We all have difficult times and some seem to be the worst of all. Do you pray in such times? I hardly do. I do not pray in adversity despite knowing that praying helps big time in difficult times.
Just recently we got hit by a tragedy that somehow got averted but still scarred us for lifetime.
Last week we were on our way to Vaishno Devi from New Delhi. We were traveling by 3 AC compartment in Jammu Rajdhani train. We were eight adults in total and two young girls including my five year old Pahal. I normally do not travel by 3AC simply because its seats a little narrower than 2AC seats. But this time, since we had made the bookings at the last minute, to be on the safer side of getting the confirmed seats, we booked in 3 AC.
The journey didn't start well. A couple that was supposed to travel with us missed the train by a wink. My friend and I took notice of it but we chose to stay optimistic and began to enjoy our train ride.
After dinner as everyone settled into their seats, Sanjay took it upon himself to sleep with Pahal on the upper berth. About 1 pm in the night, we heard a thud followed by weeping. I immediately knew it was Pahal and so I got down from my middle berth, picked up Pahal from the bottom of the train and held her in my arms.
By then everyone had got up. We all tried to pacify her but to no avail. She was still weeping hard. My heart immediately realized that she was in extreme pain as she was not crying or screaming like she does when she gets hurt. She was weeping, with pain.
I held her tenderly and began stroking her but that also didn't soothe her. The mother in me instinctively knew her baby had a problem. So I asked her, 'where is the pain'? She pointed towards her leg. And Oh My God! I saw her swollen, broken leg right in front of me. I felt her broken, twisted, hanging leg on my palm. I could instantly feel the difference between her two legs and then I screamed, 'Pahal has got a fracture. We need a doctor.'
Sanjay jumped out of his seat, picked her up from my hands and got down off the train. We decided to leave the train and head to the hospital in Ludhiana where the train had halted. The other family traveling with us also got down at the same station. Vaishno Devi was not our destination any more. The best available doctor in Ludhiana was.
And then I saw the Angel - a young man waiving at us from the other end of the platform. He is a doctor (known to our friends traveling with us who had called him right after the accident) who had come to pick us up from the station and to take us to the hospital.
He promptly helped us with everything. We got the X-rays done and thankfully, it was only the shaft bone in the thigh that had been broken. She was fine otherwise.
We stayed in Ludhiana for two days, got her leg operated and then brought her back to home. She had been badly missing her home.
Now, a week after the accident, Pahal is home. Happy and chirpy as before but still in pain, bed ridden and a little upset with her broken leg that has made her life confined to one room.
Sanjay and I have also re-gained our sanity a bit and now we are reflecting upon few things. First, it was our foolishness to let her sleep on the upper berth and that too on the outer side, even if she was insisting upon it.
|(Source: Pahal on her way to home)|
Second, it was my mistake to let Sanjay take charge of the situation when I know that Pahal has never slept with him. She sleeps with me and that too when they both could have slept on the lower berth.
Maybe it was a jinx that had been cast upon us or a bad omen we were carrying with us (our last two trips to Vaishno Devi were also cancelled. First because the area had got flooded last year and second when Sanjay couldn't get the leaves and we had to cancel the tickets).
I normally don't introspect over things but this time I can not get my mind off it. Why only Pahal? Why a five year old had to be punished for our foolishness? She didn't even want to sit on the upper berth, we made her sit there. Why didn't we listen to her instinct? Why did I, her mother, not know instinctively that my child was in danger on the upper berth? How could I not wake up from my reverie just a moment before she fell down?
These are the questions I am constantly seeking answers for.
Though I am extremely thankful to God for making the accident as least hurtful as possible. I shudder at the very thought of what could have happened if she had fallen upside down or had hit anything on her head or if she had got hurt on her head directly.
I am also very thankful for our stars that sent the guided angel our way that night. The doctor who stood by us throughout the night, arranged the emergency doctors and helped us with the best he could.
I remember I had begun to tremble the moment I lifted her up in the train. But my baby was brave enough to carry on with her excruciating pain. She gave me the strength to carry on with her. She gave me the power to pray.
A friend of mine once told me about two decades ago that she had never seen me praying in difficult times. Only after she had mentioned this, I realized that she was right. I could never pray in darker times. I pray when I am happy. I thank God when I am fine, when my family is fine. I so often fold hands and thank God for bestowing his blessings upon me in good times.
But in bad times - I just get blank. I can't pray. I can't ask for his mercy because I somehow feel that he is the one who has given us this grief so how will praying help?
I have learnt this lesson now.
Praying helps. It answers some of your questions. It heals your mind. It reminds you that life is bigger. It makes you realize that what you think is not always right. Prayer brings power. Prayer brings angels.
As soon as we got down from the train, Sanjay began walking along with Pahal and I walked behind them. I was only walking physically because my mind was racing elsewhere. I felt totally helpless when my baby was silently screaming with pain and discomfort.
That is when praying came naturally to me.
I prayed to God for Pahal's well being. I asked God to be little kind to my daughter. I requested him to reprimand me for my sins but spare my tiny being.
I wished for Pahal's safety. That moment, she being alive and out-of-danger among us was sufficient for me. That moment, I forgot all about our vacation plans, my job plans and my family issues. All I needed and wished for was my daughter safely living with me in my home.
As soon as I asked God for some help, I saw the angel, the doctor.
Now that the accident is over and also averted though it has left some scars in our lives, I sometimes brood over how and why our lives take some turns the way they do.
Each incident that occurs, each act that we do, each word that we utter leads to that ultimate critical consequence.
Sometimes I feel we get disillusioned by the consumerism and materialism that has engulfed our lives so badly that we lose touch with the basic things like our instinct. Such incidents remind us our worth. They make us realize the importance of connecting with ourselves first than others.
Even though I practise minimalism and simple living to a good extent, I also lose my orientation and become bewildered. There are times when I completely ignore the most important aspects of life in the view of some frivolous but attractive things.
Seeing my daughter on the bed has helped me in getting my focus back. Each day with greater will power and immense strength, she teaches me the true meaning of moving on.
|(Source: Pahal and I during our last vacation)|
She said to me last night, 'Mumma.. my birthday is in August. I may not be able to walk by then but no worries, I can cut the cake by sitting on the chair. We do not need to walk to cut the cake. Isn't it mumma?' I heard her and hugged her. This is the passion for life.
The other day she said to her daddy, 'Papa.. every day I see the same dream that I have started walking but it is not a true dream.. it is only a pretend dream' and she began laughing (she uses the word 'pretend' for things that are not real). Her daddy only blamed himself a bit more after feeling her misery. But there she taught us what longing is and how longing does not mean sulking.
I pray for my daughter's earliest recovery and I hope she gets to walk on her feet real fast. It breaks my heart to see her in pain like this when the young girl does not even shed a tear out of pain but I can see and feel the twitches on her face.