All the berths in the cubicle were occupied. There were two families with kids, a young girl, a guy just opposite me, we were having the side berths. The guy in front of me got up and moved away, the heavy back rest of his seat folded forward with a bang missing my knees. The co-passengers gave a relieved laugh and I joined them. I tried to put it back, the locking clip had broken and would only if somebody sits and lean back, hold it upright. We just managed to join both the seats and made a berth avoiding the risk of the seat falling again.
I thought that will be a good ice breaker and make friends with co-travelers, “The force of it would have broken my knee, its very heavy” I said looking around. They all smiled and one of them looked up, gestured with his hands “thank God”. All of them went back to their smarts, one of them calling some one to tell that the train has started moving and everything is fine, the other typing some message may be in his whatsapp, anyway all of them got lost in their own world.
I took a book out of my bag to read, may be read a page, when I could not help looking into my mobile, saw a message and got lost in the virtual world, the social media. This is the generic travel scene these days. We get connected to people out of sight, smiling, laughing when the person next to you do not exist.
In many homes, this addiction is the reason for fights. At the end of the day take stock of the fights, and impatient moods. You will find the reasons are the interruptions of your smart phone entertainment. Many job gets postponed, no time. What we do not realise, our now takes priority over everything else, our phone being part of now.
Back to my journey, got down at Ernakulam at 4.30 A.M, morning for few, midnight for many and no friends made. I am in no hurry to go, plan to hang around until dawn breaks. Lot of people on the platform, some out of theloop train I came by, some to board another.
I walked up to the tea stall for tea and then up and down the platform, it was interesting to see people rushing to and fro, energetically at this hour of the day. An aged man with one crutch in his right hand stopped near me and was cursing away , “ all are selfish, nobody is bothered about others, see see rushing”. I understood his predicament, he was finding it difficult to get through the crowd. While he was telling me, somebody shouldered him accidentally and his stick fell off. His pusher did not even realise what he did and hurried away. I picked up the stick for him and he put his hand into it, to hold it. I said “ come , I will come with you”. He was quite rattled from the knock and went quiet. I started walking with him and asked him where was he going, he just gestured forward. After a few steps I asked him again. He gestured forward again. I stopped and asked him whether he was alone. He gave me a blank look. I asked him again where did he want to go. He did not say anything and he was thinking hard and said “tcha”. I remembered stories of people with memory problem dementia, Alzheimer who walked away from home to nowhere, upsetting their family’s world.
I stopped, held his hand, turned around and gently walked with an intent to take him to the station master’s room. As we were walking, two guys and a lady came running towards us and said this is my father.
“We found him missing from home, he has loss of memory. Two other relatives have gone to the transport bus stand”.
I asked him who are they ? He said, “my daughter”. The lady said, “he recognises only me”. I told them I was taking him to the station master.
They said, no need. With lots of “Thank you very much” they went their way and I sat on the chair with a relieved inside waiting for the outside to light up.
12 thoughts on “Going nowhere”
You write well
Thank you, Sir
Such a positive message. Really heartwarming…. I have helped many people with their luggage on trains. Especially elderly. Never had such an experience though….
Raecently my daughter called me on whatsapp video and asked me some questions like “count from 20 to 1 backwards”, names of all months from December to Jan backwards etc. When i asked what it is all about, she told me that she is checking whether I have dementia. Luckily I passed all the tests successfully and both were happy. So it is not unusual for dementia to set in
Other tests were – what day is today, what is today’s date, what month are we in now etc. Then she told me the mame of a person, his address etc. After going thru other tests, she asked me to tell the address of the person she talked about. This was to test the short term memory. In dementia, we may know everything in our young days, childhood etc, but may not remember what happened a few hrs back.
Memories are our treasures. If those are gone, we are drifters with no past. A very sad way to exist. I am sorry to be morbid, but sinceage is the predominant factor for this state, I have made plans to not be in that stage. 😑
Definitely a good write up.
How will we know when we are in that stage ?
Memories are our constant companions. A touching incident sir.
Rajan, you have a flawless flow of writing style.
But I feel writings should have purpose.
You just wrote about the ordinary.
What is the purpose ?
To tell that people do not take care of their aged handicapped parents ?
I have made no judgement. My idea was for the reader to take it where ever they want.
If they do nor care, they need not have come search for him.
There are many families all over the world, who has a member suffering from loss of memory.
People have taken different messages from this post. One person told me, our face to face communication has reduced, we are entering a virtual world, the one near you is far away and the one far away is near you.
Another person pointed out, we cannot take our eyes off from a person who is affected. It does not mean nobody cares for them
An interesting thought everyone should dwell on for few mins/hrs…
I am reminded of a PMA Book i read during my early years…
The Author’s observation was that when asked “so how is life”, most people respond with words like “… going on… don’t know what next…”
Dementia or not, i believe your Title applies to all of us, one way or other…
(well, but the Family’s carelessness can’t be taken light…)
Thanks Hari, for touching on the title. After writing this title, I gave a thought and thought in similar lines.
Mein tho chala Jidhar chala rastha ….