Thursday, 7 July 2016

Confronting the Pikuesque

Brian Mendonça

When our irrepressible in-law Lyn was asked what she thought of the movie Piku she replied without missing a beat, ‘It’s all bloody shit.’ Viewers of the movie would see her point as the  movie is about an elder who cannot pass motions.

The movie, though I have not seen it – the subject being too odious -- was firmly on my mind when an elder was admitted to hospital for the same reason. Believing a simple enema would do the trick we hauled him to Sanjeevani hospital, Vasco for the procedure. However we were dismayed when Dr. Kanekar the RMO opined that he would need to be admitted. Considering his advanced age they would need to stabilize his ‘vitals’ and then administer the enema.

Views flew thick and fast on why we took him to Sanjeevani hospital when Salgaocar Medical Research Centre (SMRC), Chicalim was obviously the better choice. They had cardiac facilities, were better equipped, and had treated him as recently as last week. Since the elder was a heart patient this made a lot of sense. So they thought.

I, on the other hand, felt quite at peace with our decision because it was what the patient wanted.  He was comfortable in the ICU and the evacuation -- that’s how they term it in medical parlance  -- was happening. The other reason was that mummy had passed on in this hospital in Room number 9 (now it is 109) on the first floor. It was the corner room with the balcony facing the road. I had not stepped into this hospital since – except to visit the doc’s consulting room on the ground floor.

When I drove down the precarious slope from Mangor hill to Sanjeevani hospital, I had to confront the angry sea at Baina beach. The frothing waves, insatiable in their monsoon fury, seemed to be clamouring for another life – like they had claimed my mother. Would they prevail?  I shuddered at the thought.

The elder pulled through and we seem to be on a good wicket. Suddenly all the voices who  harangued us about the insanity of our decision to admit at Sanjeevani subsided, and were singing the praises of the hospital. One even wanted them to attend to his chest congestion ‘because it would rain very heavily in the next few days.’ The patient was also comfortable with Dr. S.N. Desai with his amiable bedside manner, and because, ‘He knows my case.’

Shoojit Sircar, director of Piku (2015), has struck a chord with his movie. One has to confront the realities of life -- and death.

After many years I opened my volume of poems Last Bus to Vasco to page 48:

Room No. 9

Blue on white
Azulejos reprieve,
Porch to the East
Sunlight streaming in
White moderna chair
Bathroom of castanha
Curtains of Orkay
In crepe de chine.
MPT railtracks
Across the road
Cheerful windows
Of iron grille.
Beyond the bubble
Of seamless traffic
I hear you breathing
Your nearness
Embraces me.

(Sanjeevani Hospital, Goa, 2005)
Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 3 July 2016.  Pix courtesy


Simple Simon said...

Loved the piece, Brian. The visit seemed to be cathartic for you. Was it? Loved the poem too, Room No. 9 ...

Augustine Mendonca said...

Hi Brian,

God bless you for your mastery with words and thoughts that transport the reader bang into your topic of the moment, giving us the thrill to feel what you feel.

What else could we do but ask for MORE?????


lakshmi said...

Oh Brian brings back so many memories...glad you went to this hospital and things worked out well....admire your guts....wish I felt half as strong as you are....God bless