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On the brink of the life (1976) Back to stories index

It was just after mid-night in one summer. I was critically ill with very high fever - my body temperature was about 105 or 106 degree F. The doctor in the government run clinic I went to see this morning with mother gave me some tablets to take with water or hot drink. He said I could be back to normal again within a week, but with somewhat weak smile on his face. I thought the doctor might as well be not very well. After all he was working in a public clinic that occupied two apartment blocks in a row of four storey buildings; his civil service salary might not be enough to support his entire family of I did not know how many people.

My soul floating in the bed room at one night I used to play whole day after coming back from the school. I would meet my friends at the corner of the street lined by age-old apartment buildings on both sides. There we decided the way we would play for the day. One of the favorite games was to divide ourselves into two gangs. One gang or group had to act like bandits and other like police. The police team followed the bandits who had choice to run the entire township of about 7 square miles. Usually the game took almost half day to complete - that was to catch all bandit members. We usually started the game in the afternoon so that by the time we finish it could be nearly mid-night. The game took a lot of energy as well as knowledge about every single corner, good hiding place in the town. I liked playing so much that I could skip a meal to be able to play with my friends. The normal meals in my home of seven members where the only bread winner was my father did not contain any good taste or inviting smell. These were mostly of a plate of cooked broken rice and fish paste and a few drops of cooking oil. I knew my father worked hard, coming home late often. Even though he contributed a lot to the company the salary was far from covering all our expenses.

At the age of 12 I was very thin, probably the thinnest among my friends. In a school text book I read that we should have good proper intake of nutriction especially at the age 11 to 18 while all of us grew fastest in our life. How could we effort to buy good food? I ate far less than normal requirement, and played far more than normal children. Hot or cold, rain or not, I did not care. Playing was my only enjoyable time. The more I played the thinner I got. I was called by my friends a black pencil due to my dark skin.

I slep in the self-made second floor in the bed room of our apartment. The wooden additional floor is only four feet from the ceiling. I tried to sleep but could not. The fever kept me awake. Suddenly I was out of my body. I (my soul) travelled from above my bed to the ladder. I then moved quietly downward into my parents' bed room below. I was floating just below the wooden floor, in a lying position. I felt I was moving forward and backward a bit. I could see my parents sleeping with my two years old brother on a large bed. They were inside a large mosquito net. I did not know how long I had been in that situation. It might be about 5 or 6 seconds. I could even see the door to the bathroom and the windows of the bed room, which were open to let the air in. Then as it begun it finished all of a sudden. I was back in my bed with myself (my body) sweating and with a little shock and wonder. But I did not think much. Half an hour later I fell into sleep.


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