Past Transgressions

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

LOVE AT FIRST BURN

He had been awfully depressed lately. There was nothing that he found joy in, not anymore. The cool soothing breeze, which he otherwise enjoyed now just caused him more pain. He couldn't stand the sight of the blossoming trees or at that, any sign which promised to bring forth new life. For what life remained in him? Had you met him a few weeks back, you would have sworn that he was the most lively guy you came across. Just out of a hard drilling life he had led, he had found a job at the fire fighting station. His father was a fire fighter who succumbed to injuries on his line of duty. That should warrant scaring off young boys wanting to become like their dads. But not him. He had a good heart and wanted to help people in whatever way he can. He promised to himself that he would become a better fire fighter than his dad and make him proud, should he be watching from the fire fighter's heaven (he believed it existed).


It was his first day on duty. With much enthusiasm and high hopes he was ready to work. Make a difference in the lives of people suffering loss. He swore not anyone would have to succumb to the burn injuries, like his father. Not under his watch at least. As fate would have had it, that very night a residential building caught fire. His team was on call and they rushed to the scene. Blazing flames taller than the trees rose up in the pitch black of the night. It was nothing like the simulation fire lessons he had attended. This was real danger. He was ready for it, or at least felt ready. There he was, ready to make a difference. And a difference did he make. He and his team got all the ten people trapped in the building to safety. The battle was over. They had won. He had won. No lives lost, no fireman injured. Then out of nowhere there was an explosion (later confirmed to have been a gas cylinder). Chunks of fire laden shower rained upon him. He was a minute too late in getting out of the building. Left him with a fully burnt face. 


The doctors did what they could but the facial burn was just too extensive. He had lost all his hair, part of his left ear and almost the whole of his face. A small area on the right side of his forehead and an equally small patch on his right cheek remained unscathed. Life, left this handsome young fellow nothing more than a freak show. He looked into the mirror for the umpteenth time and felt his heart break into further smaller pieces. To further aggravate his pain, he was the only one in the burn ward. Its one thing to have to go through a tragedy alone and a different to have someone who knows your pain,who has empathy on you and not just sympathy.


One day as he was recuperating in the burn ward, he heard an ambulance wailing in a distance. Not that he cared but the yelping of the siren made him curious. He prayed to the Gods to let it not be another fireman. They ambulance attendants rushed the trolley as two more held on to the IV fluid bottles up in the air. There she lay on the stretcher writhing in pain as the stench of her burnt hair and skin filled the ward. He caught a glimpse of her burnt face and lived the horror all over again. He overheard the on call plastic surgeon relaying it to his superior that she has over 70% third degree burns and her vitals are not stable. Highly likely to succumb. Further small pieces of his heart.


They brought her to the burn ward after two hours, into the bed next to his. She was unconscious, fully wrapped up in sterile bandages with the pipe into her trachea hooked on to that machine which beeped every now and then. He certainly didn't want anyone to suffer what he had but then it felt good to have another heart beating in that depressing and lonely ward.


She remained unconscious for two more days. The nurses came in now and then, more frequent than the doctors who came in less frequent than the police officers wanting to take her statement. Just out of curiosity he asked the policemen on one such visit what had happened to her. The policeman sighed and he could have sworn he saw his jaws clench before he spoke. "She had been married for just two months. Her in-laws wanted dowry from her. It was a love marriage and no dowry had been agreed upon earlier. Then one fine day in one such rage, her husband and her in-laws set her on fire. They are under custody" . Of course, he had heard about dowry deaths and the immolation of daughter-in-laws for want of dowry. He had felt grief when he heard such tragic incidents, but to see a living evidence of such a heinous crime, it was horrifying on a whole new level.


She was in her slumber for three more days. Every now and then her fingers would twitch and it would seem like she is regaining consciousness and the nurses would come and push down more morphine. The least anyone can do for a victim of such a tragedy is alleviate the pain. She would fall into a soft slumber. And he would watch her sleep. The burns were healing and for the first time in five days after the edema had subsided he saw her face. Even though the burns had their toll on her he could make out that she had been a beautiful woman of late 20s.


He woke up one morning to the sobs of his ward mate. She was conscious and off the ventilator. She wept bitterly. He knew what she was feeling as he too had traveled down that path just weeks ago. How he wished such misery hadn't befallen upon her. How he wished he could take away her pain. Not just the one she felt physically. With much courage he spoke to her. "Hey, calm down, at least both your ears are intact. I look like a dracula gone wrong"
She looked at him, paused for a moment and then both of them burst out laughing.



She looked into his eyes which tried so hard to sparkle and found the same ocean of sorrow that burdened her heart. She wasn't afraid of his scarred face and her hairless scalp didn't leave him mortified. Once the veil of appearances unfold leaving the bare soul exposed, there remains nothing to hide under. The eyes which are the most frequent to be fooled don't stand a chance when they have nothing to be fooled by. Immediately then, she realized that she was crying in vain for the beauty that got burnt when the essence of beauty lay skin-deep. 


A soft breeze blew into the ward and his heart didn't ache for the first time in a very long time.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

TROGLODYTES

If you try to Google or Wikiped'(I hope that is the equivalent to "Googling") the title of my post you will get a wide range of meanings but I intend to use it in a way which describes man (not all men but a special breed), not as the man he is but an untamed, wild, uncivilized savage of the old world.

Why the hostility? you may ask. Well, I have a valid explanation for my hostility and anger towards the Troglodytes. My profession doesn't allow me to discriminate. Not on the basis of cast, color or creed. Its not only in my Hippocratic Oath but also doesn't feel right to differentiate between people who when cut bleed all the same (except hemophiliacs, well they bleed a little differently). And neither have I ever discriminated between the rich and the poor, the black or the white, the famous or the infamous, the list goes on, you can imagine. And never did I think I would ever discriminate. But of late I am beginning to have feelings, not emotions (emotion is too strong a word to associate it with my vanity). These feelings are leaving me madder and madder with each passing day. 



Let me get to the point. We all are human beings, accepted. We all face challenges in our daily ordeal to survive, accepted. Often we cannot cross the barriers, more often than not we cannot jump through the hurdles life throws our way. We embrace dejection and rejection more often than we bathe (or brush, as is the case for some). We do not live in a utopia and in my opinion the word "utopia" is reduced to just a mere word in the dictionary. I am not a pessimist but when you really open your eyes to the world, not the world where you lived protected by your parents in a bubble, you will understand that pain and sadness is eternal. We cannot function without it. We, in fact might actually be addicted to pain. Why else would Shelly write, I quote:
"We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest, thought."
Getting back to my point. We all face failures. It leaves us frustrated. Some sleep over it, some cry and whine till they get exhausted and sleep over it. Some leap off a cliff, some take it to the noose and some find solace in insecticides. Congratulations to those who succeeded because as selfish as they were, they sure don't have any hurdles to worry about, not anymore. And the unsuccessful attempts, ah, don't get me started about them, they are a sub-group of the Troglodytes whom I am about to introduce shortly. 
And then there are these "Troglodytes" who take it out on the bottle. Yes, we need a portal to vent out our frustrations lest we all shall turn into serial killers with all that pent up anger! For me, this is my portal. I let it out of me. It doesn't matter if anyone reads it or not. The important thing is when I jot it down, its out of me and out there somewhere in the universe so it doesn't eat me up. Well, the Troglodytes (I gotta check myself for Attention Deficit Disorder, I wander so far away from my point sometimes) take it out on the bottle. While it has been proven by "studies" that drinking a glass or two a week is actually healthy for our heart, it doesn't mean we are gonna get super human hearts if we gulp up a bottle in a go! And it wouldn't really be my concern if these Troglodytes drank themselves to their deaths. As cold as I may sound, its not my problem. But it becomes my problem when their loved ones, yes, the very loved ones whom the Troglodytes hurt in ways more than one, bring the Troglodytes to the Emergency Ward of the hospital where I work.

Some fall from heights, not really a surprise. Some break ATMs with their bare hands and are then cuffed by the police and brought for medical examination. Some get driven on by other Troglodytes and some go on a shooting spree. Accept it or not, it is really hard not to discriminate against them. I mean, for Gods sake, have a drink and lull yourself to sleep. The world already has enough bullshit without these Troglodytes adding more to it. And I know its not my place to judge their actions but silently, without discrimination administer the health care for which they have come to me. But then I think about the other patients who are actually ill with a disease, which they didn't bring upon themselves. I think about how my services would be more useful for them, instead of the drunken fools. I despair when I ponder how much of the Government budget is being spent on something which could be avoided. How we have to use limited resources for these Trogs, when we could use the same resources in aiding the truly ailed. How the ambulance services have to be assigned to harbingers of violence. How the helpless Police officers have to take these Troglodytes to safety and aid, the very ones who disrupt the peace the officers die trying to uphold. Such feelings are the ones racing my mind. Would you blame me if I harbor such thoughts against them Troglodytes because I am yet to come upon a constitution whose penal code doesn't incarcerate an individual for the commission of a crime as a result of voluntary drunkenness or intoxication!

PS. I heard the term "Troglodyte" for the first time in The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn, from Captain Haddock :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Papa Kehte Hain

Its been a while since I last posted or last wrote anything decent. I hope my comeback doesn't prove disastrous. I have always written poems and this, penning down of thoughts in a blog, is new to me. Let me try anyways.
As a kid we all heard  'Papa Kehte Hain' a lot of times. As a teenager many of us learned the song as the first song anyone learns on a guitar (or at least that is what I've been told). When I graduated a week ago from the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, I took a lot of pictures and uploaded them to my facebook page and callously named the album 'Papa Kehte Hain'. I hadn't thought about it much. Except that it was a fun time to reunite with college buddies and reminisce it because perhaps it is the last time I will see all of them together. Of late I haven't been able to stop thinking of what graduating means for me and the song 'Papa Kehte Hain'  plays again and again in the back of my head.

Graduation and convocation seemed fun. Jubilant graduation robes and seeing so many of them robes on the fresh graduates was nothing short of a scene from Hogwarts. Everybody was happy. Everybody's parents were happy. And while I didn't think of this while I was busy throwing my graduation cap up in the air again and again for a perfect picture (to be uploaded on facebook, yes, that's how shallow I have become) I have been thinking about it now. What does graduating mean to me?

Now, when the mirth of the celebration has faded and the dawn of reality rises, I shudder with dread. I am now a graduate. So far, I was this kid in a medical school that nobody paid much heed too. I always had the liberty to say, 'Eh, I am not yet a Doctor, I can make mistakes'. Now I don't. I am a doctor with a MBBS degree, certified and registered with both the UP Medical Council and Delhi Medical Council. I cannot make mistakes.

Graduating opened a door to a whole new world we have all been protected from by our parents. I was born 25 years ago but then now is when I feel like I am really entering the world. Now on wards I don't have my friends to cover for me for being late, I don't have the safety net of my Professors to fall back to each time I answer a question wrong. I don't have examinations annually to judge me how much I have learned from the past session. I don't have a month long notice before hand to allow me to prepare. From now on, every moment of every day is going to be an examination. Everyone is going to be an invigilator, and harsh ones too. They are not going to care whether or not a particular disease was in/out of the syllabus. They don't care if they are setting the questions too tough or setting the bar too high. I am going to be judged professionally, not based on personal relations.

Thinking about what it means to my family and friends, I shudder even more. They are relieved. Finally their son, their friend has become a doctor and now will solve all their ailments. Now they have someone to ask for medical advice when they need to. Though I keep praying that my family and friends never have to see me in my professional capacity, its not practical. They are going to fall sick, the mortal and vulnerable beings we all are.

I know I've had enough lectures and classes and practical exams and postings but somehow I don't think even a lifetime of these is going to prepare me for the road that I have chosen for myself. Each day is going to teach me something new and if it doesn't it definitely is going to change something that I knew and trusted to be true. Everything is changing and will keep changing and the ones who cannot cope up with change succumb to it, as theorized by Darwin an eon ago.

What an irony it is, that we human beings suffer from. When we have something, we don't cherish it and then when it is lost, we wish like madmen to have it back. When I was in med school, all I ever wanted was to get out of it, be done with it. Now that I am actually out of it, I want to go back and learn more, prepare more.

Well, now that doesn't seem possible and it'd probably seem foolish to rave and rant about the past and talk of the things I cannot change. However the future is here and I take my staggering steps to walk forward. Just like I said, its like being born again and learning to walk anew. I hope and pray I live up to the expectations of my family and friends and do justice to my profession. After all, 'Papa Kehte Hain, bada naam karega, beta hamara, aisa kaam karega'...



Saturday, April 23, 2011

THE DEPARTED

It had to be her. The face was unmistakable, unforgettable. She looked thinner than he remembered. A bit weary and her hair no more had the shine. Her eyes spoke volumes of her patience yet still and calm, so deep that they would drown an ocean each.
He stood still, his grey temples pounding. The bruises and scars from the bloodshed marred his creases that once she fell for. His skin had lost its life. He looked pale. The unshaven chin made him appear older than she remembered. His heart suddenly found a voice. He felt warm just like the little bird that survives the winter to sing in the spring . In a long time he felt alive.
She saw him. He forced out a bleak smile. She shifted her gaze back to the sun that was almost setting now and closed her eyes and mumbled a prayer. She must be seeing things. The wait had lasted for over two decades and her eyes fooled her every now and then. She no more could sense the real from the illusions her heart wished were true.
He advanced towards her and he could have sworn each step weighed a thousand tonnes. His footsteps grew heavier,her cheeks reddened. He advanced towards the lean figure on the platform. She stood still. He stopped when he was a foot away from her. He could hear her breath and her heart throbbing as if it conspired to beat right out of her breast.
"How have you been?" he asked.
She shivered as she reached for his hand. She held his hand and caressed her cheeks wetting it with the pearls she had been holding back into those ocean deep eyes. She had to see if it was real, if he was real! She leaned her head into his bosom. 
She whispered, "I knew you would come!"
Tears rolled down his cheeks as he held her face in his palms and kissed her.
The sun glided down the horizon somewhere behind the distant forest as the smokey machine pulled out of the platform hooting and leaving behind it a cloud of smoke. Dusk approached, but for the once departed-it was just dawning! 
A lot of things change over time but then, there are things that are beyond time!


LONELY AGAIN

The rain sounds sad on the lonely roof,
Washing my tears down the drain,
The cold fire doesn't warm my heart.
It's fall, and I'm lonely again.

Once bitten, twice shy
But what do you call this umpteenth disdain?
Burning down dreams once woven together,
Scrubbing off memories, I'm lonely again.

Each breath is exasperating,
More painful than the mothers of pain,
Is this coincidence? Or my folly repeated?
The heart keeps on beating, but it's lonely again.

Of love filled hours and mirthful days,
Pondering if it went in vain.
To tread the path that once it trod,
The heart forsakes and is lonely again.

If it had the choice to choose again,
Would it refuse loneliness for pain?
For whether it chooses to beat or not,
The heart will never be lonely again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

BILLIONS

Billions of souls that walk the planet,
Other billions that you cannot reach,
Billions of heads in every city alike
With billions of thoughts in each.

Billions pass by the alley blessed,
Other billions take the forsaken street,
Billions may pause and actually wonder before
Billions crush billions under their feet

Billions that know not you exist
Billions won't miss you when you're gone,
Billions of souls that walk the planet,
And sometimes, all you need is ONE!                                         

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WITCHY WOMAN

 Its not always the guy who cheats on the girl in a relationship. Here's one dedicated to the guys who did actually let themselves be vulnerable to fall in love and then found out their lady love is just another heart-breaker. The poem gets it's title from a song by THE EAGLES.

I reminisce of that fairy form,
Of a celestial being yet in a land forlorn,
Looks that set my heart aghast,
Embodying my doomsday, you came at last.
God took His time to carve your curves,
But Devil himself breathed your blood,
For your pitch-black locks that fools did comb,
Became their repenting, bellowing tombs.
The bold advances that shook many a heart,
Causing stampede in those half-wit 'tards.
In your being, wise guys found solace,
Obviously unknown of that lying face.
Redder than your lips, could nothing be
Stained with thy lovers bleeding hearts.
Their acumen you punctured time after time,
A deserved nemesis for thinking you were sublime.
Your vehement eyes shot passionate darts,
Clutching and squeezing un-doubting hearts.
And the tempests, for your sake, who did bear,
You submerged their eyes in meaningless tears.
Decaying youths before their ends were near,
Witchy woman, for God's sake forbear:
A day will come, you'll be left alone
For in place of a heart, you bear a stone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

HE

When the November rain kissed the grass,
And the rainbow bright scarfed the sky,
The breeze that blew heaved a sigh,
And the whole of universe jumped with joy.
Throughout the kingdom was jubilation grand,
Joint celebrations hand in hand,
Shrill delights lit lands forlorn.
It was then the heavens had sworn:
Let peace prevail and our Noble prince was born.

Grew up quick-had a lot to do,
Studied industriously, for He had to.
Performed His duties without a tinge of grief,
Far from His land, never away from it.
He did His best and completed His needs,
To return to His Mother, a man of deeds.
Was handed The Reins, tender age of seventeen,
Such a young King, Oh; there never had been!
But He led His people, their prayers He answered,
East and West, their hearts he conquered.

Steering His multitude, away from pain,
Working tirelessly for His beloved Children.
He stays awake, so we sleep in peace,
Such is His nobleness, such greatness is His.
So short a time, such distance He measured,
Integrity and sovereignty, always He treasured.
Never did He rest, however tiring His journey
Through His deeds, entered eternity.
The Dragon men enjoyed peace sans bound
Under His reign, calmness they found.

His Majesty, exemplifies omniscient
All songs of praise seem insufficient.
For He surpasses them, as greatest doth least,
And walks ahead, greatness to teach.
My deepest prayers go for His self:
May His health find Him in best,
May our Father's hand upon us rest,
May our Architect, keep us blessed.
May our Sun dispel all rain,
And radiate beams of Heavenly Reign                               

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LOVE THAT WANED

"Love That Waned " talks about a couple who after some few years in marriage have drifted away from each other. What went wrong? What goes wrong in relationships? Were they made for each other to begin with or did life happen after the era of infatuation faded? Did they jump into a relationship too soon and now realize that this was not what they had signed up for? I do wish all the readers to have a successful relationship. I also plead you all to not let differences come into the way of your relationship and at least try to remember what your partner made you feel like when you first started going out.




Often when we share an umbrella
I find it inclined more towards you,
You see not the rain pouring on me
Tapping my shoulders,leaving it drenched.
Like you notice not the tears
Which stream down my cheeks and leave it reddened.
You are ignorant of those sleepless nights I spent
For you pulled the sheets towards you leaving me cold
And crumbled it all beneath your form.
The way our bodies lie in dissonance
With me wide awake and your back watching me gaze.

Almost always,no always its me who should attend
The needs of our daughter,quietening her wails,
Nurse her fever when you count your snores.
Things have taken priority, rather than people
In your life. You have moved on far ahead
Without even turning to check if I caught up.
You rebuke me for my trivial flaws
Like you were born not to err.
You've forgotten all the marriage vows you took
Swearing to be with me through thick and through thin,
Your spurious self wants no more from me
And so you leave me desolate and broken.
I am not alone but you make me lonely,confined to unseen domains
With no one to turn to as you were my sole company.

And to look back is a pain, the times so sweet
Now drive a thorn into my flesh.
I have missed your loving looks, the warm touch,
Kisses more soothing than April buds.
But mostly I miss the way, you and I used to be "we"
I long to have you in the backward past,
And I'd give anything to meet you
As the person I knew and fell in love.
Now I sleep with a stranger, mask over masks.
Or was it then you masked to veil your vile self?
Whoever you are, pay heed to what I say
I'd rather die a thousand deaths, and die loved
Than to live and talk of a love that waned.

THREE INCH RHAPSODY

He breathes like them, in and out
Save they see the air he breathes,
A stream of fumes, enter and exit
A practitioner of pranayama, ill at ease.
His lips clench the stick, habitual as they are
A stroke from the carbon head and the show begins.
He pulls and pulls the glow closer
Possibly ignorant of the hell he draws.
An inch or two closer to the Reaper won't scare him
For he forgets how many inches he drew.
The cycle resumes, a butt after another
Leading the 'cool dude' closer to his euphoria,
While his nimble lungs choke and wither
And his eyes weep from the relentless fumes
But yet he draws another and another and yet another
Saying, "You know not how it feels"
Sure, for the ones who know aren't around
Long enough to boast of how it feels.
The ashes gray warn him of his aging habit
But his eyes just see the glory of the flame that burns.
Till a day comes when he breathes no more
He is now a part of the air he breathed.
I see him in every street, every bar
He practices in open fields and closed domiciles
Under raining roofs and on window sills
Each breath he draws, a part of himself he kills.