I knew it would happen again. My back pain was baaaack but it was much friendlier than before. At least to say that it gave me some liberty to move around. This time, my office paid cabin charges and it more looked like a hotel room than the hospital. The only difference was in room service. Here they served glucose instead of cold black coffee. My cold black coffee came as a catering service from home. Hospital is an interesting place to be. What an irony!!...when you are well, and you want to eat something, you may not get that stuff to eat but when you are sick and cannot eat, people will bring the food that you would have liked to eat when you are well.
Amidst the crowd of people visiting me, I could smell that extreme loneliness on one side and that familiar cold pain down my spines treating me like I am addicted to it. I always dreaded staying in hospital but of late, it has become my transit lodge as I have to visit it very regularly.
The first night passed away with relatives appearing and disappearing like in Drama. The next morning was lot better with only my parents, son and one of my friends visiting me. Then I was put to medication which put me to deep sleep. By the time I woke up, it was past evening. The doctor insisted that I refresh myself by going outside and taking some short stroll. Well, I felt my legs deserved some treat too even though I had a reluctant back.
Just as I was coming out, I got a call from a lady who wanted to see me. So I waited for her at the hospital parking. It only took few minutes for her to arrive. It felt like my office had moved to hospital parking now. When she climbed out of her red alto car, she was wearing three km long smile on her face and introduced herself as Kuenzang Deki. I explained to her that I was on leave and going for a short walk as advised by my doctor hoping that she would go back. But she said she had something serious to sort out. Well, I was nervous. What can be serious business for me that brought a stranger to talk to me in hospital?
There were many visitors coming in and out of hospital so she suggested that we take a walk and do the talking. That sounded fair enough. The road towards Pipaldara, just above the hospital looked tempting, so we crossed over to it. There was a long silence, then she blurted out, “ Sir, I just came to know from his office that my husband took two lakhs loan from your office. He got the money and eloped with another woman. I have two small children.” It left me feeling clumsy and awkward. Even before I said anything, she was already crying. “They are snatching away food from my children’s mouth.” When she was done with crying, she apologized and explained her predicament.
I explained to her that there was nothing I could do about it since he had taken loan after completing all the formalities. Deep sense of uneasy feelings began to fill my heart. However, I was able to convince her to talk to her husband and sort out things. In small conversations that we had that evening, she never even uttered one word of curse or vengeance. There was an air of dignity in her blood and as much as she was soft, she was ever more virtuous. The ability to show her strength when she was going through hard times appealed to me and the charm she left….I guess had the charm of flute on snake.
In our conversation, we forgot the distance that we had walked and as I returned to my cabin, I had million things to think apart from my pain. It was a long walk back home…a very long walk back to myself. I may never be able to heal that pain in her heart but if it does at all, I will walk any length of road.
...During my university days, one of my professors told me the story of an eagle. It is said that the eagle lives for over 70 years. But during its 40 th year, it has to make some hard decisions. Its long and flexible talons can no longer grab its prey. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old, aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, stick to its chest and make it difficult to fly. Then, the eagle is left with only two options: either to die or go through a painful process of change which lasts for over six months. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountaintop and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. Then the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back. Then it will pluck out its talons The talons are what an eagle uses to catch food. To pluck them out would not only be extremely difficult and painful, but would also take away their ability to provide food for themselves. When it's new
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