- by Jaihoon
Colors of Life
Life treats everyone differently. No two people are blessed in the same manner. And every blessing changes in its magnitude throughout the ‘timeline’ of our lives. There are several fellow beings who are assigned by LORD to ensure our blessings continue. And then there is the unsung song of the grand finale when everything comes to an end. A transformation, rather, from the present life-ecosystem to a different experience of ‘intervallic’ existence.
High Voltaged Mullapperiyar
It was my first visit to the city of Chennai, earlier known as Madras, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It was a time of great political fever with tensions high between the TN and its neighboring state over water sharing conflict regarding the Mullapperiyar Dam. Kerala and TN both pulled the strings, in open and secret, of Federal government to ensure the security and pride of either parties remained safe. I had heard reports of various incidents of violence in TN in which several shops owned by Malayalees and tourists were attacked.
The Cardiac Master
MIOT Hospitals, situated on the Mount Poonamalle Road, near a river, is a popular destination for cardiac related treatment. There is too much of security guards than required and can be The sights and sounds aren’t really that captivating. Dr Baashi is a world renowned physician who performs a minimum of three to four heart operations on the most important organ in our body. His mastery is a God given gift and every heart patient I spoke to had tremendous confidence in his skills. He can undo any complicated problems of the heart in a breeze. A truly talented creation of Almighty.
An Emirati Connection
I had a chance to meet an Emirati national who’s here for his stomach related disease along with treating spinal problems of his mother. He is employed in a government department which he kept anonymous for security reasons. Commenting on the general healthcare facilities in India, he said ‘Subhanallah. The doctors here are amazing. The buildings there have better shine. But physicians are better qualified and experienced here’.
‘Kolaveri’ for a Blood Donor
The most difficult part of Chennai experience was finding a O negative blood donor for my father’s operation. The group itself is very rare and finding it in a strange city was all the harder. Hundreds of calls to several persons and organizations had to be made, but in vague. We tried to contact several Blood Donors organizations in Chennai, but all failed. Friends from UAE provided many links. The Muslim Malayalee associations in the city could not be of any help. Officials from Railways and Airports tried to help. Few donors were available in Kerala. But there was no time to reach them across.
On the eve of the operation, we were about to finish calling pages of phone numbers provided to us by friends. Finally, a man named Sudhir picked up and admitted he’s of the same group, but he had recently donated and therefore could not do it again.
With fingers crossed, we waited for a God sent angel. And then to our excitement, Sudhir called us back and asked for the hospital details. He reached within an hour of waiting. A young man, employed at a BPO center, he was accompanied by his Malayalee fiancé. He said he chose to respond realizing our urgency and we were from Kerala. His ‘Malayalee sympathy’ was perhaps due to his love for the ethnicity his would-be bride. Humble and polite, he was extremely patient and cooperative with the hectic hospital procedures. The God sent angel left with a consoling smile and was only happy he could be of any help.
Among Allah’s creations are amazing few who look for no gain or reward when offering any help. May He fill the donor’s life with joy and blessings. Praise be to Allah who satiated our ‘kolaveri’ in the most apt manner.
This was also the time I realized the importance of non-voluntary organizations in a society. These groups are no waste of time in a need of hour. Allah has made man a social creature, reliant and dependant on others.
God is not a sadist, but He can pull the plug, anytime.
There may be countless sufferings in the world. We may be tormented by physical and mental difficulties. But they do not mean that Creator is a sadist who enjoys torturing us. Our incapacity to understand their meanings does not mean HE is cruel. HE is the one who blessed us. And HE has the right to pull the plug off our blissful life anytime. And He wouldn’t be wrong in doing it. (We seek refuge in the same Lord in our blessings fading)
Health is real, the rest are cosmetic
Besides Faith, Health is one of the greatest blessings of Allah. The rest are simply and literally cosmetic. Wealth and other blessings are outside. The former two are within us. As my friend put it philosophically, you not only need prosperity in life, but also the health to embrace and enjoy it.
Life’s romance with Death
The 19-day stay in Chennai stay also gave an excellent opportunity to ponder over Life’s romance with Death.
Old age is a trying time for all. And it will happen to all. Ill health will make us an obsolete existence. But like the ridicule of death, we prefer to ignore it, simply because we have never experienced it. It is strange and funny for humans to deny something, for the only reason of their inexperience.
The First Time
I had an uninviting endoscopy experience at the same hospital. Since it was my first time, it was like a near-death experience to have a metal rod pipe inserted down the throat till the stomach and to be CONSCIOUS of it. And it is then I silently realized my wife’s fear as she was taken to the Labor room. Millions of patients would be treated for stomach and countless Mothers give birth to children everyday. But these statistics don’t help in reducing our worries. Similarly, millions die as calendars change. But death for everyone is a moment of extreme stress.
The medical vacation also gave ample time to listen to the scholarly melodies from Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, whose audios I had brought along. His speeches are filled with wisdom and humor. A man of many experiences across many cultures, his talks give a true image of the universal nature of Islam.
After my father was discharged and in rest, he listened to the Malayalam Quran commentary by Simsarul Haq Hudawi, the Kerala-born young scholar from UAE. He also listened melodious recitation of the Holy Book by Al Afasy. Opinions don’t matter. Reality does. Yes, Quran is a healing book of mental and physical diseases. Ignorance and disbelief are diseases.
Cycloned by Thane
To add to the existing challenges of physical and mental trauma, Chennai also taught how it is to live close to a cyclone attack. With rains for three consecutive days and winds blowing at pace far from proportions, trees putting up an unnatural ballad of fear – the Thane cyclone raised our fears. News channels said the winds were blowing at 140km/hour speed. Friends and families called to verify our security. But coming from a rain-dry world, it was all but fun. I managed to take some photos in the rains.
The Death’s advocate: How ready are we?
There were several nationalities who came here for treatment. African, Arabs, Europeans and South Asians. My roommates had people from Bangladeshi and Sudan.
The Bangaladeshi heart patient was accompanied with his son. He has been living in UAE since 1964, even before I was born. A tailor by profession, he is an active member of Tableeg-Jamaat by profession. TJ is the largest missionary movement among Muslims today, which has attracted people of all sectors. A harmless PR-free spiritual movement, it does not have a former hierarchy of leadership. The Bengali man, who is here for heart bypass operation, like my father, was all ready to embrace the call of Death. He shared a state of the art conversation about the reality of death.
He said our fear of death depends only on how well or ill prepared we are to welcome it. Our predecessors wore turbans on head which would suffice as their funeral cloth if they die unexpectedly. I have heard a scholar from Kerala, popularly called Shamsul Ulama, always carried a funeral cloth when he went for travels. He convinced that Man is greedy only for what he likes. The less tasty the food, the less he would eat. After a person dies, his relatives will remember him or her for a few days. They then forget as if that person never lived at all. This world is simply a zig-zag street and Akhira is the real highway on which our journey is set.
Conclusion : All know, few believe
To conclude, Life is too serious a business to just end with this world. The ones who doubt Life 2.0 are those who take life less seriously.
There is nothing in new in the lines I have written so far. All know it. But very few believe.
A prayer oft-repeated in the Malayalam Quran commentary I mentioned above shall befit this lengthy journal about the ‘Kolaveri’ experience in Chennai.
Allahumma inni aoodhu bika min zawaali nimathika, wa thahawuli afiyathika, wa fujaathi niqmathika, wa jamee sakhthika
We all seek refuge from the fading of His blessings, from becoming weak of health, from sudden death and from all the wrath of Lord!
Jan 03 2011. Chennai
Kolaveri : Why this murderous rage. A viral Tamil song. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_This_Kolaveri_Di
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