They say love is the aphrodisiac of the masses...it can make you do things which you would never do. But i believe there is another emotion...a more deeper...more instinctive feeling that can throw one into more turmoil than love.....its Fear. The fear of loss...the fear of pain...the fear of loneliness...the fear of everything and anything. Fear is a feature of every creature....from a single celled animal...to the complex human...all understand the language of fear. Its rooted in the very core of every living being...like a reflex. Even a man who knows not how to love...knows how to fear.
I remember my greatest moments of fear....it was the fear of loss. I was 17...a teenage kid in his last year of school in Sri Lanka. Dengue was on the rampage in Colombo, with hospitals overflowing with patients. My mum had been going through phases of fever...showing signs of the dreaded disease...until one day when I came back from school late in the evening. I happened to look at her arm and notice red patches...scattered all over arm. Within 30 minutes, she was in a hospital bed with doctors surrounding her... observing... needling... testing... discussing... quarreling. They gave me the assurance that this was a simple case of dengue and she would be alright in a couple of days with the treatment they were giving her. I was satisfied.
5 days had passed and my mum was not improving. Everyday after school, i would go to the hospital and spend the evening by her side...go home in the night and take care of dad. I was confused...a little lost. Why was she not getting better? And then it happened. On the 6th day when i went to visit her in the ICU...she coughed...and spat blood! My brain ran from one corner of my life to another. Blood.... spit... tuberculosis... incurable... death..... Fear! Pitch ...Black... Fear!
In the faintest voice that i had ever heard she whispered "Son, forgive me if i have ever done you wrong!'. Oh...those are not the words a 17 year old should hear from his parent. I went weak...on the edge of crying. I charged out of the ICU and DEMANDED an explanation from the doctors as to why my mother was not getting better. A emotional child can be an amusing creature...it cannot comprehend life yet it wants its secrets...and it wants them then and there! She apparently had Dengue Haemorrhoid fever...the deadliest dengue form in which the insides of a person start to dissolve and bleed. Dad tried to reassure me that spitting blood is common...nothing new...reassurance which i felt he was giving to me as his last option.
The thing with dengue is...that its a viral disease. There isn't a cure for it...but instead just a recovery phase. One cannot detect the dengue virus in the blood but instead we detect the antibodies that the body produces against the virus. My mum was showing every physical signs of dengue...except the antibodies. All reports were Negative...the doctors were perplexed...I was scared. In that fear...i did the only thing that my brain churned up.
I came home that night...and lit a candle in the temple...and promised God that i would fast the next day...just make my mum better! I "promised"....i didn't beg or make a deal...but i offered something which was mine...my hunger. No money...no material offerings... nothing which i couldn't call my own. What else is a 17 year old supposed to do against an enemy which he has no understanding of. Faith...its a strange thing. It rises from the core of man when least expected. Fear and Faith have this amusing relationship...almost dancing the Waltz...sometimes close together...sometimes distance. Sometimes faith dwindles in the face of fear...at others fear fuels faith itself. As for me...i just lit a candle and sacrificed what i could.
On the 7th day...when i went to the hospital...there was a crowd around my mum. Doctors and nurses were gathered around the bed....i couldn't understand the looks on their faces. As i made my way to the bed...i saw my mum...she was unconscious. Fear struck again...and i was about to implode...but a hand on my shoulder took it all away. A doctor's calm voice said "She's just asleep. We detected the dengue antibodies in her blood today morning...and we've started with the treatment. Its nothing short of a miracle...but she's gonna be fine." But i knew what they all didn't. It wasn't JUST a miracle....it was MY miracle. Oh i still remember that moment...i felt as light as a feather....and hugged that doctor as though he had given me something that had already been taken away. I smiled for the first time in a week.
That day, i came home and broke my fast at midnight. I had understood the true meaning of fear....faith...and sacrifice. Its nothing like the filmy version where the person rings the bells and smashes his head on the temple gates... and blah blah blah. This is why i believe Fear is stronger than love, for it encompasses faith... sacrifice... love.... strength.... futility... madness...everything. Fear can be a catalyst....creating...or dismantling man himself. It reaches deep with its cold clutches and pulls out everything so mercilessly.
That's the thing about fear...its a punisher....its a teacher....its a reminder. Most of all....its unbiased.