Saturday, April 5, 2008

How could I be so blind???

Mom has been so unreasonable lately. She has always been a strong willed lady but now her irrationality knows no bound. She wasn’t like this earlier.
Me, Dad & Ma
Most of the times I listen to her, sometimes I fight and sometimes I ignore her inane demands. So do my brother & sis in law.
But my father…God knows where does he get the strength from to fulfill all her whims & fancies. Her latest one being ‘she feels creepy in her house’ and wants to move away! Dad built a dream house brick by brick on top of a small hill. Huge sprawling mansion! He spent all his life trying to save up for it and now she wants to move after so many years of living there!
We knew Dad would reason with her as he is the most practical person I have ever known.
But all he said was ‘she doesn’t feel right here, we will move’!
I was stunned with disbelief.

He said to the three of us ‘we will just move for a few months, coz that's how far it looks like she will go’. We all knew it in our hearts but this is the first time anyone ever admitted it.

She has been on dialysis for past two and a half years. Thrice a week now. Every week. Paralysis, diabetes for 30 years and other treatments have left her almost bed ridden. No bowel control, kidney function and constant indigestion has made her so dependent. She has practically lost her eyes/vision. Dad hasn’t left her side in past 2.5 years even for a single day. He takes care of her like a baby. Cleans her up like one too.
I did’t understand how he did it all with a smile and never complained. I just didn't get it!
There are days that she fails to recognize him. She doesn't recognize any of us. There are days she humiliates him in front of everyone. She screams. She blames him. Then there are days she just holds him and cries uncontrollably.
On one such day we all got talking and she told us how they fell in love. How she wrote a letter to her mother saying if she wasn't allowed to marry my Dad, she would jump into a well. Dad laughed and said ‘there was no well in the city’, grandma fell for such a white lie!
I am back in Mumbai now. Going through all the old photographs.
I looked at her pictures and tried to imagine how it must feel to be a person who was once pretty, healthy, self reliant and now is completely dependent on others.
Somehow I started sensing something which I should have realized long back. Something about her and Dad.
This is the woman he fell in love with! So what if she can’t walk today. So what if she can’t see. So what if she looks all skinny and sick. So what if he has to clean her up in the middle of the night. So what if she gets cranky and humiliates him. So what?
(Mom at her baby shower)

For him she is still the woman he set his eyes on and fell so madly in love with. She is the mother of his children. She is the one he promised to be with in sickness or health. She is his soul mate he spent the last 35 years with. They saw each other grow. They have known each other since they were teenagers. They have loved, fought, made up a million times.

How could I not understand this??

We have a tradition of getting our parents remarried (with each other of course :) when one of them reaches the age of sixty. My brother and I took charge. From sending out invitations to taking care of all the guests to getting our parents married all over again to giving our mom jewellery (just like a new bride gets). We did it all! Dad was so proud of us and she blushed like a young bride. They still had butterflies when they held each others hand…even after 30 years of marriage.
How could I not understand this???
Time has stood still for him. He doesn’t know how it has flown. He just can’t see the difference you and I see. For him it’s just yesterday he moved into my mom’s building, saw this girl, asked her out, she said yes, they fell in love and suddenly today Doctors say ‘she doesn’t have much time left’!


For him, it will be a loss way beyond I can even imagine.
How could I not understand this???
How could I be so blind???
So much love between two people in my house and I never saw it. Really wonder how? Maybe that was the beauty of it. Never said….never spoken…never exhibited….just felt.

(PS: She passed away on 7th Nov 2008, a month after she met her future son-in-law. She said she was waiting for him.)


  1. yes..sometimes ,rather more often than not we miss the wonder around focused we are on the irrelevant..hope aunty's feeling better...

  2. we always choose what we want to see. what is apparant to the eye is never appealing. we are habituated to hunt, seek, search and then feast our eyes on the so found truth. i guess probably thats why many times we never see the emotions in our own homes, stories of our own lives, subdued words striving to reach our ears, noises from our own backyards, touch of our own family members.

    This is not because we are bad people at heart. But because we are so used to having these things around us that we do not see any great deal about them happening around us. We are so used to dad taking care despite all odds, mom waking up whole night beside our cradle despite her ill health, granny running behind us with food in her hand so that she could feed a morsel despite her arthritis.

    But the day, you see this not happening; is the day when you realise the effort that had gone in making it happen efficiently for all these years. And that is the time when you realise the stories, emotions, love, bonding which was yet undiscovered..

    I have gone through the same thing as you are going now.. hence the resemblance made me tick my fingers on keyboard as soon as i read you.

    Sudhir Relwani
    99201 79029

  3. Hi
    when i read your mail there was a sudden need to talk to you and tell you that you write really well. I could connect to your feelings and really really felt so close to what must have happened in real.
    I must admit, it was one of the best article i have ever read so far......!!

  4. I think you write really well. To read about what you have written is just something that I have seen in the recent past with my grandmother and Piya's grandmother too. Both of them passed away recently and I know what it feels like but it was better to let go of them rather than hold on to them for our selfish reasons of wanting to be with them physically forever. I think they are with us always even now that they are no longer with us in the physical sense but with us in our hearts and minds all the time. It is not always possible to see the love that one gives to one's beloved when you are in the same house or environment and you think it is something that is routine and not something that is unusual or special. May your loved ones always be beside you.

    Take care,

  5. hey i know what u mean by blind, my sisters husband went thru the same trauma of dialysis etc, my sister suffered with him and worked day and night to cover all the medicine costs, i did what all i could, now he is no more, but yes i understand and feel blind too for not seeing the love they shared, i ended hating my brother in law for what my sis was going thru. what your dad is doing is amazing --- hats of to him! take care. rahul.

  6. Hi Vandana-and isn't that the way love should be......ur parents are great examples of what true love is all about. Silent, caring,strong,being there when it matters.....God bless for sharing their love -wish we all could take a leaf out of your father's book of love

  7. Mam,
    Exactly what I had in mind and was thinking of writing...but I guess I cud never have expressed my self in the manner you did....

  8. Hi,

    Just came across your blog when browsing through and I feel we have a common friend since I come from an advertising background too.

    That apart, I think you write well. Heartfelt. Comes across as real. And the above post is so touching, esp for everybody who is in love, its such an eyeopener. Love is so much more than romantic love. No wonder marriage's today dont work out, i dont think anybody has that kind of patience (like your dad) to cultivate a maintain love and build it into a strong life long bond. really liked reading your posts and hope to read and comment on them... :-)

  9. Thanks for the read Kasturi and your comment. I am glad u like the writings. Who could be this common friend we have? Just sure we will have some as advertising is such a small fraternity :)

    I just saw your blog, it got me in the musing mode too :)

  10. I think it's Biju from Mccann,i was in servicing there for a while, she used to mention you, guess you guys were in JWT together...i think you are the same vandana

    And glad to have got someone else apart from me into musing mode on my blog :)

  11. Oh yes, Biju is a dear friend :) am reading ur posts...they are short, crisp and from the heart :) especially the 'intellectual cinema' post. Will comment there separately.

  12. yeah I kinda figured you were the same vandana, she had mentioned your surname and also shown me some of your wedding wala snaps :) advertising is a small world and biju is a good friend too, though am really bad at keeping in touch and have lost touch over the last year, but i do keep in touch with her through FB... and thanks vandana, the bit about my writing sounds real good to the ears
    :-) i really write more for self and anybody reading it is always a bonus!...but looking forward to reading your comments :)

  13. Hi Vandana. I kno u might haven't forgett me. But I was not a famous boy those days. I read your post " How could I be so blind???". And without any doubt i goes through ur all posts. U are such a courageous girl. God bless you. My best regards.

  14. Our parents, what they don't do for us

  15. and how we never see it till the very end


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