Posted in Disability, disability/illness

They called it a Punishment for the Unknown Sins, Some called it ‘Madness’. Today it is called ‘Developmental Disability’ and my life was destined to be a part of it’…

Courtesy of Sandy Millar, Unsplash

He came into this world with an innocent spirit  but with a physical condition, recognized as ‘Development Disability’. At that time  it was commonly called ‘Mental Retardation’, which meant anyone suffering from it  would be having difficulties in certain areas of life, especially in “language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living”.

A helpless human being born in this world with an innocent soul, oblivious to life’s reality, unaware of its purpose, totally unconscious of self but for the fulfillment of the  basic need for food and strangely, of extreme sensitivity to music. The tunes that caught his fancy would excite him to the point of screaming that gradually melted into crying and, after long hours, would end by fatigue and sleep.

Everyone at home loved music. Father had quite a collection of 75 rpm records and a stylish Grundig record player which would be attached to the radio. Almost every evening there would be a half-hour music session before dinner was served.

My earliest memories are of joyful moments when he was born. Good looking, with dark eyes, long eyelashes, adorable face specially when it broke into a smile, but something was very odd about him. I could not understand just what at that time. Two years old but hardly able to sit: “when will he play with us? Why doesn’t he speak ?” The only answers were “with time dear” and “in due time, he will.”  We would run off and get busy with our own games and books, accepting the quietly given explanation.

When he was five, he began to sit, but still no speech, nor play, nor self awareness. He would sit on the tricycle but could not pedal or ride. With time he learned to stand and one day took a few steps. Soon with the support of the wall he began to walk. Still no speech. Fits of laughter began to occur and would end up in screams. Lying on the floor nothing would stop the screaming untill time brought an end to them.

He never knew he had a name. He was not conscious of t parents, siblings, or anyone else. He had no idea of day or night. When he started walking he was not aware of the way to go. Once unnoticed he walked out of the gate and onto the road, he was almost run over by a passing vehicle. He was hit and the fall broke two of his ribs. It was a painful time for him. From then on he had to be strictly monitored and often in a bolted room.

With passing years the truth of his never getting well and normal was accepted. He would never be able to converse or take care of himself. He needed constant vigilant care for falls or injuries, for safety against electric wires and shocks, for all sorts of dangers. There was no end to care as he was alive in a world of his own. Parents did all they could. No medicine would work.

Hunger is a strong instinct. He would reach out and hold the arm tightly of anyone close to him at that moment and would push that person towards the door of the room.I t was a clear indication that he was asking for food, but he had to be fed. He could not hold a spoon or a cup, nor a biscuit nor a piece of bread. Sometimes the morsel would get stuck in the throat because it was not properly chewed. Panic would result. Fortunately the first aid of patting on the back would work.

He was not aware of the dangers of injury. Once, in a fit of laughter he clutched the electric extension wire on the floor and let out a loud scream, by the time the connection was cut his hand was burned, the flesh cut and bleeding. The wound healed but the hand could not be normal again. The need for constant vigilance kept the whole family alert. The risk of leaving him alone even for a few seconds was profound and life threatening. One aspect in his personality was that he was a docile human being. Nonviolent.

A newly established state had very little  health care or disability support centers for special-needs children or adults. Tariq ,as he was named would live in his own home, which for the family became a guarded place. Fear concern and worry prevailed, only prayer would bring some solace and strength to the heart. One can never fully understand nor find any answers. The truth is with the One Power Almighty.

Disability of all sorts needs constant care comfort patience respect and love. May Allah the Most Gracious and Most Merciful save and protect his people on this beautiful Earth and May all be blessed with the best of health and happiness.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Posted in disability/illness, General Interest, Illness/life-threatening illness

Illness ~ Suffering Surgery Surrender

Illness is a worldly test of faith strength and trust. It comes any time and face
it, we must—from  childhood to old age. Some are lucky, some not so fortunate.
Some are born without health, physical and mental; they need care respect and
love. Illness strikes from time to time,sometimes mild sometimes serious. It reminds
us of a power, greatest of all, a power who gives us the cure. Illness taught me
to surrender, accept the changes, and be patient.

And so I faced pain fever and bleeding until the body lay in a red pool on a flat table.
The doctor knew better to let me bleed. I lost a child. Three days and three nights, I just lay.
Life was kind to let me stay, engulfed in cold silence. I could not even pray. I knew that In God’s hands was the way.
Bleeding body and pain again. ‘This is normal’, they all said, and stared. I was a child, my mother cared, now I am a mother.
Would my child care? My child helped, but I myself, too, had to be brave. It all has to be a personal affair in the end.
To nature we all must bend.

Lying cross like on the operation table
I could not move. I was only able to
see the eyes, calm quiet concerned,
the face behind the mask.
I try to remember, but I forget—
my body half lifeless, numb and stiff.
I could not speak. I was only able to

breathe. Frightened, I heard my
heart beat and someone’s faint
talking, some
words audible, some mumbled.

I tried to understand but failed.

Eyes met the eyes as I felt a quick cut,
a part of me slit, incised, painless,
speechless. I remained, while some
talking I heard; my arms now stiff,
I prayed for strength, dropping into
sleepy numbness. I surrendered.
Two unknown human beings—are
they angels from above, hidden behind
gowns and masks? I know not what they
do or how, but they are briskly active.

I shake, I hear a voice, ’15 more minutes’.
I meet the eyes, calm and serene, confident.
I feel secure. ‘It’s done’. I hear talking,
‘twenty minutes’, ‘ suction’, ,stitch’, ‘suction, stitch’.

Then I do not see the eyes anymore, nor
the angel figure. Legs, heavy, start tingling.
Shivering takes over, I tremble with cold.
More talking I hear,
‘blankets’ please; another one,
”I am feeling cold’;  an electric heater
throws welcome heat on my face.
I cross my arms as if in embrace.

The shivering stops—I feel empty.
More eyes, I see, more talking I hear—
why is this room so warm?
Hustle bustle around,
my bed pushed, rolled, turned.

I feel nausea—I see personnel in green.
Am I smiling? Yes, for others, for I am brave.
Inside, my heart cries. I wish to keep looking
in those eyes so calm, so serene, so loving,
giving hope of life and saying, ‘all will be Ok’.

Time
Time,
It is a matter of time

All will be Ok.

Two months later:


As I was leaving the doctor’s room after showing her the test and physical examination reports, she looked at me directly in my eye and said, ‘you won’t be able to sit on the floor anymore’.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
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Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
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Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
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Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
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Memoir writing is her favorite form of creative expression.

 

Posted in General Interest

Environmental Justice ~ Netted Turtles, Suffocating Whales, The Ocean Needs Help ~

Netted turtles suffocating whales,
fettered fish, life in the seas, no more
some fishermen’s tales, or of pirate ships
with towering sails, is now filled with
plastic tin can waste –
Smoky dust hangs everywhere, frightened
birds restlessly seek air, all clean, one large
falcon fell, and brought a 737 down to land,
real flier  of the skies, is the bird or  machine?
sunlight blocked, nothing pure nothing fresh
to taste, land weeps for flora and fauna, forests
denuded are falling to death, dinosaurs long gone
to rest hope new ones don’t surface, as water is

scarce and plants depressed- no more does the
nightingale sing, so loud is the clang and hi-fi din,
flowers are captives of terracotta pots, rubbish dumps
growing are up to the chin,

Colors all smudged –reflect the Earth’s distortion
my heart pains at the planet’s destruction-
have we left a place, free of pollution?
I wonder if ever we shall find a solution.
May the Lord so merciful and gracious
forgive us, for the dishonor and desecration.
Come forward, look around, let us take action,
It’s time we cleaned the land and cleared the ocean.

© 2020 Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans), one of the three newest members of the Zine team, was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.