Salim Kumar speaks about his disease and how he fought it
“Did Salim Kumar become slim? May be not.” This was the reaction of the audience after watching the movie, ‘Merikkundoru Kunjaadu’. Salim Kumar found relief by thinking that he wouldn’t have crazy fans like other actors. But, he gradually withdrew from films and television shows. Where was he when the guest rooms of audience showed his masterpieces? The viewers forgot about that period when he again appeared frequently in movies. Salim Kumar is in his home, Laughing Villa in North Paravur. He seems to be more energetic and happy than earlier. The actor is reminiscing about the 4 years’ interval in the conversation which discussed about comedy and literature.
Intervals; years of realization
I would like to describe the interval from film as years of realization. A routine visit to doctor led to the diagnosis of jaundice and ultimately liver transplantation. It helped me recognize the power of the divine, modern medicine, life, relationships, friendship and love. At some point, my thoughts attained more strength. Chronic diseases mustn’t affect us during old age. They should terrify us and leave when we are young. Then we will understand the value of expectations. I have led several disappointed individuals back to life during my favourable days. Those who accompanied me during the peak time of my career disappeared in my bitter days. New selfless faces appeared. Though I am not mentioning those who forgot and accompanied me, I am grateful, especially to Ramesh Chennithala and VD Satheesan.
One day, my family doctor recommended a liver function test (LFT) during a routine visit. That time, I was affected by jaundice. Though the LFT test was found normal, my health worsened day-by-day. I visited a number of hospitals and doctors in the following days. My journeys to the hectic world of cinema turned to hospitals, the refugee camp of harsh realities. My kidneys became even more stubborn and doctors told that kidney transplantation was the only solution. I chose to face those dark days with a smiling face.
The magical touch of Amritanandamayi
Sometimes, advice puts us in serious dilemmas. It was a time when I was overwhelmed by pieces of advice which suggested several places and actions. I ate grass more than a cow would do! The agents of natural healers began to rush to my home. Saints appeared to cure my illness. My condition worsened as I tried several types of herbal medicine. My doctors referred me to Amrita hospital in Kochi. There I was treated by Dr Sucheendran and Dr Shine. I prepared myself for the surgery when they also recommended a transplantation. They told me that the treatment would cost a fortune. I was advised to meet Amritanandamayi to get reduction in costs.
Next day when I was waiting to meet Amritanandamayi, my ego woke up. It wasn't due to the inferiority in seeking help. But, it was because of a sense of inappropriateness. The topic changed when she appeared in front of me! I requested to correct my age on the hospital register which was 10 years more than mine. She laughed and replied, “Don’t worry son, you get admitted to the hospital. Everything will be fine. We need you back.” Those words gave a ray of hope for me. The doctors and nurses would have thought that I am insane as I was cracking jokes rejecting their advice to mentally prepare for the surgery.
The most frustrating thing that I have experienced in those times is to be awake when the whole world was asleep. Itching and sleeplessness are the integral parts of ‘chronic liver disease’. All the thoughts on sleepless nights were negative. As no new space in my body was available for injection, the nurses started searching for my veins. They said: “We are lucky that we could treat a celebrity like you…we have treated famous persons earlier”. I was astonished to hear their names. MG Soman. Rajan P Dev, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Narendra Prasad, and Kochin Haneefa. They would have been shocked when I asked if I would be the next.
The doctors laughed by hearing my jokes in the pre-operation counsellings which were held before major surgeries. My demand was to see the theatre and ICU. I saw the theatre and ICU having unclear windows with confidence. I said to the doctor, “you must send a photo of my kidney on WhatsApp as I’m not able to see them”. I was shifted to a room three days after the surgery. My confidence succeeded.
Writing and business
It was certain that returning to my life, cinema is almost impossible. I couldn’t do the job which I knew and admired. I was disturbed of thinking about a new job. And, I started writing. I don’t even remember what I’ve written. I wrote a lot. Death was my favourite subject.
The people who visited me with fake affection and sympathy ran away when they saw the laughter and happiness in Laughing Villa. My neighbour Sreedevi taught me to make caparisons. I made 50 caparisons. My business flourished. I gifted one of them to Nadirshah on the success celebration of the film, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’.
Salim Kumar and Laughing Villa have becoming busy with his second entry to film which was made possible by his confidence. He is accompanied by wife Sunitha and children Chandu and Aaromal. He will soon publish his experiences in a book titled, ‘Eeshwara Vazhakkillallo’.
Please don’t kill!
The celebrities who haven’t been killed by the trollers in social media is very rare. Most of them are still alive! I don’t understand why they are doing like this. Such thoughts are really sick. A famous actor was killed in social media last day. He had to announce that he is alive through the social media. It’s really pathetic.