December 4, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Eulogy for fifteen-inch phantom hair by Haritha T Chandran

2 min read

Haritha T Chandran’s short story weaves a poignant narrative around the world of women where pain, joy, tears, and giggles are all shared secretly.

Somebody once told me that unlucky people are the unluckiest. Once you are struck with the ominous wand of wretchedness, you are doomed to be hit again and the world is instinctively impartial like that. I returned the argument by saying maybe the unlucky were born unlucky and that there was no initial stroke of the adverse wand, to begin with.  I was reminded of the conversation when I got a phone call from my father informing me that my grandmother had caught a fever and was gravely ill. You see, she had fallen down recently off the stairs and injured herself.

Doctors investigated the bruised geriatric with their long stethoscopes and stared at the noir Kodachrome of her tentative bones and came to the resolution that she had acute patellar dislocation. They explained briskly and later my lightbox of information told me that there is nothing to be done but wait. Aging pilfered the essential minerals and precious calcium from her bones ages ago and stiffened her bones. She had degenerative deprivation on cartilage mass as well as what was left of the cartilage had buffed away in the last decades. Prospects of healing the patella were minuscular at this age and a game of chance. They prescribed punctilious supervision from the caregivers and regular exercise. I watched as nurses pricked and probed my grandmother and ceremoniously asked her if she found it inconvenient. She sat through the propriety forbearingly, almost stoically, and delivered meek replies to the medical practitioners. As I watched her stand naked and let my kinsmen wash and changed her as she stood nonchalantly as if she was in a trance and the real world is waiting outside somewhere for her it dawned on me that a bulk of her vigor and vitality had already left her. She was a mere shell of the incessant combatant she was. She neither felt pride nor shame. She had given up on life!

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