Kumar (39 years)
Kumar and his wife Pushpakanthi are blessed with three children. Kavisa (9 years), Yathursha (six years), and Yathurshan (4 years). During the war, a heavy branch of a tree, slices by sharp shelling shrapnel made him paralyzed from the upper back bone downwards. He doesn’t lament much being an amputee of his right hand but complains that he cannot even use his left hand for anything. Day and night he lay in the sac-clothed bad with the cathedra on, not to wet the bed or clothes. The cathedras are changed off and on by his six year old son.
He is always talks high of his wife, who earns for living by joining the demining team It is a very risky job. Coming home, she would attend to her husband and the children. She and Kumar, fight to overcome the trauma and the hard life in their little temporary shelter.
Varni, his wife had to quit the demining work for the sake of her daughter’s education. But it was not in vein. We got the good news that Kavisa got through her 5th standard scholarship examination in Kilinochchi district. Vani and Kumar’s tear stained cheeks glittered in the sunrays through the thatched roof when I visited them.
We supply boxes of cathedra and plastic gloves without fail to ease the difficult process of scooping out the bowels of Kumar by his wife Varni every morning. What a life for a young couple. The last time I noticed that his lower part of the body was shrinking. We love to have long chats and laugh our hearts out.
‘Kumar desired to have a non-veg meal last week’
As I sat at the edge of his bed Varni complained to me
Before I asked what she prepared for him
The youngest Yathushan at the top of his voice yelled
Oh! Good meal Amma. White rice and dried fish!
We all laughed! The tears in my eyes were not of the joke
But the outburst of my anger on God!
Now, what kind of counseling is appropriate for this family?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Poetry is an evocative composition that communicates more by connotation than denotation. Writing down poetries imparts the feelings of the heart. In the counseling field, it is held that poems are a kind of adjunctive therapy, which are wholistic, humanitarian and a rich resource for healing. Living in the chronic escalating civil war, for the last three decades, experiencing and witnessing the atrocities done, writing the true incidents that I witnessed helped me heal my psychic wounds to some extent.
The following true incident which happened some years ago in a psychiatric hospital is reflected in this poem. With the scarcity of the psychiatrists and the stigma of various mental illnesses especially caused by chronic PTSD, I wonder whether we need to wait for ages to get help.