It’s like being in a horror movie: Javed Akhtar on back pain

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By Subhash K. Jha
New Delhi
, Dec 5 (IANS) Last month lyricist Javed Akhtar woke up to the most terrifying experience of his life – simply put, he just couldn’t move. It was due to back pain and he is now on the road to recovery.

It happened on Nov 29 here.

Recalling the horror of having lost the power of his limbs Javed, now on the way to recovery at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre here, said: “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 realised 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.

“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,” he said.

He 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,” said the lyricist known for penning hits such as “Sandese aate hain, ki ghar kab aaoge” and “Ek ladki ko dekhaa to aisa laga”.

“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,” he added.

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.”

His wife and actress Shabana Azmi, who is by his side, calls it “a traumatic time for both of us”.

“Luckily Jadoo (Javed Akhtar) 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 doctors at the hospital and said that the two doctors, who are looking after her husband “are absolutely world-class”.

“We get the best medical treatment in India,” she added.

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