The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier
Dialogues between Mother and Son
K L Chowdhury

ISBN-13 9788124803929
Author K.L. Chowdhury
Original Price ₹350
Publication Year 2017
Language English
Pages 190
Publisher Atlantic
Subject English Literature
Binding Paperback
This is an anthology of one hundred and seven poems penned down in free verse while I was caring for my mother during her last four years of life.

As a medical professional with five decades of experience, I have been grappling with the manifold ageing problems of my patients—strokes and failing hearts, parkinsonism and paralysis, depression and dementia, crippling arthritis and asthma, cancers and other end-of-life situations. But when it came to my own mother, I saw the problems in an altogether different light. I saw the difference between issuing instructions to the caregivers and being a caregiver, between the practice of treating a patient and the challenges of treating one’s own parent.

The experience unfolded new visions and vistas of care-giving. It opened a whole new world into the mind of an aging person forced to bed and dependent on caregivers. It helped me realize that the vast reservoir of knowledge and experience of treating geriatric patients falls woefully short of their expectations and needs. It forged a better understanding of ageing and age-related problems, and brought to the fore the existential, psychological, moral and spiritual dimensions of tending to an old and challenged person, confined to bed, waiting for deliverance. It transformed me as a doctor, a care-giver and a human being.

During this time, while I juggled between the three roles of a professional doctor, a family man and a care-giving son, there were times I suffered a burnout. I tried relaxation techniques and meditation but that did not always help. I found it easier to snatch whatever time I could to record in small poems my dialogues with mother, which revolved around her daily concerns, her uncomplaining suffering, my own feelings and thoughts, and the pain of watching her melt away. In the process, it also brought out some of her remarkable aphorisms about life. Writing it all down proved to be an exercise in self-introspection, besides being therapeutic for my tortured soul. It is these poems which I like to share with the readers that they my find an echo of their own queries and thoughts in similar situations and, possibly, take heart from my experiences.

The poems are presented as dialogues between mother and son. But, down the months and years, when mother’s cognition takes a knocking, she turns incommunicado for long intervals. Then, I endeavour to fathom the language of her eyes that follow me, vaguely at times, and the dialogues peter out into soliloquies and, finally, into silences.

I feel this collection is the first of its kind that encapsulates the inscrutability of aging, and age-related problems that have befuddled scientists and doctors, psychologist and philosophers, and poets and writers ever since the beginning of time.
About the Author
Dr. K L Chowdhury retired as a Professor of Medicine, Medical College, Srinagar. Presently he is the Director of a charitable institution, Shriya Bhatt Mission Hospital and Research Center, Durga Nagar, Jammu. He is a physician and neurologist, a medical researcher, poet, social activist. He writes on diverse subjects – medical, literary, social and political and has numerous research papers to his credit, his pioneering work being “The Health Trauma in a Displaced Population” which was presented at national and international conferences.
He has published three anthologies namely:
1- “Of Gods, Men and Militants”. Minerva Press (Pvt.) India -2000
2- “A Thousand-Petalled Garland and other Poems”. Writers Workshop Kolkata – 2003
3- “Enchanting world of Infants” Peacock Books, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors-2007
He was declared Shehjar's 'Kashmiri Person of the year' for 2007.
Congratulations Doctor Sahib. You are a doyen of the community and a true role model. Good synopsis and the book must be very good reading.
Added By Chaman Lal Wattal