I like to make myself believe that I take my own decisions and have charted my own life. Unfortunately to counter that there is an “Exhibit A”- “Himangshu had no say on when he was born or where he was born”. In spite of my most sincere protests, every year like the year before the calendar says it is 15th May, my google doodle changes and my parents call me to remind me that I had no say in my birth.
This year was my third birthday in another country in another timezone. That got me wondering when is my birthday. India is sometimes twelve and a half hours ahead from where I live. It got me pondering which is my accurate birthday. My parents always told that I was born on Wednesday of 1986. But 15th May 1986 was a Thursday, (trust but verify even your parents). On further investigation, it was claimed I was born at 2 am on 15th May. That was 14th May in San Francisco.
Its been three years now. I was a failed entrepreneur in Bangalore. It was the month of May. Four months ago, my Hb1c had reached 11.5. I was losing it all. Still, it was my birthday and I was sitting across what I thought was the love of my life then. Halfway through the meal, we realized we liked each other but we were not the one for the other. We talked and confessed and promised to give it a try for old times sake. Wisely we drifted apart the week after. In a few months time, I left the city and the state and the country. I made a few new friends and great friends here. But I had too many repressed emotions. I kept my birthday hidden for two years. One of them tried to force me to go for dinner last year but I feigned work to bail out. Time passed, my privacy settings changed and I had a not so surprise celebrations this year(2019, in case I suffer from memory loss) round.
With thirty-three years elapsed, I need to take a moment to thank people who have helped me through my life for no reason. Some of the people’s faces have faded from my memory but their kindness lingers on. This list is not comprehensive in any form or fashion but I cannot make perfect the enemy of the good.
When I was six or seven, my father was seriously ill. Back in those days, my father used to drop me at school and pick me up. A few days he could not drop me but I went with an aunt to school. After school was over, my father got more unwell and my aunt could not pick me up. I told about my plight to a slightly older student of my school, he was 15 or 16 I think as the school got over and he got me home. Helped me cross a busy intersection. The only name I know was his pet name at home called Bablu.
There was a neighbor of ours whom I only know as Jan Dai. He was no blood relative of mine but he taught me to ride a cycle. This was when I was ten years old.
At the age of sixteen, I left Assam for New Delhi to complete my school education. Papney uncle who just happened to meet me at a bank branch one day took care of me like their own son. Papney sure does not rhyme with any Assamese surname but I never felt more at home.
When I was twenty-one, I got diagnosed with diabetes and clinical depression. I had difficulty meeting people outside my circle of trust. I once got a severe hypoglycemic attack on the way from Calcutta to my college. I had to sleep on a railway platform for a few hours sipping on an energy drink. Since that day, I always had one friend or another accompany me to the psychiatrist/medicine purchase. Those were Nawal/Aniket/Nitesh/Nikhil. We did watch the dark knight six odd times. That is another story. When my thesis advisor refused to let me graduate. Prof. Sinha went and talked him out of it. Sometime during my stay in college and new pharmacy opened, I finally could get my medicines from Frank Ross Pharmacy. One day we were going to somewhere and I needed to replenish my insulin. I think it was Nikhil who went to get the insulin while lazy me was in the car. The pharmacist told him they don’t have insulin. Nikhil shouted to me from the pharmacy that they don’t have it. The pharmacist saw me. He immediately told Nikhil that he has insulin but “only for Himangshu”. Apparently, he had only 1 vial left and he had kept it aside in case I need it. For him, other patients can die for all they need. Shobhit/Naru/Nanda and others who jumped across closed doors to get me insulin or sugar as the need may be. It was a village that kept me alive at college. Some of the villagers I haven’t met since and will probably never meet again.
My SFO room-mate (Rock) who took me to hospital and back when I was having a severe sugar attack. Our run-club friend and coach, in the particular order, Nichole who bullied a security guy to reach me in a medical tent as I was freaking out. To the mother on the street of Vancouver who let me have her child’s food as my sugar levels were dropping. To the two groups of friends who rescued me at Yosemite and to many other names not mentioned, thank you for what you did. Thanks to you all, I get to live one more day.