There are times when something triggers off a flurry of thoughts; it brings back memories of some life altering incidents in life. Such a thing happened to me yesterday.
I had to visit a hospital to meet a friend's mom who had had her leg amputated. People who know me know exactly what would've gone through my mind.
It was a month after my 8th birthday. It was on Onam day. We were to go to Pappa's place. While walking on the side of the road with pappa, a truck driver rammed into me and crushed my left leg. Its funny that no one has ever told me what really happened. I can only remember it as a film reel... with small portions cut off. I guess it is what I saw between losing consciousness. But for all I know I might've even dreamt these things instead!
I am lying on the road with a wheel over my leg. People all around are yelling at the driver. He raised the accelerator. Amma is...looking.. ( I don't know what I took the expression as... I didn't even understand what anguish meant.) I wanted to call out to her. I was numb.
I am in a car. An Ambassador. My head on Pappa's lap. A man who ( at that point I assumed) is a good samaritan is giving the driver directions. I can see the entire leg. It looks like a wound from old hindi movies where despite efforts it still looked fake.
We are at a hospital. I'm lying on a bed (that I later learnt was called a stretcher). There were some people putting cotton on my leg. I saw mom and dad.
I'm in an ambulance now and I can hear its loud noisy music. Amma and mom are with me. I tell amma not to look at any truck outside. I don't know why I said that. (I still don't.). I'm thirsty... very thirsty. But no one's giving me water.
I awake in a hospital. Amma or mom is with me. I ask for water again. I want to get up. I can't feel pain. I want to know why I'm here. I guess I can see one of my legs but not the other. I want to ask a lot of questions. I want water.
By now I know what has been happening.. I seem to have understood some parts of it atleast. I'm being taken for another operation. I don't want to go alone. I get scared. Doctor tells me that amma has to change her clothes before she can come inside. She leaves my hand.
I know I'm hallucinating. I know it for sure. I can feel the huge light that we usually watch in movies when some person is performing an operation. I'm imagining blood stained hands exchanging scissors. There has to be more so I'm definitely hallucinating. I can see above the 'floodlight' there is a top floor that has a hole in the middle and my family is standing above. Savi and michechi standing there holding the railing. Chechi and Jithu and standing next to dad and pappa. But mom and amma are standing over my head. I can't see them properly. I want them to come nearer. But I'm hallucinating so they won't.
I'm getting better now. Everyone tells me. I have my own room. Once the doctor asked me who my cheriachan was and I answered 'He is my small father.' I play cards with ammaama and I win. I must be getting good at this because he is the best.
The nurses like me a lot. They tell me a lot of jokes. Today the doctors asked me to eat chocolates. Dad got me a BIG bar but I couldn't eat more than a small piece. Why? I love chocolates.
They take me for dressing every two days. I just woke up now. I hate today. I have dressing today.
I go on the wheelchair for rounds everyday (I feel like a doctor checking on my favourite patients). Just as I go out of the room, a nurse places a folded bedsheet where my left leg was supposed to be. She probably didn't want anyone to feel bad for me.
I had been told that I can have bath in the bathroom today. But I was scared. I was so scared that I screamed and screamed. I don't think it hurt me much. I felt very good after it.
I'm leaving today. I took autographs from my favourite doctors and nurses. They have all wished me the very best. One doctor who always spells my name incorrectly wants me to become the Prime Minister. I will have to get very old for that first. I might look like Indira Gandhi by then.
Today I can type these things with a very light heart. But if it were my parents or my siblings who were much older than me and actually understood the seriousness of the incident, they would probably never see the humour of it.
Now I ride a bike. Last month when mom was here I'd take her around the campus everyday on it. She loved it. Once while getting on it, she full of emotions said, 'My child has reached so far in life.' I really didn't think much of it then.
But when I did meet my friend's mom in the hospital. Just too many things banged my mind at the same time. I felt too many emotions. I couldn't hold it any longer. I quickly asked their leave and walked back. I was fighting my tears but in vain. They started flowing without my consent. I sobbed. I came out of the room. I wanted to cry a little bit more but there were people around me. For the first time in a long long while, I cried in public.
It was my mom's comment that first hit me. I imagined myself years back and in her situation. I thought of how helpless and angered my family would have felt not knowing what exactly the future held for me. I thought of the first time I walked using the crutches. How they would've felt when they saw my first baby steps with my prosthesis. How they feel proud of me for the bright, smart colorful successful girl they have made me today.
I am awed at how time heals; and how all of us come to terms with whatever situation we've had to face.
How we accept and yet not just quietly accept what has happened to us. How some incidents make us stronger than we ever imagined we could be.