It is quite extraordinary what sports means to us. And there is a reason why I’m bringing it up in my mind, while sipping another cup of tea, on this late hour.
Well, February, the second month of year 2016, has been one such back-breaking, literally, month. Difficult. Extremely onerous at times. To cut the long story short, my health has been not well; I was operated for a Kidney stone, third time in my life span of 33 years. Quite high, you may say so. I don’t know, why and how I develop these God awful stones. The pain was excruciating for two days, when the Urologist finally did some tests, held his hands up in the air and declared, “we have to operate in emergency, there is a chance that the Kidney may fail. Grade 2 Hydronephrosis. Bastard had blocked the Ureter- a 5 mm diameter pipe that takes out excreta from Kidney into the Bladder. The right Kidney was bloated.
Well, so, lo and behold, the stone was out, few hours later. But this isn’t the end of the story. It cannot be.
As it goes, I had recently changed my job. New visa, emirates id blah blah. But the God cursed insurance card was not yet processed! I called my HR, my manager, we tried to fix up; to have the card at the earliest. They said it will take 2-3 days for the card to be issued. But, we could not wait. As I said I was suffering from Grade 2 Hydronephrosis. At Grade 3, Kidney gives up. Doctor had to operate. We could not wait for the card. So I ended up paying around 13,000 AED. Which roughly comes around 2.5 Lakh INR. We thought of trying reimbursement later, which I did now. I’ve submitted all my papers: invoice, discharge summary, cash receipt et al. Waiting for the approval. However, truth be told, I've very less hope of reimbursement. They have many reasons to reject.
Meanwhile, I joined work back after a break of almost 2 weeks. Anyone would tell you, a new job, in a new position isn’t easy. I was only finding out myself in the
scheme of the new things, when this episode happened. But, then eventually we somehow make out. Humans have this great quality. Adjusting.
The two weeks so as to speak were not a waste by any stretch of imagination. I finished 3 books, and 1 unfinished one- the one that was untouched from last 3 years. It stood there quietly on my bookshelf with a bookmark in place- an ancient Egyptian calendar that I had picked up years ago from Global Village Carnival. I was glad to find the bookmark. I’d probably forgotten about it. I watched a few of my favorite movies too. Again. The first night after operation I could not wrap my eyes for a second. So I ended up watching Color of Paradise- using up truck loads of tissue paper. I cried like a child. I always do for Mohammed and his faith. His faith of finding the touch of God. A few other favorites in the course of next 2 weeks were re-watched; Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, Dog Day Afternoon, Wind Will Carry Us et al.
In the days that led up to this miserable February, me and my couple of like minded friends, decided to pick a book and circulate it amongst us. Each one giving his review at the end of it. Of what he picked in the book? This way it would keep our interest aglow and we would read with much more attentiveness.
So, the first book we chose was Albert Camus’s, ‘The Stranger’. Nature, God, divinity, coincidence- call it whatever, has its own way. I read The Stranger in my recovery period, completely lost in the reverie of Meursalt. Of how he sees the world around him. A conventional world. A normal world. Its absurdity at the core of his existence was naked to him. But he was a stranger. An oddity. He is a perverse, delinquent guy. A question to the society, that is not used to providing answers. So, the world condemns him. Camus’s if we dwell deep, through the book, says each one of us in the world is condemned to his own. However, we bluff. We justify our act. Hence we live. But only delay what is inevitable. Death. The absurdity of our existence, bared, in the end.i
So, you can imagine my on pins and needles state in all these weeks. So what really transpired today, that got me thinking so long, when I have work tomorrow, yet I’m typing up this late on my Mac Book, frantically looking for a socket every 10 mins, when the battery clock beeps. 1 percent left!
Pakistan is playing India. Mother of all battles; by all means, sir. Upset with the events of the day, waiting in the queue for Doctor, doing post operative check ups, I slept in the afternoon once I got back home. More from the need of being shut from the world; than tiredness. When I woke up, Pakistan had skittled out for 85. Down and dusted. The day couldn’t go any worse. One of my fears was, what laid next in store? Least interested in the game, I kept on sipping tea from my Marx imprinted mug. India came out to chase. By the end of Aamir’s second over he had 3 back in the dump. With a disjoined, dispirited guy, thousands of Kilometers away, in his apartment, inconsequential life, throwing up his arms, clinching his fist at every wicket. Yes, yes. Annihilate them. And right there it stuck me. What excited me so much, when barely moments ago I was questing the futility of my existence.
That is the beauty of sports. That is what sports can do. That is its power. And in the end the futility is run over by hope, in a matter of few deliveries from Aamir.
Long strides. I got my answer. I got my touch.