Category Fiction

Hopes to grow

Optimism and Hopeby Shibabrata SenChaudhury
Kolkata, India

Watching our child grow with age is a pleasure of the parents. However, situation wasn’t the same with my first born daughter Asha, since she is one of those babies whose growth remains frozen in time. ‘Asha – which means Hope’ had coincidentally kept our dreams to test, with the expectation to find her growing normally with age. The doctors couldn’t find the exact problem of her abnormally reduced growth on initial stages. We were said that she has certain respiratory problems which is causing its side-effects on her physical growth. But, this sole reason didn’t keep my husband and me satisfied for too long when we discovered that she couldn’t even sit without support at the age of one and a half years. With several worries related to our first child, my husband finally decided to get a second baby when she was about two years old. She would barely look like a two month old baby, even though she had spent couple of years in this world.

My second child was a son, who was about two years and eight months younger than Asha. We never wanted our second child to have similar problems that Asha was facing. A year-long wait after mothering both my kids, who looked like the fraternal twins on early stages; few of the dreams of my husband and me were reassured to find that my son was growing normally to his age. But, poor Asha yet kept me awaiting from the hint of a voice like ‘Ma’ even at the age of four. Gradually, my son grew in time and we had to admit him at a kindergarten school. I usually took roadside walks at the evening with my son walking beside me and Asha seated at a pram. Nobody on earth could even guess that my daughter is certainly older than my son.

It took almost eight years for me to hear the most desired word of a mother from the mouth of Asha. That was the first time she called me ‘Ma’ while lying on her cradle. Her daddy was also very excited on that particular day and he chanted the word ‘Papa’ several times before her ears with expectation that she would at least pronounce the first syllable of it. But, all his hard work went in vain when he was left with no response from her side. However, the first sound of meaningful communication from her mouth had rekindled certain hopes in my husband about her. The next day we visited a renowned pediatrician in Delhi and got her checked. His diagnosis were somehow different from the way others did on Asha’s reduced growth till then. He said to us that this could be due to several DNA defects that result in aging and growth of people.

We didn’t turn up with any positive replies from the pediatrician’s chamber though. Things would remain the same with the few changes in her diet chart as mentioned by the doctor. But, he made it a point that we should visit him once in a month always to get her weight and growth checked in regular intervals. Medication may not be the best process to get Asha growing with time. She needs to be under controlled diet and few body massages, yet only a miracle can make rapid changes in her looks. Time has too arrived that my son would even carry her on his lap sometimes and move around from one room to another by couching her on his arms.

In ten years of time she had grown to a baby of six months and it’s not always possible for me to keep close looks on her for a such a long tenure. Therefore, I appointed a babysitter specially for Asha. Breastfeeding may not be the necessary diet for her at the age of ten, but with her alarmingly reduced growth I wouldn’t be surprised if the doctors had prescribed that either. But, it wouldn’t have been possible from me because milk had simply dried in my breasts like the hopes of seeing her grow everyday.

However, we never kept her aloof from the family gatherings or special occasions. Every year my husband make it a point that Asha’s birthday candles are blown by us and the moment to be celebrated to the fullest. For last seven years we never need to worry about the size of clothes that she used to wear. She fits into the same old dress of hers that she wore during her fourth birthday. But, new clothes are always brought for her whenever we shop something for our son. As parents we yet remained unaware of the fact of her emotional growth. So, we never want her to get ignored by us under any circumstances.

Scientists might have found her to be an interesting subject at the age of fourteen, with a physical weight to be approximately six kilograms and height of around thirty inches. She hardly looks a year old and yet to take her first walking steps. But as her parents, we are the best observers of her growth since birth. Time has really tested us since her birth. We have given up the hopes of miracle to happen to her. But as a mother I am proud to give birth to a child who will live young forever and probably die as young as she looks like at present.

A litany of voices

Shibabrata SenChaudhuryby Shibabrata SenChaudhury

Inspired by a book written by a Tibetan lama, I developed a fascination of capturing dreams in memory and tried to find answers to it. Those were the dreams that come to us during sleep. This process used to be mentally strenuous. However, I was keen to make it a habit and practised it on regular basis. Everything was going fine and I succeeded in remembering many dreams that come to me eventually. Most of the times I asked questions to myself to verify a proper image of the astral plane. It was mentioned in the book that our spirit leave the body during the sleep and visits astral plane. The spirit remains connected to the body with a silver cord though. However, my main motive was to enhance the capabilities of third-eye in me.

Gradually these activities ushered me to some kind of spiritual connections. And I started to see various signs, words and images in my dreams. Once I had a terribly frightening dream, where I presumed to have visited the land of Satan. Months went by and I grew a fondness towards loneliness. With time a belief of spirituality developed in me. I never used to meditate in the typical manner the great saints do. But everything was shaping into strangeness in my characteristics. Often I used to walk inside my living room, looking towards the mosaic floor of its. For some reason or other this act made my spiritual believes stronger. The small pieces of coloured stones glittered like stars in front of my eyes, as I loved walking on those with the belief of crossing several constellations. One fine morning I woke up and looked through the window outside. It was the time of dawn and the road looked empty from people. I could only hear the chirp of birds from distance. Suddenly I saw someone walking across the pavement, which would have been a normal sight for me on another day. But, on that specific morning the person looked a bit hazy to me with an extra glow on the surroundings of his body. This was similar with all the faces I observed on that entire day. Everything had partially mesmerised my mind and excited me with the thought of viewing human aura. But I couldn’t make out anything of it, even if it were true auras that I have seen. However, the expectation of sighting such things again and again did not last long because it was back to normal vision when I woke up the next morning.

Certainly these happenings were confusing the insight that I had about God. Situations were getting far from complicated to complex. And I felt a bit arrogant with the belief of becoming close to Godliness. A guide would have shown me the correct direction on that moment. Sharing my views with someone was needed. But I failed to locate anybody who could help me out in this situation. Whatever had happened doesn’t matter a much to me till I succeed in entering the heaven. Yes, my motives had changed by now. However, things were worsening in me. Another morning while I remained sat on the sofa and glaring on the floor I drew some formulae in mind. With haste I went to my bedroom to get a piece of paper and pen. With thoughts flying in and out of my mind I scribbled two formulae on the paper, which looks like ‘Astrology – Calculations = Space’ and ‘Knowledge – Technology = Science’. It was probably for two or three days that I hadn’t had any food. But I couldn’t realise much physical troubles in me. If anything was extremely straining me, then it could only be something related to brain and nervous system. It was needless to say that those symptoms didn’t make me aware of anything. My thoughts and believes were dragging me close to a world of supernatural things. But the inner voice had always warned me from becoming famous, which could be a matter of materialism.

With a mind full of divine thoughts and concepts I took a nap on one afternoon. The sound of rainfall woke me up from sleep. I was quite happy to see the drizzling outside because it was a hot and sultry day of August. After a while as I was relaxing on my bed, voices of few men flew into my ears. They were mentioning my name and praising me equally for being a great personality been sent by God. It carried on for a while, when the next sound was to be of someone blowing a conch to address to God and recited prayers for my welfare. The sounds and voices were distracting my deepest ego. It seemed that I had violated the words been spoken by my inner voice.

Like a crazy man I rushed to the other room and rested on the sofa. Yet the unknown voices kept creeping into my ears from distance. I couldn’t believe even for a single moment that people were praising me. They wanted me to come under the limelight of materialistic life. I heard the voices of people discussing among themselves that:

- He defeated Satan in the game of gamble.
- He has fulfilled desire of the poor farmers
- Look the superpowers are taught a lesson after a long time by a simple lad.
- We all must visit him. He is Son of God.

    This was simply driving me to craziness and I felt like a sinner amid the situation. I wanted to repent for everything that had happened because the outside world shouldn’t have known about me. For the entire night, voices of various types flew into my ears from unknown locations. Sometimes I also heard the sounds of people celebrating the occasion by beating drums. It seemed that the world was ready to dance and do anything that I would advise them. But my conscience never wanted to accept this fame and glory of mine, which was somehow attached to holiness. The sound of clock ticking at my room had pricked my mind and heart simultaneously for the entire night.

    I could see the morning lights seeping into the room through the windowpane. The day didn’t rescue me from listening to the voices of strangers and their voracious appraisals about my achievements. At some point of time on the day few voices flew into my ears, which weren’t of strangers’ anymore. Yes, I could recognize them because those were the voices of my relatives and other family members who were living in my hometown at that moment. Even they couldn’t stop themselves from praising me. It was getting into an appalling condition for me gradually. At one point I started to weep as my surroundings were making me feel guilty of the happenings. Then the next moment I rushed out of my

    house and walked to the house in neighbourhood. Someone came out after a while when I rang the doorbell. And I screamed at the top of my voice saying that they must stop all this immediately or the consequences won’t be good.

    Thoughts in mindThey were completely baffled by my strange behaviour. After a while I heard a voice asking me ‘What should we stop doing?’ and I replied loudly ‘Stop these publicity that you all are making about me.’ Luckily they knew me from before and could assume that something had seriously gone wrong. I kept mumbling few words to myself from which they discovered that I must have been suffering from some kind of mental problem. That night the voices of strangers had reduced flowing into my ears as I stayed in that neighbour’s house. But everything didn’t dissipate from my memory and mind till I was taken to a psychiatrist the next morning. With various thoughts floundering in mind and strange voices hitting my eardrums occasionally I gave the silliest answer to him when my age was asked. I was twenty-four, but told him that I am fifty years old. He prescribed few medicines for me after checking my blood pressure and judging me by asking few questions to test my memory about past.

    It took almost a week for me to be all right. The voices of strangers praising me weren’t ready to leave. And it was hard for me to believe that those are all unreal. However, everything had reduced and started to get better for me. But, the prescribed medication has to go on with change of dosage from time to time. Later, I noticed the prescription of the psychiatrist and found out that all these long-term treatments were due to the mental illness known as schizophrenia.

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