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~Such is life~

By: viratbond Posted Jul 12, 2010 General 649 Views


I’ve always been willing to share my life with whoever bothered to lend me an ear – a fact which has tortured many of my close friends as to how I could easily open up to them without holding much back. After reading Aparajita’s (caretaker) post encouraging to share life experiences, I am inclined to open up the Pandora’s Box again…

As many of you are aware of, I sufferedfrom Cerebral Palsy (emphasis on the past tense – the disease has long gone, some side-effects remain). This post takes me back to a time and age when I was actually vulnerable and could be classified as a child. I was small and not mature enough to understand what implications arise from physical disability. Here’s looking at you kid, thinking you’re old enough to sound all ‘mature’ and everything. Let’s take you back to time when you were just another average kid…

(Flashback) –

Read it like a small child is narrating it to you…

Cerebral Palsy had not gained the popularity and status that polio enjoyed in India. Polio was the yardstick by which every physical disease was measured. It was either ‘like’ polio, meaning a close relative of it (similar symptoms), or ‘not like’ polio, which usually meant worse. I was used to the remarks by now, though I did get tired after a while of repeating ‘what had happened’. I was one of the lucky ones, apparently, because my speech, articulation and comprehension skills hadn’t been affected and my mother made sure that I didn’t forget that easily. I was to thank God everyday for saving me from something much more horrible… unspeakably wicked. I used to look down at my legs and wonder – “What could be worse than this?”because in all sincerity, physically, I was less “blessed”. Everybody wanted to see the boy that walked like a pirate with a peg leg. Nobody wanted to talk to him though. Curiosity gets the better of even the most dignified people.

“What is it?”

“Did you have an accident or something?”

“Ummm… don’t mind me asking, but whyexactly can’t you walk properly?”

The questions never stopped, like a tap leaking because of a bad washer. Drop after drop, question after question. After a while, it got monotonous. I could almost prepare my ‘speech’…

I always treasured any emotions that came from my father. To Him, I could never be the son that He wished for. In fact, He would argue that I wasn’t even masculine. I tried everything in His image… but I just wasn’t good enough. He wanted me to go play, socialize and have friends. Instead, He got a son who used to lock himself in his room for long periods of time, afraid to go out… into the world. I didn’t want to go out, because I knew as soon as I went out, everyone would just look at me. I could never go up to anyone and have a normal conversation, say ‘hi’, ‘hello’ or something.Instead of looking at my face, people would just stare at my legs, expecting them to talk, I guess, and explain themselves. For I was too small to clearly explain my own condition. I vowed never to go out until I could do just that – explain myself clearly to other people. And so, in the locked room, books became my best friends. I did go out… eventually. But by then, it was too late. By class V, He had a son who no knowledge of table manners but could tell you about ‘bad faith’ or the suicidal implications of “To be or not to be” soliloquy in Hamlet.Alas, this knowledge was futile, because books don’t get you anywhere in life. They are not real.Table manners do. Learning how to eat with your mouth closed is infinitely moreimportant than Sartre’s notion of hell.

For me, He was no less than God. I had waited a long time for this acceptance… from God, and as a son. I cherished my victory, cherished it before it would be too late…

Such is life!

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