A sudden weight loss of some 20 kilos made me frail and fragile six-foot-two-incher of some 50 kilos who could barely stand for a minute on his shaky legs.
Pale and weak, like a dead, energy-less corpse, I almost downgraded myself to a state where strong winds would throw me back.
Emotionally and mentally screwed up, lots of thoughts running into the brain, asking why and how of things that had happened, unable to come to grips with reality… I finally left for my Home, one place which accepts you irrespective of what you did or plan to do.
My father saw me and hated me for whatever I made of myself and started regretting of letting me go to Delhi.
He was furious, rightly so, because nobody wants his grown up son who should be taking care of him, end up being taken care of. A mixed love and hate talk. Vehemently accusing me of not eating and taking care of myself, on every single encounter we had.
I would lie in a room all the 24 hours with no energy to even go to the courtyard by climbing down three stairs. I had the energy that would allow me to breathe and just breathe.
If I talked, would end up exhausting myself after half sentence, panting and gasping for breath. Unable to express anything and just accepting or rejecting when someone asked something by merely moving my eyelids, I was unable to even shift and change my position on bed.
This went on for half of the January till I gained some strength to be able to walk and so, attend to the doctors to see what was eating me inside.
I knew what was eating me inside. But lied to parents and said it was nothing but some irresponsible eating and some stress, which was only fractionally true.
Doctor asked me to get a few tests done. Blood test, Monteaux test for TB, HIV, Xray and others.
Results came out and doctor diagnosed me with TB in the lever as the major cause of concern along with a very low pulse rate (seriously affected heart), and punctured lung with lots of water in it.
Three vital organs gone bad in a span of a month to a person who never smoked or even had a beer. That was one of the times when I wanted myself to buck up and give it back to the person and the events responsible by being able to live again. I eventually did that.
Medication started with doctors asking me to eat a lot and not to skip a single dose of medicine (which alone were size of a breakfast for some size zero actresses).
Doctor told me that I might need two units of blood if a situation arises. Anyway, I never got that chance.
The medication was going on but it couldn’t turn my appetite on. I was not willing to eat as I felt my stomach was full all the time.
Then I took a decision to leave my Home and come to Delhi so the environment and boredom could be done away with.
Father was outraged and questioned my thinking process and the ludicrous idea that has just appeared to me. He refused to give any money and vowed not to see my face if I went in this frailty.
But after lot of arguments and convincing that I have a friend to take care of me, who is very responsible and make sure that everything is taken care of, he reluctantly agreed to let me go.
I had some better plans here. I had contacted my boss and asked if he could accommodate me as a trainee in TOI sports as World Cup was about to kick off. He agreed.
And here I was in Delhi, in a bad shape going to office everyday and working religiously to make a few bucks to not to be a burden on my father.
Fathers and mothers are really poor persons who give in to the horrific demands made by sons like me. That makes them all the great and beautiful. And that’s why they matter a lot to you. They, even after knowing the worse about something, allow us to do things just because we believe in doing them. That’s why they are equivalent to something supernatural.
Anyway, from March to May, from ICC World Cup to IPL 2011, I worked with Times of India and made enough money to pay my bills.
My body ached on every joint while I walked. If I sat and moved from a position, it gave me pain. I looked terrible and awful. People would watch me with a view that I must be doing drugs!
I remember every single moment of physical pain that I endured. I remember every effort that I made to fight this death.
In Delhi my condition started improving with me adding 2 kilos every month. Every time I stood on that weighing machine and when it showed improvement, I would feel a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. I would call my mother and let her know that I was doing good.
Meanwhile, I got a full time job at Economic Times the day I left Times of India after my contract expired. It was also a moment of happiness as it was my first big job at a great brand. (Though I am not proud of myself).
Health was improving on a regular basis and I started to gain my consciousness fully. I had a great memory prior to my illness but may be after a heavy dose of prolonged medication, I became forgetful.
I would not remember what someone asked me, if I did a work, won’t recognise my edited works, wonder if I had eaten and things like that.
My hair would develop curls which was straight and great earlier. All the credit goes to medication, perhaps.
Then came the month of November, when my medication was supposed to end. First time in three years I would be able to go without a tablet in the morning.
This idea itself overwhelmed me. But a fear that I might not have been cured, might have got HIV+ (which happens to 70% of TB patients in India if they ignore medication)… terrible ideas started boggling my mind.
I went to the doctor with all my follow up reports and the final reports that he asked on my blood and Xray.
He told I had some water in my lungs, but not to worry it will dry up. “You can discontinue your medication.”, said the doctor, adding, “Don’t think too much on anything, let things happen and go. You will be alright.”
I was happier than ever. My father could see that I had gained health but he being a father said that I was not making him happy. He wanted to see me red with blood and not just rage which is one of my traits.
After a medical-cum-festival break I was back to Delhi. 9 months of pain, 4 months of depression, a back stabbing girl, a failed relationship, a long battle with illness was all behind me now.
I was my quintessential self again. I was Ajeet Bharti who was blunt, abusive, uncompromising, uncaring person living in a room of my own with myself. Lot of time to think and ponder, lot of time to focus on myself, lot of time to do things that I wanted to do…
I checked my weight today, almost a year after the weighing machine showed 50, it reads 70 now.