Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unbiased Love



'The child is deformed'.

That’s the first thought that crossed my mind when I first saw him. The mouth hanging open, rotund belly, protuberant saucer like eyes, muddy complexion, disproportionately thin limbs and a very questionable hygiene. He wore a blue sweater stained with the contents of his breakfast.  I surveyed him as I walked towards him to monitor his vitals before the morning clinical rounds. His case file said he was ten years old; it was hard to judge from his appearance.

My approach scared him. He perceived the stethoscope hanging around my neck with apprehension often seen in young children but not usually a ten year old. He put his thin arms around the old man’s neck who was sitting on his bed. His grandfather, I presumed. I gently pried him away from around his grandfather’s neck and put the cuff  around his thin arm to monitor his blood pressure. I tried not to look at his face with the saliva drooping from the corners of his mouth and remnants of his breakfast still stuck on his face. Something wet hit my hand. I inwardly cringed as I rubbed away a drop of saliva that fell onto my hand from his mouth. I hurriedly examined him and went out of the room.

'I love children', I reminded myself. 'All children deserve unbiased loving'. But even during evening duties, relatively less hectic and allowing me the leisure to chat and play with the children admitted in the ward, I never could bring myself to approach his bed, caress his cheek and ask him how his day went. I avoided looking at his bed, at him, at his grandparents who looked defeated by everything in the world. I didn’t despise him, but I couldn’t feel the love and care that gets naturally evoked towards all children.

The day after Christmas I had night duty at the ward. At one-thirty AM I lied down to rest on the creaky bed in the room assigned for interns. Hardly ten minutes later I heard loud cries of a woman coming from a distance. I presumed it was from the adjacent female medicine ward. But just to be certain, I opened the door of my room.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lost and Found

It feels strange typing these first words after neglecting my blog for so long. I actually fumbled around the blog dashboard to find the 'New Post' compose button. I had been busy. But not so much that I couldn't have squeezed in a few minutes of writing every week. I could have but I chose not to. I had started doing what everyone else around me were doing, mimicking their pastimes and their routines. It was work, studies, watching movies, getting together with friends, eating out...the usual stuff. Not just my habits but my whole personality went a sea change. I became more 'social'; not extrovert, just more open to mingling with other people, small talk, taking the initiative to talk to people around me. I actually chatted up random strangers, which is so unlike me, given my total lack of social skills.

I got so involved in this routine, this 'new' me, I had long neglected the things I loved to do. Writing, watching obscure foreign language films, reading and re-reading the authors I cherish, traveling, amateur photography, sketching...stuff that had always created and contributed to my happiness, a world I loved escaping into. But once I got stuck in this new web of superficial pleasures and pastimes, I became too lazy to get back to doing things that I love. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation, when I'm unusually chatty, I halt and mentally stare at the person I've become. And I realize it's not the real me. Being more confident, the feeling of belonging to the 'normal, everyday' people has been fun. But who am I fooling? It's just so not me.

There had been surprise in their eyes and an awkwardness in the air when I interacted with the people I'd known for long and who were well-acquainted with my introvert nature. And there had been moments when my 'friendly' attitude, new and clumsy, seemed too upfront to people and created misunderstandings that were totally uncalled for and embarrassing. And my idle mind crammed with just exam MCQs and small talk of the day, devoid of any creative pursuits, fell prey to daydreaming. I did few pretty stupid stuff. I don't like this new change anymore even though I had secretly always craved it!

Each person is unique with their unique quirks and flaws and passions. I am a shy person. I prefer catching up on my reading on a Saturday night. I freeze at the thought of making small talk. I don't like reading novels about vampires and girls addicted to shopping. I don't like rowdy parties and large crowds and prefer small, intimate gatherings. If I fall in love, I love to love alone, cherishing the secret. I love being silent and contemplating a thousand thoughts even amidst a crowd. And in the past few days my mouth hurt from grinning inanely at jokes that I didn't even find funny. However boring it may sound or is to others, but that's me. That's who I am; and who I have been in the recent past is totally contradictory to my real self.

Be true to who you are and do what you love irrespective of what the world thinks about you. Life's too short to be wasted on pretense of any sort.

This post was my advice to myself. It feels great blogging after a long gap and to have finally found and accepted me.