Laugh Or Cry?
Laugh Or Cry?6 mins 297 6 mins 297
There come certain events and times in our lives when we are gripped by a certain kind of madness. I choose to call this madness as during these times one major part of you suffers from sorrow and fear while another part of you forces you to laugh loudly in joy. Yet another part seems confused and wonders what exactly you are supposed to do. This story is about one such event.
My wife had met with an accident and she had lost her consciousness. Her Bajaj Chetak was hit by an unknown vehicle while she was bravely exploring a very lonely stretch of our neighborhood in Agra. I was out of town on business and my aging parents were at home. In winters, Northern India has very short days and long nights. The sunsets quickly and in open places and fields, fog tends to set in. My wife was hit just when the sun was setting and there was hardly and soul around her.
When it grew late, my parents became restless and spoke to our neighbor. Soon a search was on for my missing wife. It was then that the milk vendor who delivers milk to my house cycled into our colony gates and noticed the commotion in front of our house. When he heard about my missing wife he told those gathered there that he had just heard about a lady on a scooter getting hit and lying unconscious on the road. Some passerby had reported the matter to the police and they had taken the lady to some hospital, while the scooter was taken to the police station.
My wellwishers rushed forthwith to the police station near my house to enquire; they gathered that there was indeed such an event as described by the milkman and as the woman was unable to recollect her address she was admitted to the government hospital until she regained consciousness and gave details of herself and family. The Chetak was indeed hers.
I was unaware of these events and was returning by train to Agra and was scheduled to arrive early the next morning. Since modern communication tools were absent then, I could not be conveyed about the accident.
It was surprising, therefore, that about five of my colleagues were at the station to receive me! There was no precedent for such reception and I was not very sure whether I should feel happy. One of them told me about the incident involving my wife without beating around the bush. It was then that I felt the first shock.
I was whisked away to the hospital where she was admitted and sure enough, I could confirm that it was my wife who was lying unconscious on the bed in a common ward shared by twenty other patients. Around one particular bed, a dozen men and women were gathered around the patient and I could hear them wailing loudly. The patient, I was told, had died.
You can understand my shock and sorrow when I saw my wife lying motionless in front of me. There was a lone police constable there, presumably from the police station near my house. He walked up to me and narrated the circumstances under which my wife was discovered. When the police had reached the spot, my wife was unconscious. They tried to revive her and she had opened her eyes to say something. They asked her name and address. She could not give her name but she gave them an address which was in Delhi. That was her mother’s house address where she was born and grew up and lived before our marriage!
My colleagues told me that she had regained consciousness after the doctors had treated her. They were all present and so were my parents, but my wife could not recognize any of them. Then she had slipped back into sleep.
The doctor came and I requested him for an explanation about her condition. He asked me to shift her to a better hospital with modern facilities soonest so that she could be evaluated and treated properly.
She remained motionless and without coming to consciousness for a full two days even after we had shifted her to a better hospital. The doctors had run several tests but could not confirm the diagnosis as the results were yet to come. Meanwhile, I gathered that she was hit on her head and some blood had come out of one of her ears. Her present state was because of the concussion she suffered and there was no way the doctors could say when she will be conscious and what would happen when she was conscious.
My parents had started praying to their Gods. The message was sent to her family in Delhi and her mother and sister were rushing to Agra. On the third day, she opened her eyes and looked at her mother and sister who were there. Her stare was vacant and she could not recognize them! Her mother was crying and her sister consoling her when I arrived. They told me what had happened, and my heart sank. After an hour she opened her eyes again, this time to stare at me. I waited with bated breath. One part of me was happy that she was alive, but there was a big part including my heart that was trembling with fear. Would she, or would she not recognize me? What if she had lost all her memories permanently? Already, dark thoughts were haunting me.
She was looking at me with strange eyes as if trying hard to identify me. Finally, her looks changed, she began smiling at me and then she put out her hand towards me. I could not stop the flood of emotions within me or the tears that filled my eyes. But I was smiling with joy and took her in my arms in a soft bear-hug. I cannot recall either before or after in my life when so much of love and emotions had swamped me. I kissed her as she asked me: “Where am I? Ravi, what happened to me? Why are you all crying?”
Funnily I recalled similar situations in movies where the hero or heroine has had an accident and put in the hospital. When they wake up the first question invariably was “ where am I? Who am I?” The recall of this funny dialogue and my wife’s question somehow got me roaring with laughter. I just kept hugging her and kissing her and thanking God for restoring my wife to me.
Well, what happened thereafter will have to wait for another time and another story or stories, but even today I feel strange how a person can cry and laugh at the same time? If any of you have found answers, please share.