Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Those Serpentine Roads

It was another trip down memory lane with her this evening, a short ride through those roads and avenues and those streets from not-so-long-ago yet from the times that can aptly be called The Past. It felt good and not burdened and I didn’t feel that lump in my throat that I did on an earlier occasion. We’re lovers no more, we’re not friends either. Today we were like two free souls that were charting the paths that we moved through in the past. I never thought we could hang around like that. Anyway we were just out for a very short while; took a detour on my way back home and I was late anyway so I had to rush.

There’s this ominous thought in my head (even right now) that I’m gonna break down and start to feel that remorse again, the utter helpless remorse of having lost her. However I take a deep breath and take solace in the fact that if “we” were foolish enough to have lost something that was so dear, we need to pay the ultimate price and not repeat those mistakes in life. True also is the fact that she’s still in there and this space where she sits will only be freed once she goes away, once she’s out of sight, which will be very soon. I feel sad thinking that she’ll be gone soon but I’m happy too that I will finally let her go and gradually her memories will fade (will they ever?). Maybe they’ll just take a back seat and make way for more important aspects of life and more important relations too. I wish her well. I will not let such beautiful memories poison my life.

Speaking of poison, I just watched a guy who got bitten by a rattler on Discovery Chanel. They say a snake can strike out to a distance from half to two-thirds its body length. This one was an eight-footer so it had quite a reach. It dug its big viper fangs just a wee bit into the hand of the guy who’d picked him up (!!). The guy said it didn’t hurt so much for a minute but then when the pain kicked in, it was unbearable and his hand started to swell up. He described it as feeling like his hand was being minced in a meat-mincer. By the time he reached a hospital his system had started to shut down. Medics jumped in to save his life first and after declaring him stable, they concentrated on his hand which had become necrotic by now. His flesh had dissolved and one could see through his hand it was bleeding profusely and the venom was still acting and dissolving more flesh. He was administered antivenin but that could only stop further damage, what had already occurred couldn’t be reverted. Rattler venom can dissolve bones as well; pity the animals/rodents it feeds on, they’re well digested and dissolved from inside by the time the snake starts to ingest them. The medics pressurized him to allow them to amputate his hand but he refused. The video was horrific, he was all needeled with drips in one hand and the other one looked like rotten meat and he was writhing in pain. The docs did the best they could and saved his hand, saved being a relative term. His thumb joint got almost dissolved and couldn’t be fixed in a normal position, and the same happened to his index and middle fingers, all of which are almost nonfunctional. His ring finger and small finger are normal though but I guess he still can’t play guitar if he used to and if was right handed i.e. Sad but true, time and chance, in a fleeting moment, can alter the course of your life, like what happened to my dad when he met with that horrific accident when a bus ran over his foot.

Anyway, time flies and dad’s ok, as ok as he could’ve been after an accident like that, I do miss his big toe and the other toe next to it. As a child, I remember cutting his nails. I’ve never talked to him about it for I wonder how much he misses it himself. Sure, time flies and so does a bot-fly, an insect of the rainforest that lays its eggs on mosquitoes. When the mosquitoes bite humans and other creatures, they lodge the bot-fly eggs on the skin. The moisture and nutrients on the skin cause the eggs to hatch and the larvae bore through the skin and start to eat the flesh inside. The keep digging and keep eating. This happened to an American guy who’d gone to roam the South American wilderness. Five weeks after he’d returned to the US, his two-hundred odd bite-marks had subsided cept two that kept growing big and started to ooze blood and other strange fluids. The docs in the US gave him IV antibiotics and discharged him. Apparently a case in the whole of the US had never been reported before and no one suspected a case. The guy decided to tape up the holes in his legs one night. When he woke up the next morning one of the tapes had come one and he saw something wiggle from the hole. Apparently the bot fly larvae requires copious amount of oxygen unlike some other parasites of the gut, like the tape worm. The guy quickly switched his video camera on, grabbed forceps and pulled the wiggly thing out of the hole in his leg, it was half an inch big and looked quite annoyed. Now this guy was motivated to pull the other one out as well so he covered up the other hole with large amount of Vaseline. The bug wiggled out a big but no sooner had the guy caught hold of him, he escaped back into the hole in his leg and buried itself deeper, chewing into his inner flesh while doing so. The guy screamed in pain but was determined and repeated the procedure, this time he grabbed the worm well and what followed was a tug-of-war with the guy pulling the larva out and the larva holding on to the inside of his flesh with great strength. Slowly and surely the guy pulled it out, this one was thrice the length and fatness of the first one. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all but hats off to the guy for his guts.
Sometimes it so happens that the experts cannot figure the problem out and prescribe a treatment that doesn’t cure. A couple of thousand bucks, countless hours and a spike in stress levels has been the cost of the wobble in my bike. A condition that no one till date has been able to solve. 42 emails exchanged with the bullet guru of the world, Pete Snidal and he’s run of ideas too. My bike still wobbles, without letting out the scene of crime. No bullet mechanic that exists in Chandigarh has been able to fix it. But I think I finally see the wiggly end of the larva. When this is done, I’ll educate a couple of hundred mechanics about the strange, uncommon problem they probably never faced but never gave a second thought to look into because they were all too busy making a quick buck doing the mundane stuff. I don’t blame them, not like I’d kept a prize money for the one that cures my bike but I see it happening at the first chance that I get to fix it and how sweet will that feel when I finally ride my stable bike.

There’s so much in life to stay happy about and to stay excited about. I’m learning that you shouldn’t pick up a big rattler on the road, you not throw caution to the wind when you’re out exploring the unknown, you should observe your surroundings and the people with a keener eye, and last but not least, you shouldn’t let beautiful memories poison the happiness in your life.

I can smile about today evening’s little outing with her without a heavy heart. I still can’t believe we didn’t make it, but then I must accept it. Goodbye, wish life free of serpents, bot-flies or any other unhappiness.

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