So, while the world is busy blogging on BarkhaGate, 2G Spectrum Scam, Manmohan Singh’s impotency as a PM, even Ms. Dolly (of BigBoss fame) who has (un)surprisingly stolen the limelight, I’d stick to what I think I enjoy doing the most-weaving stories out of thin air 🙂
Following is a magazine assignment I wrote wherein we had to write a personal story on someone you met who changed your life.
Personally, I don’t think anyone in my life has changed it any large way. Not yet. And, not at least a person yet. Maybe watching someone, looking at something, reading on something might have changed the way I look at things, my broader perspective on life, in general. But, I think I’m usually careful enough not to let my thoughts wander in that direction, if you know what I mean.
Anyways, here’s the personal story I wrote. Well, its not entirely fake/fictional. Parts of it are true (and there may be a few who might get the connection of this fictional piece with the reality of my life). And as they say, fiction is inspired from reality.
Happy reading 🙂
She looked too happy to be in a hospital. It is precisely because of that seemingly positive expression on her face that made my mind divert from the pain I was going through. For someone who had been diagnosed with Leukemia (from what I got to know much later), she had a distractingly calm expression on her face and looked as if she had simply chosen to ignore that glaring fact.
If you are wondering what was I doing there, let me make it clear that that a hospital is not one of my favourite places to hang out and just stare at people who’ve been bruised, hurt, diagnosed with some unpronounceable disease or deadly virus. I happened to be there because I had met with an accident, owing to my own foolishness and haste. In a space that could possibly be the most melancholic, sad and unhappy environment, Zooni seemed to be out of place.
This was probably the first and the worst accident of my life. And I had been punished for not having worn a helmet. A collision with a speeding car had resulted in my current form—six stitches on my left knee, a fracture on my nose, a couple of bruises on my cheek and three more stitches on my chin—enough to complete the distorted version that I had become. It had been almost six days in the hospital now and I had begun hating anything that began with H. The very atmosphere of my ward depressed me to the core. The accident had caused a heavy blow to my self esteem. I had missed my mid-semester exams because of the damage done to my body. And the doctor later informed me that I also had to give the Inter-State Swimming Championships a miss, thanks to my current state. Every time I looked into the mirror, I felt like breaking it into a million pieces as I couldn’t even recognize who I saw there. I was almost bordering over committed pessimism. Until I met her.
Zooni looked younger to me. But she wasn’t. She occupied the bed right next to me. So, there was no way I could avoid her sight. Every day the doctor would come and do some random check-ups, of which I had neither the knowledge nor the patience to ponder over. The doctor would ask her questions weaved in medical jargon (I was too occupied with my own troubles to even bother about others). She always looked amused at my irritated outbursts which were usually directed at my doctor, nurse and mother who used to visit regularly and monitor my ‘progress’. And Zooni’s amusement irritated me even more.
After weeks of staying in what I saw as the most morose environment, when the doctor finally declared that day for my discharge, I couldn’t stop myself from asking Zooni. What made her so happy? How could she remain so? Wasn’t she suffering? And if she wasn’t, what the hell was she doing in this hospital? Her response to all these questions was but one. “I know when I’m going to die. I want to enjoy whatever is left of my life,” she said with a vehemence I could see in her eyes.
“It just amazes me how little things in life can manage to irritate and frustrate you so much. How you let them win over you. You have an entire life in front of you. Can’t you be happy with the fact that you survived that accident to actually be alive to crib about life? And when you are alive, what’s the point of complaining?,” she asked. It wasn’t the questions but the sheer confidence with which she asked them that rendered me speechless.
Here was a woman who knew when she was going to die and who, ironically, seeked amusement at the petty things in life that I complained and fretted about. I, who still had something that Fate had denied her—life. I was later told that she was diagnosed with blood cancer (leukemia) and had less than few months to live. I never heard of her later. I never even visited the hospital after that. But she left a mark on my life. She taught me how to look at things positively and ushered in a new era of optimism in the way I began looking at things since then. This happened over a year ago and I’m sure she isn’t alive anymore. But, I don’t feel sad or gloomy or upset about it. I’m glad I met her. And I’ll always be thankful for the woman who taught me the real meaning of “life”.
I expect heavy criticism (and maybe a word of compliment, if that isn’t too much to ask for?) after you’ve read this.
Feel free to comment.