Life has never been fair with me. When I was a clumsy kid with a running nose, Asthma climbed on my shoulder. Being an only child, I'd been taken care of in the most unnatural ways. After seeing enough white coats and surviving enough medical treatments, I stopped asking for the cure as it was an unbearable process.
My daily routine wasn't even close to normalcy. From the moment, the yellow glory of the sun showered my bedroom, I'd find my mother standing with a glass of vegetable juice. A plastic smile on her face was her language of depriving me of playing with my peers. Rest of the day would pass in sitting frozen; to not disturb priests who were the regular visitors of my home. I was a mobile temple. None of my fingers was spared from rings. My bosom was decorated with different lockets given by different monks. Being a velvet hearted kid, I never refused to do anything my mom said. Rather, I'd say: I let those household doctors do their experiments.
Ria, the girl who would make me cluelessly used to pass by my home at 6 PM – it was the time when I'd rush to my balcony to capture her heavenly glimpse. She was beautiful. But then, my mother was told to shut all the doors at 6; as negative vibes travel faster on that part of the day. Damn! I couldn't say: her positive vibes would easily surpass the negative ones.
And then my class teacher, she was told to keep an eye on me. When my classmates drew her image at the back of their notebooks, I kept my head straight and tried to show: I was breathing okay. Things got worse, when just after few minutes in the washroom, she would send a kid to knock at the door. Nothing could be worst than this.
As I'd walk fast, my father would hold my hand and slow my pace. I always wondered, why do they never let me live peacefully. What wrong had I done in my previous life, that I'd been paying the price? But then, my mother, she thought the opposite of it: my sickness is the result of the bad deeds of her past. In repentance, she used to cry when I predicted to be asleep.
The threat was the unpredictable nature of asthma attacks. They knew no place, no time and no face. More than toys, I'd nebulisers. A spray which would enter my nostrils and silence my breaths; whenever my windpipe got constricted.
One fortunate day, I got rid of my eagle-eyed mother and walked to the park few kilometres away from my home. The sun was merciless. After covering half of the distance, I was dizzy and nauseated. My heartbeats were the only noise, I could hear in the scary silence. And my ally, I didn't carry it in my pocket.
But then, for solitude, I started walking again. With all the energy left in me, I fell down on my knees in front of the gate. I was bathed in sweat, but the sacred perfume helped. I was trapped between my weakness and my madness.
Standing at the losing side, I recalled all the lifesaving instructions I'd got. It started from kissing the ring pierced in my left thumb and ended at the bracelet on the wrist of my right hand. In between, I kept on chanting all the hymns I managed to memorise. But, It was something strange. None of the remedies helped. I began to lose my consciousness. I was breathing at the speed of light. Resting my head on the ground, I coughed. It seemed the earth had got rid of the centrifugal force. It was the last breath left in me and I preferred to embrace blackness.
I heard the sounds of murmur as if honey bees had found the home in my ears. After a courageous struggle, I unveiled my eyes. It was like my room was filled with fog and clouds were my guest.
Have I survived? Does heaven look like my room?
"Arun," I heard the voice of my mother.
My mother might've also died in the trauma of my death, I concluded.
For the first time, I saw a heartfelt smile on her face. Happiness, which I'd never seen before. Her eyes glittered. She sat near me and carefully held my hand as if I were a newly born. I tried to sit, but I failed.
"Careful, You are fine now. Very soon, you'll attend the class," said my class teacher Shalini mam.
Damn! She also, I was shocked. How could she?
"How? How did it happen?" I managed to ask in an hardly audible voice.
"Shalini ma'am is a Goddess." my mother gave her an admirable look. She continued, "She was passing by the park where you were lying half alive. She's saved you — yes this humble teacher has saved my son. Oh! God, protect her and may her knowledge reach the seven skies."
It was hard to believe. I won't be wearing those lockets and rings now. Shalini mam has saved me. Mother will understand: God doesn't get convinced with a golden necklace but with a golden heart.
As she noticed my finger, the walls of the room got scared of the shrill cry. "Oh! No, the ring of your index finger is absent. God! Forgive us and don't show us your wrath. Oh God! I'll give him a new one, with more polish of gold," my mother cried.
I wondered if giving the ring to the beggar who had been hungry for days is a sinful act.