You need the repetitiveness of monotony, alongside your everyday struggle, to become wise in the not so distant future.
I discover this in a hospital at Port Blair in 2010, lying energy-less in a sweat-soaked bed, looking outside at the aquamarine bay where the Japanese and the Royal Indian Naval sailors fought wars more than seven, or eight decades ago to lay claim over the 500 plus islands that make the territory of Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal. And unlike thousands who perished, not due to the battle injuries, but before a treatment could be found for the deadly Plasmodium falciparum, I am on my way to recovery. Falciparum is one of the protozoan parasites, the doctor tells me, that the female anopheles mosquito inserts in the skin, which breaks into the deadliest form of malaria. This is the first female in my life that has caused me so much pain.
Sickness has turned me philosophical. I think there are only two places in the world where people can make profound discoveries about life: the jail & the hospital. Though I have never been to a jail, but the contained life there must be similar to that in the hospital. Most of us hate loneliness, without realizing, that its boundaries enclose our greatest thoughts.
I have been using the time to fine-tune my thoughts about life and foremost in my mind is that I should have done more to live my life better. I am thinking, to be free, we should never hate the world; and to be loved, we should discover our ability to forgive.
Not many visit me in the hospital and I am tired of reading the old, dog-eared thrillers which belong to the nurse’s and doctor’s library down the corridor. Hospital staffs, for some reason, I have noticed, like to read thrillers. One morning I ask the reason to a doctor who has become a friend.
‘Death is not an obstruction,’ he says, ‘it merely validates that you lived once. Whether or not you knew about it, is a different matter altogether. Doctors want to live their lives. Because they see death every day, it makes them want thrills in the lives of those people who are still alive. In our everyday moments we doctors value the action of the non-dead.’
I jot it down once he is gone. It’s such a strong reason that it floats in the air around me for a long time.