Optimism ~ My Story


"Look Mama! A butterfly!" said the little girl cheerfully as she smiled at the little colourful beauty like there was no tomorrow. Then she started playing with it, lifting her hands, laughing all the time the butterfly made different moves. Something about that little girl's smile was very intoxicating.. like a drug. I just couldn't take my eyes off her happy face.

It was 2013 at the St John's hospital, Bangalore. That part of my life where I faced the most difficult times. Life had not thrown lemons at me, it had thrown stones instead. Stones which had hit my legs straight and given me the hint that I would never be able to walk properly again.

Three months of visits to five different hospitals, hundreds of prescriptions, and countless intake of medicines had only worsened my case of peripheral neuropathy.

I was sick.
Tired of this madness.
Depression was taking over me..
...and fear.. fear of never being able to walk again.
Pessimism had become my food.

Visiting hospitals and seeing a plethora of ill people there had only worsened my condition and lowered my spirits. What hurt more were the worried faces of my loved ones. I could tell that each one of my family was totally broken on the inside inspite of reassuring me and acting cheerful on the outside. My parents were worried beyond imagination. I would wake up in the mornings to find my Mom's eyes bulging and all red.. it was clear that she had cried.

This visit was no different. A three hours of waiting for my appointment number to be called, had made me sick. I had somehow managed to convince Mom that I would be fine and taken the painful journey to the hospital garden without anyone's help. Now as I sat on a deserted bench, I couldn't help stare at this little girl who was full of life and laughter. I watched her moves enviously.

I had not been happy since a long time and could hardly remember the last time I had smiled like that little girl. When I thought that her smile couldn't get better, the little girl surprised me with one of her best laughs and squeals of happiness as a second butterfly swarmed near her.

Suddenly both the butterflies started flying away. The girl got up with a start and started running towards them to catch them... No, wait. That was what I thought would happen. What happened was not that at all..

She tried getting up and running behind the butterflies to catch them, but she fell forward on the ground.. with a pang in my heart I looked down and realised that she didn't have legs.

I got up and ran towards her to save her.. to hug her tight and never let go. Her mother had already bet me at that and was now crooning the little angel in her arms.

A sea of emotions took over me as I stopped in my tracks, my legs protesting against my sudden physical actions.

...and then it happened. One of the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen broke on her face as she said to her Mom "Ye Duniya kitni khoobsurat hai na Mama?!" [This world is so beautiful no Mama?]

The world just stopped for me there. A smile broke on my face and tears started pooling out of my eyes. No, they were not flowing because I was sad or depressed, this time the tears had a different meaning.

I was disgusted with myself for have been so pessimistic when there had still been hope for me. I had complained, I had lost faith and accepted that my life was going to be like this forever.

On the other hand, this little girl who didn't have legs was so optimistic about life. She was so full of life and even appreciating little things like butterflies amidst a thick crowd of patients. I realized it was the perspective which mattered. I had always been pessimistic and that had only worsened my condition and sent me into depression while the girl was always optimistic and even the fact that she couldn't run and catch those butterflies hadn't saddened her one bit.

That incident moved me beyond words. I started seeing the world in the eyes of that little girl. My mental state started stabilizing and suddenly everything started changing. I realised that my smile made my loved ones happy. When I was happy even while the pain persisted, everything in the world started smiling back at me.

It was not long before my happiness and optimism reached an extent where it overshadowed the pain, so much that it didn't hurt any longer. Then suddenly my body started co-ordinating with my mental state and there was a progress like never before. I was filled with optimism and after three months, that day finally arrived when I was fully healed I and my friends went out to play shuttlecock.

It was a new beginning for me. I had been so close to losing everything that now I realised how beautiful and important every moment in life was and vowed to make the best of it. One thing was for sure.. after that incident, that smile never left me. It was like my lips had married it.

Dear little angel,
Thank you. Thank you for gifting me my life back.
You are that dose of optimism every human needs.

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