To Hell And Back | Flash Post 423
Button, I thought of saying goodbye to the family on the night of the incident.
You mean that evening when the prawn got stuck in your throat.
That’s the one. I make a serious attempt at chewing my food and eating slowly but accidents come unannounced and when this slimy thing refused to pass down my gullet, I panicked.
Tell us what happened from the start.
We ordered some Chinese food and, as I had asked for vegetarian panfried noodles for myself, didi insisted I try just one sweet sour prawn. As I was about to cut it into smaller portions—the slimy cornflour-coated thing in a thick brown sauce kept slipping all over the plate making it impossible for me to pin it down so I could cut it into smaller bits before putting it into my mouth. As time passed and I had still not got a hold of the prawn, I refused to get bullied further and, catching the whole prawn with my fingers, slipped it inside my mouth and finally sighed in relief.
Relief that you had finally nailed it!
But the relief was short-lived because, after I’d managed to put the whole prawn into my mouth, it kept slipping round and round in my mouth making it impossible for me to grasp it with my teeth, chew on it and finally eat it. The family were almost done with their meal and were immersed in chatting about work-related issues mostly and had not realised that I hadn’t spoken a word in some time!
What did you do this time?
By now I had had enough and, without giving it a thought, swallowed it whole. That’s when I found myself choking. The fear and uncertainty of what I could do to dislodge it made me so fearful that I was soaked with perspiration. I tried telling the family about what I was going through so they could find a solution but not a word came out.
How did you feel at first?
That it was my last day on planet earth!
I coughed gently at first because I didn’t want to disturb the family finishing the scraps remaining on their plates and felt it was bad manners to take a napkin to my mouth and cough hard so the prawn could come out. But politeness in the event of an incident such as this can be foolhardy because when it refused to budge and I stood up to go to the toilet to try and cough it out, my legs felt like jelly and I was sinking rapidly.
It was the scariest moment I had encountered so far.
How did you manage to get it out?
On reaching the toilet, I coughed really hard and made a last-ditch attempt to eject it.
The family must have panicked.
How did Dost react?
Seeing his face reminded me of the time when didi was born.
What do you mean?
He looked helpless exactly like the time when I had a difficult first delivery and he’d sat in the same room, with panic written all over his face, completely lost and unsure of what he could do to help.