As far as I remember I have always seen my mother struggling with a disease or two. Even before I was born, the valves in her heart didn’t work properly. Then there was always the case of hyper acidity and migraine that never let food remain in her stomach (and has been genetically passed onto me). Then came the disastrous paralysis attack which not only left her half dead but significantly changed my life too. Now, there is slip disc, frequent episodes of menopausal hot flashes, constant pain in her legs (reason unknown), and all the side effects of those numerous medicines that keep her alive. I have literally never seen my mom healthy, and I feel in some way because of that I never had a normal life. I know almost every doctor in town, the cute neurologist who looks great in a light green shirt, the I-have-no-time-to-breathe cardiologist, the orthopaedist who talks way too much, the old ENT specialist who has a big white house, you get the picture, I know way too many doctors.
I stayed in Bangalore for seven years and I visited almost every hospital one could name. Manipal hospital is my favourite because I believe it is where my mother got her second life, even though only half of her body worked but she survived and got better. It was the last year of school and during the last three months I spent numerous evenings at Manipal hospital. I would sit by the stairs and practice mathematics. We would eat dinner from the hospital canteen when my sister didn’t feel like cooking. I skipped school almost every day but my teachers didn’t care much as skipping school was allowed for the “good students” so that they can prepare well at home for the Board examinations. I mostly spent my time watching television because it took my mind away from my dying mother. By the time she became healthy enough to live, I had almost lost everything. I messed up my Boards, all my entrance exams and any chance to have a normal career.
For eleven years from Class 1 to 11th, one would always see me on stage collecting my report card, prizes, merit scholarships amidst claps and cheers but in that last year, the year that mattered the most, whoosh…. everything was gone…. Just like that…. All my dreams shattered. In a flash …
I missed getting into a medical college by a single mark.
Counselling day. Rank number called. With a smile on my face I go ahead. He asks me to sign. I search frantically for a pen. He says, “sorry, last seat thi,chali gayi”. And I start crying.
Seven years have passed by but I go back to that moment all over again. There are so many what ifs in my mind…
What if the attack hadn’t happened? What if the 17 year old me wasn’t forced into a career she didn’t like? What if they had given me one more chance? What if I wasn’t so arrogant and angry with everything?
He gave me my mother…. He took away my dream.
I need to do something for those eleven years, for those years when I knew what I wanted, when I was determined enough to overcome any obstacle in my way to success. I need to forgive my parents. I need to forgive myself for not trying hard enough. As I sit here and see my mother trying to sleep in spite of a terrible headache I need to find a new dream and let go of the old one. I can’t carry the burden of that broken dream anymore. I can’t let it ruin the rest of my life.
I have to move on.
P.S. Writing is therapy. I feel better.