Monday, May 17, 2010

The Helping Hand And A Reassuring Smile

One may have a lot of courage and fortitude, but human beings need to share their joys and worries to keep their system normal. Man is, as they say a social animal and needs to be looked after and cared for. This is more than evident in times of a crisis.

I have realised with experience that in difficult times, everything seems to stand still around you. The clock ticks, but the time does not pass. The world moves around with its usual fervour, but nothing means much in those dark hours. The feeling of being in a vaccum is suffocating. The mind is blank and the eyes don't see much. Therefore there have to be real human beings around who can make that dark, difficult phase a wee bit more tolerable and less painful.

It also helps to look around and its not difficult to find hundreds and thousands of people in much worse conditions, people who have nothing but courage to fall back on.

Like one of those unfortunate women living in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai whose son fell down fromthe terrace of a four storey building. The trauma that she went through as a mother and the bigger trauma that her misery brought was untold.
Her dry lips and horrified eyes did convey her shock as she moved like a programmed robot in the hospital corridor.
But she bravely held herself together.
She did not loose hope in one of the worst times of her life.

There is another woman selling saris going door-to-door trying to raise enough money so that she can meet the expenses for the treatment of her only son who is suffering from thalassemia. Under tremendous pressure and mental agony she deals with customers haggling for a better bargain and many times may not strike a deal even after much sincere effort. But with each passing day she seems to grow stronger in her fight with Fate, and every sunrise is a new beginning for this courageous woman, who in a weak moment did admit that she may not ultimately win against Fate.

And there is Dr.Shah Faesal from Kashmir who has topped the IAS list this year. He breaks down often when he remembers how his father was butchered like so many other innocents, and sacrificed at the altar of the conflict in the Kashmir Valley.
He has endured so much that has scarred his life forever. However he did not cow down to the extreme distress in his life. It actually went on to make him stronger enabling him to face the challenges in life with greater fortitude.

But I was not thinking about these brave persons the day my mother suffered a heart attack. Looking at her helplessly as she went through the discomfort and pain, it was only her agony that mattered. And as she lay in the hospital with some tubes attached to her organs, a small screen displaying some numbers that showed her condition to be stable, in my own insipid state of mind I could not even infer that life is all about some joys here, some pain there, and the magic act of sharing where joys shared are doubled and pain shared is halved.

So as I sat in the waiting area of the hospital with my siblings, there were others too whose relatives were in the Critical Care Unit and who were as anxious as we were, or perhaps even more than us. I did not look at their listless faces and sleepless eyes. A queer definiteness deep inside me said that it would not help ease my nerves.
But there had to be something that would.
Yes! Prayer always helps.

So prayer it was. The distracted mind was hardly at peace.
Concentration was difficult.
But just a couple of words with God were soothing.

And as hours passed giving way to a new dawn, those listless faces and sleepless eyes, which had hitherto scared me began to denote ex-pressions of support and an unknown connection began to develop. Although the smiles were mirthless, the eyes still frightened, the mind not yet at peace, there still seemed to be a reassurance in the air as we exchanged feeble smiles.
I realised the power of a smile then. Even if that was just a frail curve of the lips, the exercise had tremendous potential to relieve the nerves of tension and pressure.

Also supportive were friends and family whom I can never thank enough.
And among them all, stands out the one who reminded me to come out of my condition, look around and discover that I am not alone, and neither am I nor my mother helpless...
all I need to do is gather my guts and realise my potential to sail through.

Hence I say that while one may have a lot of courage and fortitude, yet one may tend to forget, due to baffling situations in a crisis, certain basics of keeping their feet firmly on the ground. At such emotionally stressful times human beings do need people who can remind them to share their worries and come out of their troubles fearlessly.
At one time or another, in life we all need a helping hand.

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