This weekend, as I sat by my mother, helpless to stop her pain from her knee replacement surgery I had a lot of time to think. Once as the nurses shunted me out of the room I walked the hallway of the acute car floor. There were diagrams of replacement knees and hips. Bionic parts for bodies worn out by age, accident or disease. Groans of pain coming from the various rooms I walked past brought me close to tears.
In an increasingly consumer-driven society, it is becoming easy to think in terms of replacement parts. In France they did a partial transplant of a face. What does the new woman look like? Partly herself and partly the face of a suicide victim. It makes me shudder and yet be wonder-struck.
I wonder where my mother's knee is now. What it looks like. This is the knee that she was born with, the knee that grew within her own mother's womb. She fell and scraped it as a child. She knelt on it for years, cradled sick children through the night on it and hurt it many times as she banged it or fell on the ice. It gave her so much pain that she consented to have doctors invade her body and cut out a part of her.
This makes me think of the Mount Mary Fair in Bandra. I am not from Bombay but the last time I was there, was right before the fair. Vendors in the area sell body parts. You can pick up legs, arms, heads, necks, even breasts. All made out of wax...palliative spiritual cures for any afflicted part. Wishes for cures come true at the Mount Mary Fair.
Maybe next time I go I'll pick up a wax knee in homage to my mother's plastic knee and pray that it works as well as the original.