"Most people see things as they are and wonder why? I dream of things that never were;and say,Why not?" -- George Bernard Shaw
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Life is Unfaithful, One day it will leave you.
[I had written this back in 2008 but never felt like publishing it in Public. Since its been almost three years , i thought of publishing it now].
It was in January 2003 (I was 19) that i entered the ICU (Intensive care unit) for the first time in my life. Actually it was called CCU (Cardiac Care unit) in the first floor of mallya hospital Bangalore. That was my father's first attack of pulmonary edema. This was my father's first major cardiac related hospitalization after his By-Pass operation in 1993. It was a very strange feeling . He had pipes all around his body and was looking a bit scary. I was seeing someone in such a state from mere 2 feet distance for the first time. To be frank, i did not want to stay in the hospital since i was actually very uncomfortable and a little scared. I had strange feeling of the idea of death, disease etc. Later of course i went to the cellar of the hospital and sat on a sofa all night.
The next day was strange in more than one way. I returned to the hospital only in the evening and was planning to stay back there for the night. That day i had a company. A middle aged man may be in hislate 40s who had got his son to the hospital a couple of days backsince the latter complained of chest pain. He was a jovial rajasthaniwho had actually come for his son's CET exam. We had a nice chat. Hewas happy about his son's recovery. He said that his son would betaken out of the CCU the next day. Within an hour's time he went offsomewhere and i sat on the sofa outside CCU all night. I was all alone there outside the CCU in the night. Unfortunately, the 18 year son of the rajasthani diedaround 1:30 in the morning. I found myself in a weird situation. All night we were searching for hisfather who could not be traced till 7:30 in the morning. Once he cameto the CCU, he could not believe the sequence of events and he simplycould not control himself. The rest is the story of administration atthe hospital which is not worth writing.
The next day was even more eventful. I went home trying to digest ashocking news.Meantime my father had recovered and was doing well. He hadalso got to know the unfortunate event that had taken place last night. Ireturned to the hospital the next day afternoon. My father was doing fineand there was talk about his discharge the next day. I had a briefchat with him and came out and i was offered sweets by a lady. She hadjust become a grandmother. (At the mallya hospital, the labour ward is justnext to CCU). This was probably the strangest feeling i have had. Sixhours back, at the very spot there was an helpless man who had losthis son. Now at the same spot is a lady who is happy to serve doodhpeda (A sweet made of milk) to everyone there. This may sound very casual. People are born and they die, so what? Yes so what? That is the big question. Why wasthat very person die and why did this very person take birth. Why wasthere such a change in the atmosphere within 6 hours? The distancemeasured in absolute linear scale between death and birth was only 10meters (distance between labour ward and CCU). The time gap was less than 12 hours.
Anyways this was my first meeting with the phenomenon of death. As amatter of fact the first dead body i saw from a distance of less than3 feet was that 18 year old boy.
From 2003 to 2008, my father had many such attacks and recovered. He used tohave attacks at odd hours like 2 or 3 in the morning. But i was neverscared, he used to recover in less than 5 hours thanks to super-fasttreatment from Dr.Prakash, our Family doctor who is actually responsible for 5 yearextension to my father's life.
It was only on 7 February 2007, that i got scared again by phenomenonof death. It was around 9:30 in the morning that i got a call from my mother saying that my father is complaining about numbness and feeling verycold. My Parents had returned from gurvayur that morning. I was inthe library and i immediately rushed home. Father was standing near thegate completely covered with a jeans jacket. He said, we cannot waitfor the car and i immediately called for an auto. My father vomited closeto half a mug of blood in the auto.He was very uncomfortable. I had never seen him in that state. I had actually thought that that was theend. Never before was he so serious. Never before had he complainedabout absolute no sensation in both the arms. I thought that he would not survive till the hospital. That day, we did not get stuck at anysignal, the traffic police at a junction immediately cleared us seeing my father's condition.But as usual appa was up and running within 12 hours and he let me proceed with the tirupathi trip the next day.
Exactly one year later, 7 February 2008, my father was taken to Mallyahospital never to return home alive. From my memory, probably the 15days from 7 to 21 February was the most anxious days for allM.B.Brothers and family.( I was too young when my grandmother passed away andi cannot recollect clearly the mood in the family few days before herdeath.)
But this time my father was not in CCU but ICU. One floor above CCU. Fewdays before my father's death, another death happened one floor below, inthe labour ward. The death was of a baby which did not open its eyes.
How unfair the world is? What was the purpose of that baby's life? (was it togive employment to the doctor who operated on its mother or was it togive business to the companies which manufacture nutrition toexpecting mothers?or was it to bring some revenue to the hospital whichcan create secondary employment? may be or may not be it is a mixture of all this. i do not know.) . Five years back a happy lady had given medoodh peda at the very spot. Five years later i witnessed uncontrollable tears on another grandmother.
It was then on 21 February 2008 that the inevitable happened.There was a strange,weird and helpless silence around .
My father's life is the story of grit,courage, compassion and generosity. A mighty spirited man who fought an open heart surgery when he was 27 (In 1970, he traveled unreserved, standing from Baroda to Mumbai to undergo the surgery). That was followed up with a By-Pass surgery in 1993. He scaled Badrinath and kedarnath in 1999. With all that he faced in life, he was in absolute love with life. He never complained against anything and had no regrets in life. He was the first person to offer a helping hand, at times at the cost of his own health. He was known for his generosity. No one who came to him asking for help in cash or kind were turned down. His spirits were so high that even in his death bed, when he got the news that my brother will be flying in from America to see him, he sent a note to me to ask my brother to get few bottles of whiskey . When i enquired him if he wanted whiskey in his present condition, he said it was not for him but for his Brother and few of his close friends.
At the end of the day, for how much he loved his life and how much others loved him , few lines written by the Hindi lyricist Anjaan will be the perfect tribute to the life and death of the great man
"Life is unfaithful, one day it will leave you
Death is a lover, it will take you with it
The one who will teach the world
How to live after dying
will be called the king of destiny, my dear"
[This Experience made me to write another blog long back in 2008. Read it here]