TODAY -

Damsels in distress

Samarjit Kambam *



We are all aware that life is not a bed of roses. Everybody in this world wants to lead a happy and meaningful life. But everyone has got their own share of joys and sorrows. There is no happiness quotient for there is no unit to measure happiness, nevertheless yearning for it is in our blood.

I can recall a quote from the 14th Dalai Lama, “I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering”.

Yes, there are many pundits among us who emphasize that we are born in this world to be happy, to be responsible, that we should make the world a better place, that our life should serve a purpose… blah, blah.

Well, preaching and advice are always free. But the ultimate thing is that you will never feel or know happiness if you are made to rest on a sofa from morning till night without doing anything even if you are a person of insurmountable opulence. On the other hand, you will derive a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and happiness if you help someone even if you are in need.

However, as the world goes on, people carry on with their lives with the notion that they are on the path of happiness even if they aren’t. Go to a bank, you will have the notion that everybody’s rich.Go to a hospital, you will think that everybody in the world is ill, your heart sinks deeper when you see the terminally ill ones in the ICUs.

You will cogitate that the world’s swarmed with junkies when you visit a rehab or a de-addiction centre.You will have the notion that the world’s filled with criminals when you visit a prison. Then, we witness a lot of destitute, people without incomes, people with physical disabilities.

But everyone carries on with their life because there is an entity called “hope” that infuses in our minds that we will be happy one day or the other, someday, somehow. Say, the jobless think that they will get a job someday, the sick ones think that they will become healthy one day, the junkies think that they will join the social mainstream and live their life with their head held high.

However, there is an exception. It’s nothing but “insanity” and there’s nothing we can do about it. From a different perspective, philosophers and great thinkers opine that the insane ones are the ones who lead the happiest life of all – free from worry, anxiety, greed, fear et al.

Lives are led by everyone – illusioned or disillusioned with their fair share of disappointments – disappointments that do not last forever. However, there are a group of people whose lives are always disillusioned, always disappointed, hope unable to come to their rescue, meaning of life never resurfacing, happiness nipped in the butt with no chance of sprouting.

These are the group of people who lives the most disillusioned and disappointed life with no hope for resurgence of happiness, with no meaning to be born as a human, living a zombie-like life, unwanted, downtrodden lot, looked down by the society as though they were born to play hell on earth.

Wonder who those groups of people are? They are none other than the paralysed lot. They can think, see, remember, rationalise and have emotions. However, they are more like stationery objects, objects that survive. As you are aware, paralysis comes in different parts of the physique – facial parts, upper limbs, torso, lower limbs, half body, whole body etc.

To them, picking up a pen to write his/her name, taking a sip of tea from a cup, picking up an object is an impossible task. Moving one step forward or backward is more than impossible. They can’t do anything they want to, can’t pursue any hobby or passion they so desire.

How would they have felt? Many have tried physical therapies, a few got lucky and improves slightly but majority of them get worse with each passing day.However poor, ugly or ostracised we are, we live our life strengthened with hope that gives meaning to our life, that hope which inculcates a sense in us that we’d be happy someday no matter what.

But what about people with no hopes as mentioned above. They are living yet tantamount to death. Undead would have a clearer meaning for their lives.

Recently, I met a congregation of a group of such people at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai. I was lucky or indeed unlucky to witness their re-union which they held every year. They were all unmarried females. Each one of them was brought there by their caretakers on wheelchairs. They had the laugh of a life-time as they congregated.

Some of them laughed with their lips but some of them with non-functional facial muscles laughed from their hearts which were reflected in their eyes. Those who can talk about their childhood, their dreams which were never fulfilled, their ambitions already shattered, their desire to be useful members of the society and lay bare their contributions to the societal set-up. They had a sumptuous meal together.

Unfortunately, those who can’t move their upper limbs had to be spoon- fed. After that, there were discussions galore, discussions that would not materialise. Though they laughed at their precious re-union, they cried more because as usual reality dawned on them as it always did.

For those who can move their fingers, they had formed a WhatsApp group and exchanged ideas, information, know-hows on medical breakthroughs and exchanged ideas, to console themselves. With my instinct getting the better of me, I asked some of them (those who can speak) what their aims are, how to spend the rest of their lives and how they are living as social animals. Their answers were almost disconfirming.

They don’t have any aim in life, no ambition, no future. Some of them want peace of life by ending their lives through euthanasia or through lethal injection. I requested them to refrain from such ideas as such a deed is tantamount to murdering oneself and murdering oneself is equivalent to murdering one human being.

I also told them that we don’t have “Dr Kill” or “Angel of Death” amongst us and euthanasia is still not legal in our country. I wanted to help them in whatever way I could but no idea came out of my dumb and dumber head.

Lastly, I told them that God has created each one of us unequally because He has a reason. The silliest reason I told them is to not lose hope as life always has a purpose, so also God has created differences amongst us so as to serve His purpose in this world. To warm up their hearts, I, acting as a self-made messiah told them that God gives sufferings to the ones He loves the most.


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at kambamsamarjit0(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 16 2022 .



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