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To Appa,With Love

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by padmavathiv, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. padmavathiv

    padmavathiv Senior IL'ite

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    The entire world came to a standstill suddenly, looked like I was at the crossroads of life where every path ushered me to the dead end. The ambulance halting outside our home at the unearthly hour of 3 AM on that ill fated day of June 19th meant that the preordained had finally happened. Papa, dad, Pops, daddy, father…different ways of addressing one’s Prana-dhaatha (life-giver) on the physical plane- but I adore the sound of ‘Appa’ , the instant gush of selfless love , the enormous sense of security that the magical word evokes makes it irreplaceable. The deadly silence of the early morning was broken by the near and dear ones , some moaning, others wailing aloud as ‘Appa’ was brought inside to lay to rest in the huge hall inside of our mansionly house, the epitome of his sweat and toil , a saga of self denial for years. An earthen lamp was placed near the lifeless body as if saying ‘One’s tenure on earth is as short as the burning lamp’. Me , the young girl in frock stood there numb, disoriented ,dazed and frozen .

    That the doctors suspected something critical and talked about ‘Multiple Myeloma’ did not shatter my family at the outset, for those were pre-google days where information was not so readily available and we were still at the mercy of doctors to get the most basic of facts. The truth from the horse’s mouth came gradually that ‘Multiple Myeloma’ was a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow and the odds in favour of the victim’s survival was ten in a billion. Never imagined in the wildest of dreams that destiny had such gory plans for the sole bread winner of a modest, god fearing , middle class household. Myself and my two siblings had earned the name of good children from the elders in the neighbourhood , and often the target of contempt from their wards for being unfairly pitted against in comparison. The test for the so called goodness now came as no less than an agni pariksha (baptism by fire).

    From the lifestyle of carefree school/college goers to that of mature kids who had to stand by their parents at their greatest hour of need, the transition happened naturally, rather miraculously. We had to forego our childhood pleasures many a time, for which none of us showed the slightest trace of remorse, never ! Any ambulance spotted in vicinity of our place as we returned from school/college and our hearts skipped a beat. Being greeted by an ambulance packing off appa while coming back from school became a common occurrence. The stoical composure with which my dear amma handled such grim situations and served her children with utmost dedication and love is a lesson etched in our hearts forever and even today helps me deal with tough to crack posers in the corporate world or personal front. Not to mention the ever smiling demeanor of appa often concealing the deathly pain beneath a witty pun, a oft-repeated story and so on. The evening strolls clasping tightly his hands and endless hours of daily banter are my most cherished moments when I would get a chance to sneak peek into the innermost recesses of his mind.

    Those were also informal training grounds where I imbibed from him the significance of education, continuous learning, a firm value system and many other things. Appa always adopted a moderate approach , ensuring that his children struck the right balance in everything . He willingly took us to every Amitabh bachan movie on the first week of its release and amused us with his high decibel whistling when the Super hero made his grand entry! To keep the kitchen fuel burning appa did attend to work for four long years with the cancer stricken body before he became hemiplegic( partially paralysed), a record break worth mentioning in Guinness! Pangs of guilt disturb me even to this day when I think that he could have lived a few extra years , had he not forfeited his physical sojourn at the altar of filial duties.

    Me and my brother took turns and donned the roles of a nurse, barber, a physiotherapist in attending to appa and also tried to balance academics amidst all the mayhem. We intentionally decided to spare our kid sister from the ordeal, for she was too naïve to realize the weightiness of it all. As appa got admitted in Tata memorial hospital, Mumbai, I stepped into amma’s shoes for a while and began subjecting my hapless brother and sister to my culinary (mis)adventures! Still kids that we were, we thought death could never wield its wicked blow on the dear-most person in the family, who according to us had drunk the ambrosia of immortality and would surely stay with us forever.

    From the point where we embarked on this tortuous journey to where we stand right now is a roaring testimony to the fact that ‘GOD EXISTS’!

    And now, at this juncture in life, I slowly fathom … the uncertainty of the seemingly certain things, the importance of savoring every moment of life as it is, the futility of expensive ego trips in the grand scheme of things and last but not the least the need to love people around us unconditionally … Who knows what Mother destiny has in store for us!!

    And life just moves on …
     
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  2. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Padmavathi
    A touching tribute to a father in an awesome, soul-stirring language. I lost my own 'Manni' (my elder brother's wife) to this dreadful disease at a young age of 36 in 1978. She was ravaged by the disease and yet bore it with such dignity. She never showed her pain when people were around and never sought sympathy from anyone. She knew that she had a terminal ailment and was mentally prepared for her end though we shuttled from temple to temple praying for a miracle. We did not know that the deliverance from all her pains could be the only miracle in her case but it took four long suffering years to happen and release her soul from her frail body.

    Your appa working for four years with the disease slowly eating him away is a story that should be etched in gold. Inspiring stories need not be always the 'rags to riches' ones. In fact, stories such as your appa's inspire us a lot more and teach us what is living for others is all about.

    I am burdened by the story of your appa's physical sufferings but am also overawed by the ideals that he stood for. I have no doubt his spirit will continue to guide you and your siblings in all your endeavors.
    Sri
     
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  3. padmavathiv

    padmavathiv Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sir,

    Thanks so much for the wonderful comments. It's almost an year since i posted in IL and after this long a gap ,to get reply from a person whose writings i am a great fan of is really heart warming.

    As you rightly said, people like my father and your manni are the real role models and heroes of life worth emulating! That your dear manni left her mortal coil at such an young age makes me really sad. May her soul rest in peace!

    Regards
    Padma
     

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