I woke up earlier than usual on that day. Something seemed different. With difficulty I lifted my
head and peeped out of the small window of my hut.
Although I could not see anything due to the pitch darkness of the night, I sensed
some activity in the trees. I closed my eyes and listened. To my surprise I sensed the trees were in the same jovial mood
as they were when spring was approaching. Winter had just started; it would be months before even the slightest hint of spring.
I lay down my head back on the pillow and realized that I too was in a jovial mood - my heart too hinted at some hope and
excitement. That was quite a change from the past few years of my miserable and
had been almost twenty years ago that I had been diagnosed with an incurable form of leprosy. This had been the first such
case in the memorable history of my village and the people did not know what to do with me. I had been quite a cheerful and
promising young boy before the village doctor noticed the state of the perpetually open wounds on my back. After he announced
my disease, my life changed drastically.
elders banished me despite my family's (particularly my mother's) heart breaking pleas. My brother and uncles built a hut
for me three miles from the village and promised me daily visits.
first, all my relatives and friends came each and every day, and brought me gifts and tried their best to lift the dark and
heavy depression that was suffocating me, but due to my negative and cynical view (and because love is rarely true amongst
worldly people), the number of people visiting me reduced to one - my mother. She
would bring food for me two times a day. She would come and clean my hut, bathe
and feed me.
the beginning, I eagerly awaited her visits. I asked her about all my friends.
But gradually, it only pained me to listen to her. Soon after, I started bolting
the door and would ask her to leave the food outside and go away. I also asked her to come only once a day since I realized
it was hard for her. With much reluctance, she agreed, but she could not understand my need for isolation from her. This continued
for over ten years. My condition was only getting worse.
I was in my early twenties, I felt like an old man. Lying all day in bed and
being angry and depressed had certainly taken their tolls. I had a hard time
even going to the nearby river to get my supply of water. My bones would groan and creak at every effort. My mind had turned
into a dull and a stagnant vessel, which would not hold any thoughts except for the immediate bodily, needs.
one-day thing changed. My mother was taken seriously ill with tuberculosis. Even in her illness, she prepared food for me,
but she did not have enough strength to deliver it to me. She asked my nephew to accomplish that task. Consider it fate, but for reasons known only to my nephew, the food was not delivered to me.
first day without food, I cried like a baby and shouted out to my mother. I had
tried to eat berries from a low hanging bush, but due to ignorance, had eaten poisonous ones. This only made the situation
worse. After three painful, lonely and sleepless days I assumed my mother was
dead and I would never again see another human.
decided to end my life. It was the middle of the night and death seemed like an inviting and pleasant escape. I slowly and
painfully got up from the bed and made my way towards the river. I envisioned myself jumping in and drowning. I had made it
halfway to the riverbed when I tripped on a bush and fell heavily on my face. Due to my general poor health and lack of food,
I could not lift myself up again. Only with a tremendous amount of effort, I turned and lay on my back.