You are a cork floating in ocean but in cradle of nature: Irrfan on cancer

Opening up about battling “high-grade neuroendocrine cancer”, actor Irrfan Khan says he has fought his way through pain, fear and uncertainty to find a belief in the “intelligence of the cosmos”, irrespective of the outcome.

The 51-year-old actor, who went public with the diagnosis on March 8 this year, has been in London for treatment.

In a note to The Times of India that he shared on his Twitter account today, Irrfan said he got to know that the disease was rare. Due to the unpredictability of the treatment and few study cases, he was now a part of a “trial-and-error game”, the actor said.

Irrfan said it felt as if he was a part of a “speedy train ride” and suddenly someone told him to get down, signalling that his destination had arrived.

“The suddenness made me realise how you are just a cork floating in the ocean with UNPREDICTABLE currents! And you are desperately trying to control it. In this chaos, shocked, afraid and in panic, while on one of the terrifying hospital visits, I blabber to my son, ‘The only thing I expect from ME is not to face this crisis in this present state. I desperately need my feet. Fear and panic should not overrule me and make me miserable’,” he wrote.

Irrfan said the pain became so intense that things stopped making sense for a while.

“Nothing was working; NO consolation, no motivation. The entire cosmos becomes one at that moment just PAIN, and pain felt more enormous than GOD,” he added.

The actor said it took him a while to realise that his hospital was on the opposite side of the Lord’s cricket ground, “the Mecca of my childhood dream”.

The actor said he was jolted by the peculiarity of seeing the hospital and stadium on opposite sites.

“I was left with this immense effect of the enormous power and intelligence of the cosmos. The peculiarity of MY hospital’s location it HIT me. The only thing certain was the uncertainty. All I could do was to realise my strength and play my game better.

“This realisation made me submit, surrender and trust, irrespective of the outcome, irrespective of where this takes me, eight months from now, or four months from now, or two years. The concerns took a back seat and started to fade and kind of went out of my mindspace.”

Irrfan said he had come to experience “freedom” for the first time since it was diagnosed that he had cancer and it felt like an “accomplishment”.

“…As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it. My confidence in the intelligence of the cosmos became absolute. I feel as if it has entered every cell of mine. Time will tell if it stays, but that is how I feel as of now.”

He said said he had found strength in the prayers of people known and unknown to him, which had filled him with “wonder, happiness and curiosity” and a realisation that “the cork doesn’t need to control the current… that you are being gently rocked in the cradle of nature”.

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