There are certain times in our life where an experience can completely change the way we look at things. Those incidents manage to shake us to our very core and bring light to several things that perhaps we were earlier unaware or negligent of.

Recently, Irrfan Khan came out and stated in a tweet of how he is suffering from a ‘rare disease’. He has asked people not to speculate adding that he himself will be sharing the details once test results show a more concrete cause.

But it was this Facebook post by Apurva Asrani, a Bollywood writer of critically acclaimed movies like Aligarh and Simran, that revealed him suffering from Bell’s Palsy, a rare condition that results in the inflammation of facial nerves, that struck a chord. It truly is horrifying in how it makes the illness real and something that can happen to anyone.

Apurva Asrani’s Facebook post:

Almost two months ago, I woke up with the right side of my pace completely paralysed. Fearing a stroke, I was rushed to the hospital, and after an MRI ruled that out, my condition was diagnosed as Bells Palsy—where the facial nerve is inflamed, causing loss of muscle movement.

What causes this is still a mystery, but they gather that it could be a viral infection. Stress is a major factor and god knows I had more than my share of that in 2017.

This condition is reversible, but it could take weeks, months or even years in some cases. Mine was accompanied by severe vertigo, and I couldn’t stand without falling over.

After taking antivirals, steroids and doing weeks of physiotherapy and acupuncture, there was still no thaw. One senior neurologist told me to be prepared that if there was nerve damage, I might never recover from this.

Fortunately after a harrowing month, the face finally began to thaw. Everyday there is a little progress, tiny little twitches that promise to grow into something more significant tomorrow. And I wait patiently.

I am certain that in the next few months, there will be significant improvement. But I have to confess that the fear has been indescribable. I have been unable to smile. To shut the right eye. To walk without falling, to eat or even drink water without spillage.

When I walked in the street and people looked at me, there wasn’t the warmth that I was used to. My face drooped to one side, one eye wide and unblinking, and my mouth twisted. I realised how blessed I had been to be able to smile, (it really can do wonders for you.)

And I learned so much about my ‘life’ on social media too. Every time someone saw my carefully shot picture, where I withheld the extent of my condition, they’d say ‘why aren’t you smiling? or ‘what’s that weird angle’? or ‘how strange your eye looks’?’ Many would go on about how not smiling doesn’t suit me, and I felt as though I was expected to oblige an ‘audience’ by baring my teeth.

And isn’t that the very problem with how we use social media today? We put our best face forward, post a pic that took ten rejected shots to make. Filters that took several minutes to tune. Then you see these pictures and think, so and so looks so good—all the time!

We big ourselves up, showing off our talents, our achievements, our rewards. ‘I got promoted’, ‘I bought this car’, ‘I went on that holiday’. You see these posts and think so and so is doing so well—all the time.

And there’s nothing wrong with posting the good stuff, the problem is that nobody’s sharing the shit stuff. The stuff that’s making us fall apart. The bad face days, the lost jobs. The loneliness. The fears. The failures. The ugliness.

Aren’t we all those things too?

And I wonder, if we were a society that didn’t set such high standards, wouldn’t life just be easier for everyone?

My heart goes out to actors and actresses, who project a perfect life, but are crumbling on the inside—unable to show anyone the cracks. We see them happy, performing for us, laughing, dancing for us, and one day when they drop dead, we wonder how this could have happened so suddenly.

Well it didn’t. It happened over years, while we were applauding their dancing, their spirit, their joys and encouraging them to smile for us.

(Posted a few pics from various stages of the illness)

Read More: Smelling Sounds And Tasting Colour: Demystifying A Rare Condition

apurva asrani

This post is extremely crucial and relevant in not only bringing awareness on a rare disease that can happen to anyone at any age but also takes a look at how social media has infiltrated the offline world too.

It is really scary as to what extent social media now controls us and has resulted in a paranoid generation that wants everyone to look and be their best offline too.

But it seems that people are forgetting that you cannot apply filters to smooth over the errors or do re-takes in the real world.

Also in light of the recent tragic incident of Sridevi’s death, and the subsequent revelations and posts from her peers who commented on how her life was not as happy as it was made out to be, this post by Apurva Asrani is really needed.

Perhaps this can help us understand the extent of pressure and stress celebrities are under to look their best not only physically but even put on a show of having the perfect, happy life in order to please their fans.

If us normal people only are judged and critiqued so much, then just imagine what the stars have to go through each and every day with tens and hundreds of sites and magazines analysing each stray hair.

Image Credits: Google Images and Facebook

Sources: NDTVFacebook, Hindustan Times

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