On 8th December 2005, Dad turned 58. 38 of which he spent in Ooty and continues to remain there with unwavered passion and dedication to realize his lifetime objective of handling the family business which was established in the year 1966.
I called to wish him on the ocassion and hastened to end the call despite wanting to speak for a longer time. So when I disconnected I knew I had succeeded remarkably in something I do best - the remarkably infamous ability to mask my feelings with equally remarkable ease.
For on that day, also unravelling into the open was one of the most darkest secrets I have been carrying in me for a long long time.
Having realized a strange abnormality, I first began tracking its happening on 4th February 1994, which incidentally was my Mother's birthday. The abnormaility it seemed emanated from a severe pain in my lower abdomen which I could not attribute to any particular cause or reason. Having borne this relentless hurting, I was now thrown into a state of complete standstill and could not muster the effort or courage to summon myself to even think of taking a step forward - literally!
So, that morning, after my conversation with Dad, I decided to call 'Dr. Aditya Adi - Bubbles Kapoor', who is a very dear friend of mine and who had quite recently relocated back to his hometown - New Delhi. Adi suggested that I present myself at his clinic without any further delay and then with the help of Vishal Samuel, I managed to get admitted to a nearby hospital without any hope of this condition being cured. I had by then told myself that the end was imminent. Years of paranoia, coupled with self-excercised misinformed research on the internet had convinced me to believe without doubt that my condition was a result of cancerous growth in the lower abdomen. I hated the sight of a hospital let alone the prospect of being a guest in one. And this time I had no choice for I had to somehow find a means of curbing this killing pain despite whether my condition was curable or otherwise. I hadn't propped my self on the bed when an army of nursing assistants shepherded by a surgeon and a general physician trooped their way into my room and began what would be one of the worst moments of my life ever. I was constantly being referred to as a patient and subject, and my patience was wearing thin. Worse, canular needles found their way into my arms feeding me with so called 'vital' fluids all day long. The doctors had already decided to use most of the available antibiotic supply on me and thus began a process of turning me into a living storehouse of a dozen chemicals. I have never felt so sick ever in life, as I was during the 17 days of my forced-detention. After much humdrum I was told that a tissue had gone 'bad' due to an internal injury that happened a decade or so before. Promptly, a biopsy was scheduled to determine if the 'bad tissue' had turned malignant or if there actually was a possibility of it becoming cancerous. It was my first ever introduction to anesthesia. I demanded (rather foolishly) that I be administered local anesthesia which was stiffly rebutted. On the morning the biopsy was scheduled to happen, I was wheeled into the Operation Theater and 'connected' to a few appearingly menacing devices that glowed, beeped and displayed a number of gibberish which made little sense to me. Finally, after having determined that my vital signs permitted surgeons to cconduct a surgical intervention on my person, a vial of clear liquid was injected into me. A few minutes later, I began feeling weak and started breathing heavily. Among the last things I remember was the blood-pressure monitor loudly beeping an increase in my blood-pressure level, the systolic variable of which had zoomed to a whopping 230 mmHG (millimeters of mercury).
It was the first time ever that I was forced into a chemically induced slumber and the feeling of submission and cede gave way to absolute darkness. I felt as if I had been transported into a different world. Hues of green and red suddenly began to float in an endless void all of which would have normally made no sense. However, here was a situation that was far from normal atleast to me!
After the procedure had been successfully performed, I was roused back into reality and wheeled into the comforts of my room, where for once I slept peacefully beaten by the tiring effect of some powerful substance which had so successfully kept me from the terrible pain that accompanied the entire exercise. It would be a few hours before I would gain complete consciousness. During the time, I felt numb and even doing the most basic activity required triathlon effort. I realized that my speech was slow, slurchy and obscure and feared the prospect of losing it and the surgeon's repeated assurances did nothing to calm my extremely troubled self. However, when I was offered a dose of muscle relaxant which was nothing short of a sleeping drug, I vehemently refused. I decided to be strong and watch myself come 'around'.
The biopsy report indicated no presence of malignancy but it was decided to conduct a full scale procedure to remove the dead tissue as a measure of precaution.
Tired of the medical blitz that had rendered me a living stockroom of powerful and obnoxious compounds, I demanded to be released without any further medical intervention. These stupid quack doctors had not homed in onto the proximate cause and appeared to be treating the symptoms rather than address the main cause.
I must thank Adi, Col. Jetley (Anuj's father), Vishal, Randy, Bodhi, Kappu, my immediate colleagues, my friends from far and wide and family members in Delhi for having supported me in person and remotely every single moment and help me overcome the trauma of having been a guinea pig if nothing else. Also to specially mention Adi who insisted time and again that I wasn't being administered the right kind of treatment and Dr. Jaideep Sharma for having assertively confirmed this without the least possible doubt.
I made a decision to abruptly halt the medical exercise and made copies of all my reports which I then sent to a number of friends in the medical profession, all of whom confirmed that I needed to leave this hospital and seek a superior dignostic assistance.
I was driven back home on Christmas eve and immediately began feeling better. The next few days passed by without any activity at all. I had been grounded for not taking into confidence my friends and family members during the turn of events and many near and dear ones suspected much more than was told, with good reason that is.
I had lost quite a lot of weight and the toll of having spent a great deal of painfully ardous time in the harrowed hospital was showing on me. People displayed a sense of pity on seeing me and I felt meager and helpless all the while, when in the backdrop my friends did all they could to cheer me up. I had informed Mom about the entire incident on the second last day of my stay in the hospital and I assured her that all was well, she in turn was given the task of informing Dad in a very subtle manner. The coming of the new year signalled hope and relief from this long standing menace and I knew I would surpass the assault. For the 1st time in many years I was at home on New Year's eve. I needed the rest and having had a sound sleep I woke up to daylight on 01 January 2006 and wished my folks and friends a very happy new year. I was happy and finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I had decided to goto Ooty and consult with family physicans who I believed could handle te situation effortlessly a lot better than the morons who disguised themselves as doctors in this part of the nation.
On the morning of 04rth January 2006, I reached our home in Ooty. This was my first visit home after I had left for Delhi on 09th Febrauary 2005, a year earlier. I would be off work upto the end of February and was required to focus on rest and recuperation without any exertion at all. On meeting a family friend Dr. Brinda Indersen, I was promptly referred to Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, an old family friend who lost no time in scheduling a surgical procedure. In a single breath he dismissed all my medical records and shamed the so called corrective procedures that were administered on me during my hospitalization in Delhi. The last question Dr. Zaheer asked me that evening was if I was comfortable if I was administered Ketamine as an anesthetic. I pronounced my assent despite knowing hardly anothing about the drug. I was soon to realize that upon ingestion / administration in any form this drug would induce a sense of disassociation from the body resulting in one believing that the one is free from the hold of the body.
In a matter of days I had passed all medical procedures and was at the comforts of home. A long holiday lay ahead of me which I cherished although I had earned it for wrong reasons.
I felt relaxed and at ease for the first time in months and I decided not to tax my already wrecked mind with any turbulent thought.
On complete recovery, Mom requested that I travel with her to Kannur, Kerala which is from where I truly belong. Her elder brother, an uncle of mine, had been rendered paralysed due to a stroke and thankfully was recovering although very slowly. I had until meeting him believed that I had been in and out of one of the most savage episodes any living being could possibly undergo. I was wrong, gravely wrong. The sight of a full grown man lying helpless on a bed having to rely on others to do even the most basic chores of his day-to-day life was excruciatingly hideous. The sight humbled me like never before and I will never forget that no matter what one goes through, there are others that continue to, on a very routine basis, be subject to untold miseries.
"Some of the worst things in life are not intended to make you bitter, they happen so that you become better." Better with experience, better with good reasoning, better with having known what it has been to live in despair, better with knowing that you have lived the worst and have still survived for the better. Life is an unending series of examples and lessons.
Every single one of us is destined to undergo an abundant share of good and bad times alike and that is what seasons us and makes us better people. On a larger picture, perhaps life isnt as unfair as we accuse it to be, much of what happens to us is a result of our individual doing or undoing and we are the only masters of our own actions and their results.
Having gone through a relatively rather comparatively minor phase of turbulence in life, I've emerged self-effacing and definitely more sensible than ever before.
I now see a new zeal, a new purpose and a new beginning, one that truly would usher in a wholly fresh vista with a whole new dimension of promises with very vivid imagination.
Life is at its best when one surpasses a problem, not matter what the magnitude is. In the aftermath, one is left with limitless energy and zeal to better on the best.
Truly, on many an ocassion, times of tribulation can at best also be a blessing in disguise.