Being ill and well

After a recent serious illness I was compelled to undergo a long period of convalescence. During that period of near-idleness, a state unknown to me as I had been a working woman for 40 hectic years, I realised with awe how even illness has its own uses. The first beneficial effect that I felt was the nearness of what we call as ‘family.’

Human relationships became more important to me than even medicines. Siblings, younger and older, rose to the occasion at hand and stayed round me day and night to help me cope with the unexpected trauma. The family also included my maid and my cook who had worked for me for years. Both of them never failed to knock on the door of my flat even when I was not there because the day of my return from the hospital was uncertain, and they hoped that any day now they could resume their work.

I think the quotidian of daily existence is a powerful force that keeps us anchored in sanity and security. Illnesses come and go. We can’t choose to inhabit the comfort of good health always. By the grace of god I had not been bothered by physical ailments in the earlier years of my life. But on the eve of my birthday of three score and ten I was jinxed by a headlong fall down the stairs. And this, perhaps, resulted in the spells of illnesses.

But, thanks to people who cared in the hospital and at home, I found myself once again approaching that distant horizon of health and a reassuring daily routine. The delicate balance of convalescence when I felt both ill and well was like the predicament of Little Alice in Wonderland who, in order to keep going had to continue running in the same spot!

All this is not to say that one must fall ill. God forbid! But when one inevitably does, I found it is better to look on the brighter side of the moment. After all, everything in life is a matter of touch and go.

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