Friday, October 23, 2009

A case of amnesia

I am an honorary secretary of a senior citizen home that has fifty percent accommodation on payment basis in a separate complex with the remaining as free to those who could not afford.It is not a poor home open to all as certain requirements were to be met.It was however caste and gender free but the inmates should be literate.The ambience was good and there was a clamour for accomodation from many.Some kind hearted soul who had land adjacent to the home donated it. I was runnng around along with few others in search of sponsors to build additional rooms and facilities on the donated land.
One moning I had gone to a nearby temple to offer prayers.As I was returning I saw an elderly man in spotless white dress sitting on the floor.He had a gleaming wrist watch on his wrist.I could see a pen tucked in his shirt.He had a laced angavastram on his shoulder.But the place where he was sitting was by the side of garbage box and where shoes and chappals were left behind by the devotees.It looked odd for someone who appeared affluent squatting like that.I stood before him and smiled.There was a vacant and empty look without any recognition of someone smiling.I was intrigued and felt something abnormal.I went near him and said
“Sir, why do you sit in this unclean place? Aren’t you well needing help.My name is Partha.I can render any assistance you may need.Let me help you get up.”
There was no reaction.He did not reply but looked at me vacantly.I looked round to see whether there was anyone who had accompanied him.One flower seller who was near the gate told me”That old man is sitting there since two hour. .He does not reply anyone and may be a mental case.”
I lifted him with my hand and he stood up.He came along with me quietly without one word as if he was hypnotised.When I went near my car,I asked him where he wished to be dropped.He did not reply.
I asked “What is your name? Where do you live? Any telephone or mobile number?There was no answer.I saw his pocket had some currency notes but no details of his name or address.There was no mobile.There was no way of finding out his identity.He had just gone blank.I decided he should not be left there uncared for.I decided to take him to the senior citizen home.He came meekly without any resistance like a sheep being led..Once there he was provided food which he ate quietly but very slowly often losing himself in thoughts.I informed the temple to put on notice that an elderly man (details given) who had total amnesia was being taken care of at the senior citizen home and that his family can contact the secretary on phone,,,,.Meanwhile I had a photo of his taken and sent to local paper to publiish in their found column.
A week went by without anyone coming in search of him.I decided to keep him for some more time in the paid block before moving him to the free section..He was taken to a doctor who diagnosed it as amnesia with a profound memory loss possibly caused by some traumatic or emotional event.The old man, the doctor felt, will have difficulty in absorbing new information, and difficulty in recalling past memories.. He can also be disoriented and confused. The doctor also said that it can take weeks, months, or years for recovery to occur.
I decided to retain him in the paid area for two weeks more till the end of month hoping some light would be thrown on his identity.I felt sorry that how men and women however well placed are neglected by their own kith and kin when they reach their twilight years.I could visualise that he must have been living a decent life wih adequate financial backing. Whether he had a loving wife or children were all in the realms of conjecture.That was the last day of the month and I was busy looking at the books in the office when an attender came running to inform the old man had fallen in the bath room.I hurried to the scene and found a cut in the forehaed with blood trickling.He was unconscious and was rushed to hospital.
The next day when I went to see him I saw him sitting on his bed.To my great surprise, he smiled at me and said “I asked the hospital staff just now how come I was here and they said you would be coming soon to provide the answer.Can you enlighten me as to who you are and how I came into your custody and why I was brought here?”
I briefly told him the circumstances of his being found in the temple , the intervening days at home and the fall in bath room and requested him to reveal his identity.He said “It does not matter.I am Srinivasan , a retired bank official and live in this city.I do not wish to go back to my home as my son has not cared to look for me. I was already an unwanted person there and there was a scene on the last day when I was insulted by my daughter-in-law and asked to get out with my son remaining a mute witness.I would like to come to your home and spend my last days there and help the home in administration.I have sufficient income to stay in the paid accommodation”
The story does not end here with Srinivasan easily merging and identifying with other inmates and taking charge of administration.He donated a hefty amount sufficient for the construction of the new block in the new area already donated .His only request was to name it after his long lost wife.


  1. Call not a man wretched,who,whatever ills he suffers,has a child to love...

    "O memory...,thou bitter sweet,-both a joy and a scourge..."

  2. It's funny what life does to you. Teaches you all kinds of things, to learn and earn, but fails to teach you the real essence, which is to love one another and be there for each other in times of real need.

  3. Jyostna has poured out some beautiful words..I totally agree with her, good children are a treasure that would never last bad counterpart is the one that never was..
    Thanks for a great story:)

  4. am just reminded of one of your old posts where you had narrated about a girl who was rescued by the writer ...
    good one sir as always ...
    looks like your imagination never goes dry ...! :-P

  5. you are a prolific writer, but if you don't mind, i would like to suggest that you put a space after every paragraph so your very good stories won't look boring...hope it's okay with you...!

    nice read, morals...!

  6. Thankd fr the story uncle, by the way was it true or what? i wondered abt ur name in the post..:)>>

    whatever it is..he has a kind heart and a loving sole to have asked to name that after his

    and his son, hmm..ppl like his son are getting increased day by day..:(..

    good post any way...

  7. Life is lot much better when it is blessed with love and care. This post has once again gone on highlighting that fact :)
    To love and to be loved is every humans want

  8. Good one KP!
    A very different one, from your earlier posts. And, did this happen to you or is it fiction?

  9. awesome... a very touching story...yeah, the qs prevails if the story is real??