Wednesday, July 6

Deadly Distress

When disappointment strikes, nothing, and I mean NOTHING – no person, no words, no material can fix it and makes things better.

It’s inadequate and silly to repeat the cliché’s that it’ll all be fine and nothing lasts forever, and happened for a reason, and better things in store.

Doesn’t work. Doesn’t give any solace or joy.

Can’t take away the sorrow, frustration and desperation.

It really makes no sense to be told to not give up hope, to keep trying and be strong, and to realise that other people have greater and more serious problems…

All the logic and optimism is fine, but it does NOT help in any way when a person is feeling truly in the dumps.

While it is appreciable on the part of people to participate in the grief, sometimes distance from all things living (or at least all things talking!) is the only way to be.

Like, for example, when somebody close expires. And you want to be alone. And you want to cry. Or maybe NOT cry because you’re in some other dimension, reliving memories and thinking about life and the transience of relationships and the like. And people around you expect you to be a certain way and respond to their expressions of sympathy.

It’s sooooooo NOT happening!

I’m a strong person, and trust me when I say that I usually have a fairly positive approach towards life. In fact, people overestimate my strength, perseverance and determination… much to my chagrin…

But there are times when I am weak; I’m human after all! It’s ridiculous when in my hard times, I’ve to keep my emotions on the back-burner, to be there and console someone who’s feeling bad for me!

Where’s all this stemming from? I’ll tell you… Not that it’s a secret anyway. I’ve just not mentioned this on my blog in a really long time.

I don’t recall if you recall I told you about my planned eye laser surgery. I’ve had glasses for well over 15 years, and you can never realise what it means unless you are bespectacled yourself. You might think “oh what’s the big deal, so what if you have specs, it’s all right” and blah. But you’ll never comprehend how upsetting it is to keep looking for your glasses like a blind man, or to squint in agony when you can’t recognize something or someone from afar…

The point being, I was really excited about my lasik (that’s what the laser eye operation to set your eyesight right is called) and my anticipation only multiplied when it got canned thrice. Once coz the doc was travelling, the second time when the doc was unavailable for I forget what reason, the third time when my mum’s astrologer forecasted that it wasn’t a good time for me to get operated. (Some saade-sati crap… I’ve been under saade-sati all my life, methinks… humphhh.)

So twice in March and once in June my hopes came crashing down. I vowed to go ahead with the procedure come what may in July this year. The date was set for the 2nd, and there was not one miss in my preparation. I thought of the tiniest details and made sure that nothing was forgotten or ignored. Being a systematic and organized person, it’s the easiest thing for me to be “ready” for something. And something as BIG as this, woah… You’re kidding me if you say I should have done better!

The day dawned. I didn’t sleep too well, obviously, given the ecstasy and eagerness. My parents accompanied me to the clinic (Dr. Ambarish Darak’s Zyvision, off F C Road), and I merrily checked in for the pre-op rituals. I signed the declaration with a flourish, and was cracking jokes putting the other laser candidates at ease in the resting aka recovery room.

Three… no less than three patients got operated before me, and walked out with dark glasses, describing at great length what had happened in the OT and how well they could see now. I celebrated their joy and congratulated them on their triumph against myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. Perched on the edge of my seat, I was waiting to jump as soon as my name was called out for the surgery.

I scrambled out of my seat in a jiffy with a murmured “whoopee” and walked towards the operation theatre, entered the room like a jubilant child, lay down on the bed after cheekily smiling at the doctor, and shivered with an expected last minute gush of uncertainty and fear.

The doc and staff had no clue how long I’d waited for this surgery, how desperately I desired the outcome of this operation… Nor did they know how afraid I was feeling, now that this moment was finally within reach…

Within reach… And yet so far…

I was a nervous wreck and literally got cold feet when the machine started whirring on top of me. I could see 4 red and one green light, rolling like wheels on top of me. The ones that they show in Final Destination, Transformers and other sci-fi movies. I couldn’t keep my eyes wide and focussed, and the doc chided me for not cooperating. I tried to think of Ganapati Bappa, the god who removes all obstacles and gives strength and success.

Various drops were being put into my eye to make the procedure as painless as it’s advertised to be. I felt something like tweezers or pincers placed on top of my eye to keep me from blinking, and for a moment everything went blank.

I could see nothing. But I heard the doc say, his voice echoing like we were in a cave, “Anuja, there is some problem with the equipment. Pls get up”.

I blinked, baffled, unable to make sense of what was happening. I continued to lie down, hoping things would get underway in an instant.

The surgeon repeated, “Anuja, get up”. This time he sounded annoyed. I got up, and stood there, too numb to think, too mystified to be annoyed.

“Something is wrong with the machine. The pressure is not right. We can’t operate just now.”

I said ok, and that I would wait till the problem was sorted out. The attendant guided me to the waiting room, and I refused saying that others would ask questions and I was too embarrassed to face them so could I wait somewhere else.

He took me to another room and I started reciting the Ram Raksha and Hanuman Chalisa, wondering why things were going wrong, and that God would fix them if I remembered him in despair again at the eleventh-hour.

Seems like god had other plans in store. The doc walked in saying “The machine isn’t working, there is something wrong with it. Your operation won’t happen today.”

And that was it. I lost consciousness.

I had no recollection of when I collapsed and the doc and 2 other people had to lead me to the sofa in the adjoining room. I broke into a clammy sweat, and my clothes were damp. My vision was blurred, I could not feel my body and limbs.

My mum screeched in anxiety, asking the doc what he had given me and what was happening to me. I couldn’t even call her, though I desperately wanted her beside me so I could hug her and cry…

Why was I the chosen one to be unlucky? Why was god denying me the beauty of life seen eye to eye without the aid of artificial eyes? Why despite my trying so hard and getting up despite being knocked down time and again by fate was I unable to get rid of my glasses?

Why Why Why?

God isn’t known to answer questions. At least not immediately. May be not even directly or explicitly.

I was defeated. I was under the machine, and it had given up on me. What more was left to say and think?

I wasn’t embarrassed that people would make fun of my defeat; I was ashamed because they all had prayed and rejoiced for me. I could not face them.

I spent the day in agony, all alone. Cut off from the world. Partly voluntarily. And partly, grudgingly.

It’s true; at the moment when you need someone the most, everyone deserts you. Your family, friends, well-wishers. No one is around when you need them the most. You were born alone and you die alone, and the most crucial times of your life are lived alone.

And I know God is always by your side. But sometimes, just his being there isn’t enough.

Sometimes, his protecting you isn’t enough.

Sometimes, it is only the achievement and fulfilment of a wish that matters.

Everything else is a compromise. A failure.

Distress.

I’m not as strong as you think…
I’m not as strong as I’d like you to believe…

- Princess

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