OPINION

Blogs, Friendship, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

September 01, 2007
GV Krishnan

My friend Kini's web silence gives me a guilty feeling. His last post - Journey's End - was in June. But then he has legitimate reason for silence - battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) that brings with it "a new scary set of symptoms" each day. My feeling of guilt has to do with failure to keep alive my end of our blog-line. "It is wonderful waking up (in the morning) and finding an interesting, engrossing letter from a friend", says Kini in a recent mail to a common friend, with 'cc' addressed to me.

Kini, for the unfamiliar, is the bloke with whom I had initiated a blog-to-blog, as a mode to stay in touch; talk about old times. It soon assumed a life of its own, with our B2B playing out like a flashback in a Bollywood movie where two friends, losing each other in a mela, re-unite decades later to catch up on old times.

Kini and I had lost touch with each other when we were still young, wild and experimenting in London. When reconnected, we found ourselves wizened by age, hassles of living, and, in Kini's case, by an incurable ailment. Our re-connect dates back to a mail from him well over a year back, informing me of a change of address. He had shifted base from London (where he had spent four decades) to a chalet bungalow in Herne Bay, Kent - "a geriatric land where one is more likely to see dear old ones scooting around on electric-scooters than young lads on noisy motorbikes". The real message was in Kini's sign-off line that read - 'Uncertainty and hope fills my life at present'. I thought it would be therapeutic to engage him in a blog-to-blog chat.

Wheel-chaired and home-bound, in his cottage on the Kentish coast, Kini was able to network with a niche group of well-wishers through his blog posts. The last time I heard from him, very many weeks back, Kini mentioned about his intention to blog about his battle with CFS. He has read up, and heard from others, so much that he can put together a treatise on groping for a CFS cure. Kini said he had so much in his head waiting to be blogged, if only he could muster strength to tap the computer keyboard for more than some minutes at a time.

And now he has fresh complications, of having to cope with "what appears to be Parkinson's accompanied by a total lack of balance". In a mail to a common friend, marking a 'cc' to me, Kini writes, "my head is in a fog, not dissimilar to a hangover without the benefit of a good night out".

No, he hasn't tried Ayurveda, says Kini, in response to a suggestion by our London-based friend who knew of someone who had benefited from attending a clinic on Wimpole Street run by a doc from Kerala. Kini's problem is, the simplest of activity wears him down; even talking could be tiresome. And traveling to London from his home in Kent is no-go for Kini in his current state of being - "I can't cope with even a nine-mile ride to Canterbury through beautiful countryside".

On his CFS blog idea Kini may have things to learn from Derek Miller's blog in which the 38-year-old Canadian writes about his experience with colon cancer. I know of a friend of my son who chose to blog his experience in coping with metabolic bone disorder. Sanjay Dalal had kept his illness a secret for long, even from his close friends; he reckoned that "friends may distance themselves because they perhaps don't know how they can support someone during a time such as this".

This genre of blogs has its critics who believe that thoughts on one's ailment "should, ideally, have remained locked inside fevered heads". In response I can't do better than quote Sanjay on his reason for sharing his experience with friends and well-wishers - "Just knowing that they are there, and even occasional email and phone call, at times, is enough".

Retired Times of India correspondent, based in Mysore.; hosts MysoreBlogPark, a parking lot for a bunch of Mysore-connected bloggers; writes a Monday column for www.zine5.com
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Blogs, Friendship, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Author: GV Krishnan

 

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#1
Tanay
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September 1, 2007
11:49 AM

GVK Sir, I do follow your blogs and so am aware of another interesting character in your life, with whom you spent your initial days of your career, exploring new waters that too in a new land.

I know when you, would be thinking about those old days, some events would flash before you like bioscope pics. Those treasured moments.

Wish that Mr.Kini recovers soon and gets the strength to key in his experiences and share those through blogs. One suggestion in case, he is not able to do so, just call him and have a long talk/chat over the phone and you can pen those on his behalf incase he is not able to sit before the laptop/computer for long.

This would be a simple gift to recapitulate, your association with him.

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