Amanush (अमानुष): Part I


Would like to forewarn, I will be completing this story in phases as part I, II and so on. I advise, please don’t even begin to read this article or it’s series if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, CVD or susceptible to any other vulnerability.

What you are about to read is no fiction or a promotional gimmick. Little to no attempt has been made to make this reading fun. In fact every word screams reality, emerging from first-hand experience and not the one you would want to experience yourself.

Home: Safe Haven or Is it?

Without a doubt this pandemic has impacted all living souls, and we were no exception. Since March 2020 like many others, we too have been spending a lot of time indoors. Home—supposedly the safest place on earth right? I thought so too but, is it? Seems, it wasn’t in our case.

While we were self-quarantined, maintaining social distance due to COVID-19, little did we know that some other parasite within the 4 walls had been sucking the life and blood out of us, slowly but gradually. BTW I am not referring to domestic violence; although that too has been an unfortunate reality for millions. Our case is different.

Knowledge: Empowering or Derailing.

Before giving away the details, let me briefly paint a picture of what happened the day when the truth was unveiled before me. It was Tuesday, Sep 22 2020. Was pouring rain 24/7. This day was unlike any other day because it’s rain with it brought to light some dark secrets.

From the moment I woke up, I was going about my day as usual. Having been Tuesday, I was fasting for Lord Shree Ganesha—The elephant God. Took shower, did my prayers followed by Shambhavi (meditation). As I was preparing to grab a meal, there was a knock on the door—we had visitors. It was my Aunt (my mother’s younger sister) and her son. I greeted her, we exchanged smile and I went on doing my own thing while she sat beside my mother and in no time was engrossed in a deep conversation.

Usually I let them be, no interference or involvement from my end but as I was doing the dishes I overheard something that instantly grabbed my attention. Heard something about basketball dribbling, and some things that the neighbors said. When my mum saw that I was taking notice, she tried to hush her up and abruptly changed the topic. This instilled more curiosity in me. It took some coaxing on my end before my aunt started spilling the beans. Surrendering, mum too shed some light on it.

As my mum let the cat out of the bag, I stood there—still, trying to grab every syllable and heed every word. It was as if, for a moment I froze or that the time stood still. I don’t know what expression I had been wearing on my face but it took me while to switch or respond.

While I was trying to soak-in all that my mum was sharing I was going back and forth to weird things from the past that I had experienced myself but I never held my though too long on those things so they didn’t bother me. Supposedly everything seemed normal up until that moment but upon close contemplation there was always sth off about the place. Suddenly, all weird phenomenon started making sense…actually it didn’t—it still doesn’t. Having lived in the place myself, I wasn’t completely denying what I was hearing but at the same time I wasn’t 100% sold on it yet.

Ignorance a Bliss

It’s weird how it took just one information to change the entire perception of how I was looking at things—now. It made me realize, how ignorant we had been—then.

If there’s such a thing as ‘hopelessly optimistic’ we were just that. Therefore, in constant denial. This only validates how fragile our so called ‘reality’ is. Just about anything can break it in no time. Ignorance in our case was truly a bliss.

However, I no longer had the privilege of being ignorant (knowledge took that away). Now, either I could use this new information, brush it off in disbelief or do sth about it. I chose the latter, if not for anything at least for a piece of mind.

It wasn’t a question of what I believed or disbelieved. At that moment all I could see was my mother and that she was unwell. My full of life, strong spirited mother was now suffering. I couldn’t negate the fact that day by day her health was deteriorating despite following up with the doctors and taking necessary medicines. And it took no expert to notice that it all started since we’d moved in 10 months back.

Deep down I knew, now is not the time to REACT but ACT. Next thing I know, I was packing, made few phone calls and sent a couple of text messages to close friends/family; not sharing any details, simply securing a safe place for the night. Considering COVID-19, we had to be extra cautious of our next move. Packed few essentials to get us both covered for a few days—couldn’t think beyond that. It was already late at night but we had to do what we had to. She hopped onto my Scooter, and we headed towards Sunakoti (mama Ghar).

While driving, I couldn’t help but think that all this was ACTUALLY happening; so unreal it seemed like a bad dream. Who knew? We had to experience such a thing in this lifetime. Life in that sense is truly mysterious. Whatever the thought, the fact was, we were out in the cold, driving at night amid the pouring rain, all drenched with cloud of questions hovering over our head, riding through the mismanaged roads, making our way towards a home away from home.

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