Madness is a country
Just around the corner
Whose shores are never lit
But if you go there
Ferried by despair
The sentries would ask you to strip
At first the clothes, then the flesh
and later of course your bones.
Their only rule is freedom
Why, they even eat bits of your soul
When in hunger,
But when you reach that shore
That unlit shore
Do not return, please do not return
- Kamala Das (writes fiction in Malayalam, poetry in English.)
My father passed the last few days of his life in a mental condition labelled as Dementia. He had stopped eating completely, would walk through the streets like a mad man. He loved me very much. Even on his death bed he called my mom’s name and mine. For years I felt guilty somehow, for even though I had made available for him medical attention and treatment, I was so bitter with him for what he was going through, somehow I blamed him for making my life miserable by going “mad” that way, for not being strong enough. For years now, he has visited my dreams in nightmares and as a comforting angel taking care of me from wherever he is in.
When I went to Nasik to perform his last rites, I was somewhat glad that he had died, was free from pain. Through the years, I wondered how I had been left an inheritance of pain, passed on through him… to me …
Thanks Uma, for letting me understand Pain. And thanks for letting me understand the Hitler, the evil within me, within each one of us. I have been trying to come to terms with guilt, anger, pain… and in the last few months have been able to hold it better within me without “throwing the shit within me outside” as George mentioned.
May my father find solace and deliverance through the journey I have undertaken so far, coming to terms with the pain that was mine, handed out to me from him, to him from my grandpa, and to him from my ancestors.
Perhaps, in this final journey, I could transform that pain into compassion… and then reach out to others to help them do the same, to pay back the kindness I received…
My earnest prayers for my father, and for all those who suffer like he did…