. I did it all on my own. They ask me to eat.
How am I to tell them that I can’t feel taste anymore? That it’s all just the same. I don’t feel hungry. I don’t even feel weak for that matter. It’s just like a new state for me. A routine in which I don’t feel hungry.
It’s been two years since sounds started to fade on me, as if coming from a distant source and I can only hear the words pronounced with greater emphasis. I use a hearing aid but haven’t been able to make friends with it. So more than being an aid, it makes me feel more disabled.
It’s been a long time since I heard my voice. When I try to speak it takes me longer than usual to utter a word and I practice it for it for hours before actually saying it. It’s the inability to say it at the time I want to, that I am calling practice. And whenever a few alphabets said by me reach my ears through the hearing aid, I can’t recognize my voice. It’s not mine. I don’t remember how I used to sound but it certainly wasn’t like this.
My daughter just asked whether I would like my hair oiled. What difference does it make? But I said yes. Partly to make her happy, and partly to see whether I could recall any sense of feeling. It eludes.
I sleep for 12 to 15 hours of the day. I know this because I had a clock hung just above my head.

I always liked clocks. Time was always an important specimen for me since I was in the administrative service. I was a deputy collector. My life was spent in small towns of UP. Muzzafarnagar, Mirzapur, I can’t recall anymore. I remember these names because I spent a lot of time there.
That is my grandson standing at my left side trying to pick me up. His eyes tell me that he doesn’t like it but is trying everything to look otherwise.
He lifts me with the sincerest of efforts and tries to look away from my watery eyes. I think he sees to much pity in them and way too much fear. I think he can’t understand that fear. He takes it as fear of death. I want to tell him that I am not alive. I am just clinging on to a situation, like I’ve always done in all situations without feeling much about them, acting like a puppet at the hands of a pseudo- force from which I was never able to break free.
My son asks me whether I am ok. I nod twice to give him the answer he wishes to hear. With age you actually start answering questions in an expected manner. Since neither the question nor the answer means anything to you, you reply in an ambiguous manner and the questioner can interpret it to his liking.
I have lived too much to regret actually. For me it’s all the same. For me the time stopped 30 years ago when I retired. Since then I’ve tried to extract drives out of inane day to day problems living in my village. I miss that view though. An entire landscape covered with green vegetation as far as you could look; infinite-it ran parallel to the sky. And I looked at it for hours. Trying to search for some faces, some lost bursts of joy, try to search what happiness was like and whether I ever witnessed it. I felt like tracking all those ecstatic-lifts and somehow fuse it with my view which has grown boring.
I sometimes wonder why scientists never worked on a moment capturing machine. I know they have the camera. But the camera is a single dimension soundless recording instrument which leaves too much to memory. And at this age memory is the hardest to recall. I guess of all the disabilities, cracks in memory are the most profound loss. It’s harder to look for a drive without memory.

6 comments:

shuchi said...

Yet another natural but lucid attempt to a subject hardly thought of....
You ride higher!

arpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arpit said...

very fine,finished piece...........but i have my reservations......but stuffing them aside(lest they lessen the happiness of a writer).....very mature n very intriguing write-up.it seems more interesting becoz of its structuring....good one.....waitin fur part 2

ahmad raza said...

@shuchi: shukriya!!
@arpit: i would like to know your reservations!! i don't care much for my happiness and you shouldn't either!!haha

professor said...

baba jis film me mai kaam karunga naa uss film kaa writer tujhe hi rakhunga..guruji

Bhavna said...

abstract and a laudable piece of work!!
and it seems that you have paid attention to the first advice of Mr.Deborah Owen.......