bedside Stories – episode 5

When you fall sick to an extent that you have troubles breathing, things on your to-do list are pretty simple. Get yourself laid on a hospital bed. A glucose rendering needle poked in to your vein. Email your HR and manager that you can’t be working for the week and cancel all your official meetings.

A week at home meant sleeping for 10 to 12 hours a day. My mother and aunt kept gossiping about relatives that I’d hardly meet. The ladies at home narrated many stories.

#RandomRant: Families are funny – my eldest maternal cousin (MC) is just a few years younger to my mother, my eldest paternal cousin’s kids are older than me. Ignore, if that sounds too complex!

My mother is from a coastal village, Udipi. She is the youngest among her siblings. She looks fair and lovely. ‘MC’ was dark and handsome, but he wanted to get fair and handsome (way back then creams and lotions were not part of beauty regime). He apparently chose to take a stone wash, almost wearing his skin away and feeling disappointed. Well, how I wish people doing “dark is beauty” campaign existed then. Colour is a much discussed topic – the bride is dark (even when she is fairer than the gossiping ladies), your cousin’s lips are turning black (they mean – check if he smokes), Castor oil has many benefits like delaying grey hair (it’s not just your bad hair day), when was the last time you visited a dentist (yellow, decay brown – wonder which colour they noticed). When body colours are discussed I want to send them to pathologist as volunteers to test the fluid samples, “Light yellow and has odour” – it read.

My aunt is from the Sahyadri belt, Thirthalli, Shimoga. She grew up in a dense forest. She speaks about flowers, birds, herbs, games that I’ve never heard or seen. She has lots of cousins, among which J is well known and dearly close to all of us. Some kids are extremely curious and daring, while some are feeble. Copper Sulphate was kept for home remedies during those days. Playing with her sisters a 7 year old J happened to touch Copper Sulphate and she decided to herself that it was the end of her life. She wasn’t convinced even when her mother washed her hand and erased the traces of this bluestone. Unable to console the kid she got J to my aunt’s place. My aunt recalls that for a week J kept asking “when will I die?” Some myths and misconceptions are stronger than the truth itself.

One week of lying down and hearing stories, I’ve picked up my new hobby.


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