Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Truth about Scars

The most beautiful thing about children is that there are no filters. They say it as is, and it’s refreshing. 

With kids, my hands or rather the lack of it, is a huge area of discussion - from discussing how they actually cut my hand, if I was/am in pain, to detailed discussion on the remnant palm, why is the left softer than right, why does the right hand have so many colours - there are no dearth of questions.

One of the questions that struck me was why did I did not make it look prettier - in their words ‘colour it the same’.

While I had just amputated, I hated looking at the mirror. I was ashamed, disgusted with the way I looked. I remember walking around with shawls to cover the scars and in my mind I just felt there was just too much of ugliness on display. I remember going shopping with a friend who pointed out a lovely top, and I telling her 'its sleeveless, too much for other people to handle it'.

At around the same time, I had to get a picture taken for a Government Disability Card, which required all my disabilities to be visible. This is a picture of me in shorts ensuring all limbs were visible. I remember being so hurt that day. I was angry, ashamed of that picture and I felt like my very dignity was destroyed. For the longest times when I passed through airport security I would put that card face down – I did not have it in me to look at it.

I'm not sure when I made that transition – was it was a moment or a phase? I today do not care what someone else thinks. I've figured it is someone else's problem if they cannot look at my scars.

I wear what I want, go where I am and no longer bother with the stares – I tell myself I’m a movie star(except I don’t have the money!)

Today I flash that Disability card with a lot more of confidence and’s no longer face down.

And to finally answer question on why I did not make my scars look prettier is just this – I am actually proud of them!

I've just read the english translation of "Ponniyin Selvan", which is a story based during the Chola rule. The extremely descriptive book, speaks a lot of the strength and valour of the men during that era. Vijayalaya Chola was matchless in his fame. He had received 96 battle scars. The later poets sang 'the king who got twice three number above ninety scars and he who wore ninety six injuries like ornaments on his body"

It got me thinking...

I'm wearing my scars as proudly as Vijayalaya Chola did, as they are a testimony of my battles both physical and mental. They are a reminder of my journey and what it took out of me to accept this and finally be proud of the person I became - the lack of limbs a minor impediment. 

And even more interesting is that all of us have scars - some physical that you can see and most metaphorical. I do not think there is a single person on this earth that doesn’t have one. Some of these scars take us to our childhood where these scars stood for being fearless and taking risks or just plain happiness or stupidity. And some scars take us to darker places.

But if all of us could just accept and be proud of our scars because they stand for our journeys and triumphs mostly – the world would be a less darker place.

They teach us that the wounds always heal, though the scars stay.

And with time these scars just get lighter and sometimes accidentally when we run our eyes or hands over them they remind you of all the emotions that caused them, but most importantly I hope you can remember that you triumphed over them. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Best of both worlds!

Having lost a baby earlier, I kept the news of my pregnancy under wraps until I finished the first trimester. I was obviously elated that I would be a mother, but there was also a sense of unease - would I totally suck at the role? Would I even meet half the benchmark set by my mother who ticks all the boxes of exemplary behaviors to be exhibited as a mother? The Universe intervened and I lost my baby in the bargain to stay alive. 

We further made the decision that we weren't going to have children.  

Was it an easy decision? Absolutely no. 

Was it a practical decision? Absolutely yes.

Do I miss motherhood? In teeny bits and parts.

I usually definitely want to ‘look’ pregnant (please note only pregnant) when I see women with large baby bumps. My aspiration…Beyonce at the Grammy’s. Did you see her? She practically looked like a goddess, she had this glow, she looked absolutely ravishing displaying her baby bump – and in that moment I wanted to look like her.

I miss it in parts when my friends have an “awww” moment with their child, and you wonder if you are missing something in your life.

I miss it in parts when kids say the cutest things in the world.

Do not fret –I’ve had my fair share of cute kid moments.

My most vivid recollection, has been a 5 year old boy, who stopped me at the stadium and asked me with both his hands on his hips “What happened to your hand?”. He had a few of his friends in the background. Now I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Should I tell him it started with a fever and have him fear fevers for the rest of his life or should I tell him about the bacteria. I looked around for a responsible adult – then of course I remembered I am the bonafide adult here. So I smiled and said “It was caused by an accident”. He said “What kind of accident”? I said “A car accident, I was hurt very badly and the doctor had to take my hands off”. He mulled over my response and asked “Did it pain?” I said “Yes, for some time”. I then asked him “Do you want to touch my hand?” He immediately touched it, smiled and looked back at his waiting friends “It’s so soft, come touch and see”. It was as simple as that.

Nila, my friend’s 5 year old at her birthday party dragged her friend towards me. I was sitting at a table, with my hands on my lap. She forces the friend to look under the table and says “See, no hands”. The girl obviously was in shock and said she was scared to look, to which Nila pats her and said as a matter of fact “Why are you scared? She is not scared. And she has no pain, and she is my friend”.

Veda, my friend’s 4 year old was watching a procession of goddesses from the car. Pointing at one of them, she said “She has four hands, why can’t she give two to Shalu?”

A little girl walked up to me at the stadium and asked me my name. She then smiled and asked me if I was coming to the stadium the next day. The next day she arrived all smiling. She stood around me for a bit, and then finally asked “Don’t these (blades) hurt?”

While I was running at Cubbon park recently, I passed by two little boys. I heard one say to the other “See ra…see her shoes”, to which the other said “Super cool da”. And ofcourse they were referring to my blades.

All these moments take you by surprise. Each of them reacted to disability in whatever way they had deemed fit, and the most beautiful part is that they did not come with judgments – it is what it is!

I’ve learnt you don’t need to be a mother, to have your ‘aww’moments.

When the Universe takes something from you, it always gives you something in return, in its own way balancing it out. In my case I became “the cool aunt”. This gives you an opportunity to spoil the kids rotten, have all the fun, you can teach them the worst things and learn a million things from then – AND then you don’t need to worry about their bed time or if they ate or pooped or if they slept or fret about all the thousand other things...they have their mommies for that!! 

The best of both worlds.