Breaking Bones

As schoolboys, my brother Trishul and I came to blows more than once over some sibling squabble or the other.

Depending on the movie we had just watched, in the garden, we procured wooden lightsabers – indoors, the choice weapons could well be skin searing leather-belt ‘nunchucks’.

One evening, when I was about 15 (and old enough to know better), some long forgotten disagreement led me to leap furiously at Trishul… my outstretched foot flying in an arc toward his annoying head.

My body sailed over the sofa, my toes slicing through the air, my heart yearning for the satisfying crack of my foot against his plump cheek.

But being a smart boy, Trishul moved his head aside, of course. And like the coy animated coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons, I crashed down onto the hard mosaic floor with my hand crumpled beneath my breathless body.

Mama came in running, drawn by the loud bang, and sounds of a groaning teenage Putra mixed in with peals of nervous laughter from a confused Trishul – unsure if he should be thankful for escaping a kick in the face, or alarmed because his brother is dying.

I slowly sat up, my eyes moving between my Mama’s worried face and my slowly ballooning hand. Papa took one look at my hand and made for the kitchen.

Soon, my throbbing, swollen wrist was being wrapped in layers of ice and I was huddled into the back of our car on the way to the hospital.


An anonymous medical officer looked up at the images of my wrist on the glowing x-ray box in the emergency department in Penang General Hospital. I sat on a blue plastic chair nursing my injured hand and considering that kicking Trishul across the sofa was perhaps not my wisest move yet.

As it turned out, the bulbous swelling on my wrist was just a hematoma – a blood clot under the skin, but one of the small bones in my middle finger was slightly cracked.

There wasn’t much treatment needed. I could go home.

Time healed my fractured finger.

..I’d say I got off rather easy.

But as I fix broken bones with plates, nails and screws now, I remember that evening almost half my life ago.And think that things could have been very different.

Note: Some dates may have been changed to protect the author’s vanity 😆

Originally written on 26 November 2020 in Quill Orthopaedic Specialist Centre, Kuala Lumpur