On the morning of November 29, Delhi, poet Javed Akhtar woke up to the most terrifying experience of his life.
Simply put, he just couldn’t move.
Recalling the horror of having lost the power of his limbs, Javed Saab, now on the way to recovery at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in Delhi, says, “On that fateful morning I got up as usual. I had been suffering from a nagging back pain in my lower back for some time which I had been ignoring. You know how it is. We tend to play down our body’s warning signals until it is too late. Suddenly I realized how fragile the human body is when I simply lost the power to move.”
Contrary to reports, the inertia attack did not happen in the bathroom.
Shudders Javed Saab, “I came out of the loo, went to the bedroom and sat on the bed. It was then that it happened. I COULDN’T MOVE!! I was transfixed on the spot. I couldn’t get up from bed or lie down. I had the most acute pain in my lower back. The pain was so unbearable that I shrieked out in agony.”
Frighteningly Javed Saab had locked the bedroom door from inside. “So no one could come to me to help. I sat there screaming in pain. Finally my man-Friday had to break down my bedroom door to reach me.”
By then Javed Saab was in a delirium of indisposition. “I had to be rushed to the spinal hospital where I am now 80 percent recovered. I can move, go to the loo, talk to friends, read and write without pain.”
But the experience has put the fear of God and mortality in the poet. “We tend to take out body for granted. Because of the pain in my lower back for some time I had stopped doing all exercise. Now I intend to follow a strict regime.”
Adds wife Shabana Azmi, “It’s been a traumatic time for both of us. Luckily Jadoo is now recovering fast. But anything could’ve happened. I felt so helpless because I could do nothing to relieve his pain. I was very tense. He was in such pain that he couldn’t bear it. And to see him crying in pain was unacceptable to me. He couldn’t even move and had to be taken out on a stretcher to the ambulance.”
Shabana is all praise for the medical fraternity. “The two doctors Dr Chhabra nd Dr Bhushan who are looking after Jadoo are absolutely world class. We get the best medical treatment in India.”