Tuesday, May 31, 2005


What is your earliest memory of pain? This is a blog I've been wanting to write for ages, but somehow the right moment didn't chance upon me. Today, somehow, I felt the inclination to write it. I don't know about most people, but I can't remember my earliest 'pleasure'. My moment of pure fun, unadulterated pleasure. Was it playing with my dog, or running around after my pets, or watching a movie, or going for long drives, since in the tea gardens everywhere to everywhere was a long drive.
But through all the highs and lows, through all the nearly 28 years of my march towards death (what is life but a journey that leads to a destination marked DEATH), the one memory that has stayed with me is my worst and first memory of pain. I remember it clearly, and painfully. I was about seven, and in the hostel in DPS, RK Puram, one of India's premier schools. Yes it is cruel to be in boarding that early in life but sometimes you don't have a choice. So I was here, in a boarding which had no matrons but only ayahs to take care of you, where rats constantly dug into your Chyawanprash, where red gel toothpaste was squeezed and found plastered all over, literally painting the walls red, where you were greeted in the loo by a pot that was clean but a floor which had turd all over it.... of all that, another blog.
One particular day, in this premier school in the capital of India, I remember screaming with the worst pain of my life. It was in my ear. I cried for over an hour, and no this wasn't the silent crying, it was mad wailing and shrieking, it was pure pain, unadulterated pain. And the fact that it has transcended all these years, all these pains, all the accidents, the bruises, the scratches, the stitches, indicates to me that it was a pain I will never forget. It was, so to speak, etched in my ear. I remember thinking that this must be death. This deafening, numbing pain that seemed to contract and shrink every muscle in your body, that made you want to curl up in a foetal position with your hand pressed against your ear as if even the passing of air would bring a fresh spasm. That pain, to get rid of which you would agree to do anything, amputate your ear even. When not a soothing word, nor a calm touch helps, when it's just you against the pain. No one else matters, because it's such a personal fight, such an intense dialogue that nobody can be included. Childbirth must be like that. How much ever you try, the father of the child can be included only so much. The doctor can empathise only so much. I don't know...
My pain that day was caused by some stupid fool who had put a bob pin (remember those ridiculous, thin hair holders) into my ear, I can't remember for what. Maybe they were trying to substitute an ear bud. But they or he or she had managed to touch my ear drum and scratch it inside.
Years later, when I was 20 and just out of college, I met with a serious accident. We were in a Maruti van and we hit a tree. The car caved in, into my knee. My knee cap was smashed. My mother, who was driving, was hsyterical. I have never been so patient in my life. There wasn't a tear. I was in control of the situation. I did cry, much later, when the antibiotic injections were being administered through the intra venous into my veins, every six hours. It was those silent tears. They would just come, slowly but steadily. But it wasn't crazy, hysterical crying. Right up to the time of the operation on the first day there were no tears. I think I made peace with my pain very early on. Pain can affect you only how much you let it. I know I probably sound 88 and dying, having lived an entire life in pain, but no, I am serious. Just try it. The physical is very easy to control, be it pleasure or pain. It's the mind that you have to have the dialogue with. And once you've done that, neither pain nor hunger nor cold can touch you.


Anonymous subgardenfeel said...

some things are so so personal and so intensely felt that it's hard to admit them as such even to yourself

31 May, 2005  
Blogger eM said...

Grah!!! Painful entry :)
How's it going though--besides these long poetic posts on Bombay and inner musings, it would be nice to hear some NEWS. The pitter-patter of little feet soon, maybe? :)

31 May, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...


Too evocative a blog for a response worthy enough.

A next-stage thing? After turbulance, calm. After pain, at peace. After association, intimacy. After scatter, focus.

Heck... even eggheads must accept that academization aint no good sometimes.

01 June, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Also, don't want to sound ultra-analytical, but the greatest intellectual energy has always been released by pain fought with love

01 June, 2005  
Blogger Mukta said...

You know, I think with the first recollection of pain also comes the first recollection that you came out of it alive and lived to tell the tale.

No small lesson that!

Don't ask me how I got to your blog though. Don't remember...honestly! :-)

16 June, 2005  
Anonymous Free-to-air said...

The important thing is to go out and say what you want to say. To express yourself, in whatever small way that you can.

Sometimes, catharsis is the best way.

To speak, and speak with courage, even under the stern glare of those who want you to keep shut, is to breathe. Regardless of the consequences.

17 June, 2005  
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la tortura

17 June, 2005  
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