Jan 16, 2017


The image that pops up in my head for the word convalescence, I think is influenced by this scene in the movie  'How green was my valley.'

There is a bed by a large window - the season doesn't matter much - it could be a rainy day or it could be cold and dreary but there is definitely a window with a vast expanse of sky visible. On the bed is the invalid with a ubiquitous blanket. And the most important part is this other person sitting by the bed reading aloud a book.

When I was about twelve, I was hospitalized for a few weeks, thanks to a bout of Typhoid. Oddly, I still have very clear memories of those days - the mornings when I invariably ran a high fever, and the evenings saturated by immense tiredness. I remember the morning nurse, a beautiful young woman who dressed in white saris, with a single red or yellow rose pinned to her hair, had the saddest eyes I have ever seen. Every time she checked my temperature, it would be high. Every time the evening nurse, a gregarious young woman with very commonplace looks checked, it would be normal. At some point, I remember wanting to get better as much for myself as for the morning nurse.  Followed by the hospital stay, I spent a few weeks at home recovering. I remember eating curd rice and the soothing 'paruppu thogaiyal' for days on end. And most of all I remember reading a lot of books.

So when in December, I had to stay out of work for a few weeks to recover, the first thought that occurred to me was the books that  I could finish reading. I know, I know! In a haze of romance, I discounted the pain and the extreme tiredness of illness, and all the inconveniences and frustrations of being in bed all day. And I certainly discounted the compulsion to getting back to work as soon as I got a little better.

Still, I managed to finish a few books [The Gene, masterpiece] and rediscovered the sounds of a weekday afternoon.

January 16, 2017