BichhaD gayaa har saathii dekar pal do pal kaa saath
Every companion gave me a few moments of company and left
Kisko fursat hai jo thaame diiwaano.N kaa haath
After all, who has the free time to hold a crazy man’s hand?
Humko apnaa saayaa tak aksar bezaar milaa
Even my own shadow is often weary of me
I had never heard a Hemant Kumar song in the morning, it was always kept for the evening. But when a mid 70’s famous couple ( a real-life scenario from Baghbaan) sings this song it evokes a sense of magical experience, mystical reverie and a painful reminder of living life without any support from your kids. This is what happened to me on a Sunday morning when I got this from a Whatsapp group. I immediately went to YouTube and heard that song which was picturized on Gurudutt from the movie Pyaasa. The song was Jaane Woh kaise log the jinke Pyar ko Pyar mila (I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated)
My mother called a couple of days back and told me that my grandmother is having juice from the stock which I had got when I was in my native place. She was in a happy mood and was talking about all the things my grandmother was narrating. A week back that was not the case.
It was a totally unexpected call on a Wednesday morning at 9.45am. In the past, I had such life interruption calls. I feared the worst. I had come from my daily jog and saw a missed call from my mother. Slowly she said these words “Grandmother is feeling weak and she is screaming “I want to go””. That spine chilling moment was further exacerbated when my mother responded to my suggestion that I will come, by saying, “You might not get leave”. That was it. In the next 60 minutes, my wife did everything to put me onto Über which started rolling wheels around 11AM. There are a lot of things which is unsaid when you say some things. I felt the deep-seated desire from my mother to get that support from me.
On my way, I spoke to my friend Kavitha and she gave me words of comfort and it was very kind of her. I finally made it to the gate by 1.30PM and noticed that the flight was delayed by additional 1hr. I had the opportunity to share the updates with my boss who told me to take care and a lot of other friends who chatted with me and wished me best wishes and take care. These are the moments as a species we feel the support of the people around us and it was further heartwarming to see at my place when I reached that there were scores of relatives and neighbors taking care of my mother and grandmother.
My indebtedness in gratitude knew no bounds as I experienced a sea of humanity flourishing all throughout the day. In the next few days, I got the opportunity to see our neighboring Doctor coming over and checking her pulse, pressure and giving us comfort that she is ok. Another lab technician came with the devices and checked her blood and provided the reports on time. It was time to meet a neuro Doctor in the evening to take advice on her mental health. Doctor through the investigative reports derived that in this old age there could be a case of delusions or what they call the false beliefs system appearing real and he administered a couple of medicines a small dose and slightly higher dose calm her and get rid of the fear. We thanked the Dr and the next couple of days we saw a good improvement in her condition. I took a selfie with my grandmother and I gave it an inspirational caption, my grandmother is a living example of someone who is “beating yesterday, every day”
I left my native place after a week. By that time she had started speaking to me and I set a new goal for her that she should be able to sit up, walk and attend the marriage of her youngest grandson. In the past when my grandfather was alive, I have always enjoyed setting up small goals for him and thankfully he lived till 101. The best time I had with her was when I brought her dairy milk and I slipped a small piece of chocolate into her mouth and without opening her eyes she once again opened her mouth for one more bite of chocolate. Next day I bought ice creams and stocked it inside our fridge and asked my mother to offer her in small measures in the next days. The question now she asked my mother is who is her grandson getting married to and right now as I write, it is still in pursuit. The best part is that the pressure is now back on her youngest grandson to find a girl and get married. That is a pressure worth going through for him. I am very happy that my grandmother is getting the ultimate love and attention reciprocated through my mother, sisters, caretakers, neighbors and a whole lot of family members. My grandmother and grandfather got married just before the year of independence and they lived dependent on each other for 64 years.
As Frederick Douglass says, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.
When I heard that Hemant Kumar song from that elderly couple it made me realize how lucky are my grandparents to have a daughter like my mother who is taking care of them and I am learning a lot of things from her. The way she is using YouTube to understand some of the ways to give personal care and attention to my grandmother was amazing. The way my mother is making sure that she does not give an overdose of medicine to my grandmother was incredible as that would have increased her fatigue levels and finally allowing me to give her chocolates and icecreams in a calibrated manner was very nice. It is getting to me how these facets of life are making me aware of how I need to evolve as a son for my mother.
After all, relationships are circular.