The Silver Lining in Every Cloud

We have heard of the saying “Every cloud has a silver lining”. Many of us take it with a pinch of salt or consider it philosophizing to just avoid facing the harsh realities of life. But off late, I am beginning to think it is possibly true. I am going through a tough phase in my professional life these days and that made me reflect about the worst times I have had in my life.

One of the really worst things to happen to me was being run over by a truck when I was ten years olf. I was running across the road being chased by one of my friends – can’t actually call him a friend, more a rival. I have mentioned him in some of my childhood memory posts. Anyways it doesn’t matter who he was but what he did. A truck was parked on the road and I just crossed it when he caught hold of my shirt collar and pulled me back. It so happened at the same moment, the truck driver chose to start the vehicle. I was pulled clear of the truck. But unfortunately the same could not be said of my foot. It got caught right under the front wheel of the truck. I somehow managed to tug my leg off with such force that it came free of the truck without a minor fracture. But the wheel managed to retain all the flesh of my foot and my foot came out clean with the bone exposed. 

That heralded the start of two most horrifying months of my life. Immediately I was rushed to the hospital to have my leg stitched up. But that clearly was not enough and I had to remain bed ridden for the next few weeks. By then the doctor passed the verdict that no way was all the flesh going to grow back on its own. So they had to take out flesh from my thigh and graft it to my foot. That brought me under the scalpel for the second time. The anesthesia time was limited and most of it would be consumed in performing the graft. In order for the graft to be accepted, apparently the dry tissue had to be scraped off and the tender flesh had to be exposed. This operation of scraping it had to be performed with me in a state of full consciousness before the operation. So I was held down screaming by 5 nurses while the sixth one went about scraping up the old wounds.

Well – now where is the silver lining in this entire thing one may ask? I was coming to that. Without the darkness of the cloud being described in detail the silver lining can’t be appreciated, right? Now when I think about this period, the memories that come to my mind are not those of the operations and lying helpless on the bed unless I deliberately rake them up. On the contrary the memories I hold of this time are very pleasant ones that I cherish. How could that be, eh?

Well – somebody had to be with me at the hospital all the time. My mother stayed with me during the day time but in the evening she had to go home to get some rest and freshen up. Initially my dad used to stay in the evenings and nights. But then his leaves got exhausted and he could not stay with me through the night and go back to office the next day. So the lot fell upon my maternal grandfather. That was when the good times started. My grandfather had been a voracious reader since his childhood. So he knew many stories and used to narrate them to me. I really used to love the stories but could never get enough of them as either I would be busy with school work or he would be busy supporting my grandmother with household chores. So the stories used to be rare treats for me. But this accident changed things. Every evening I would have the entire evening with my grandfather with nothing to come between us and the stories. Every day we would take up a new story – Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Puranas, Shakespeare, Alexander Dumas, to name a few. In addition to these that he read over the years, I had him read some of the Enid Blyton books gifted to me and narrate the story to me. Then he used to narrate the historic events from World War 1 and 2, the Napoleonic wars, the Indian freedom struggle etc. My grandfather was an inexhaustible resource of stories and every evening during those days was literally a flight of fantasy for me forgetting the hospital and my foot to soar high into the skies and explore different worlds. 

That is just one example. But when I think back to the different tough periods of my life, I find something to cherish. That is probably a reason why somehow I seem to relish reliving my past so much. 

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Diwakar Narayan said...

Right. We must see bad phases in life to appreciate the good one. Though it is easier said than done.

indu chhibber said...

I am reading you after a long time TF,I hope you are well out of the woods now.
Regarding that accident--you had to suffer a lot of agony in exchange for your grandfather's wisdom.

The Fool said...

That is also true, Diwakar. But I meant I found things to cherish even amdist the bad phases.

The Fool said...

Yeah - was wondering. Had not seen you around for long. Things are still tough. Hoping things pick up towards later half of September.

veturisarma said...

You are fortunate to have your grandfather along, who might have imbibed the habit of reading in you

umashankar said...

Oh, God! That is a scary incident. Yet, regardless of the trauma you have narrated, I must say you were lucky. Of course, your luck doubled with the times you had with your kind grandpa, the silver lining, as you say.

I guess there is always a sliver lining in the darnedest of situations (except perhaps if you get caught by ISIS or some such outfit).

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Terrible time that must have been - though I can relate to how much fun it must have been to be able to listen to all those stories :)

As ever, the only mantra for bad times is - This too shall pass

The Fool said...

Indeed I was - My grandfather passed down the reading habbit to my mom who in turn passed it on to me.

The Fool said...

Yes Umashankar - I had many lucky escapes when I was a child. Don't know if I am to call myself unlucky to have had the accidents or lucky to escape without serious damage. I guess some people even see silver lining in being caught by some crazt outfit - you know the Stockholm syndrome and stuff.

The Fool said...

It was terrible indeed, Suresh. Yes - always everything passes.

Anonymous said...

That's a terrible thing to happen to a child ! Its really wonderful that you are able to think back with happiness even of those times. Yes, there was definitely a silver lining apart from the precious times you spent listening to those stories. Think it also made you a stronger person to be able to face future challenges in life :)

The Fool said...

That is also probably true, Asha. As they say anything that does not kill you makes you stronger.

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