Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 9 - Kids

I had planned to take the kids to India this summer to spend time with my parents.  When I came back from my trip after sadhabhishekam, my girl asked me how thatha was doing.  I told her that he is getting weaker and have a feeling that he may not make it till summer.  She dismissed me saying that nothing like that will happen and once she is in India she will take care of thatha so well that he will be back to his normal self.

I showed the kids the sugarcane juice video on Sunday and they were surprised that thatha looked so different from the photos from January.  They couldn't understand how he became so weak. When I woke her up Monday morning with the sad news, she immediately had tears in her eyes.  She held me in a tight hug and told me "atleast paati is healthy.  Lets hold on to her."  My son just had a stunned look and did not know what to say.  He asked me if I had told Nattu and I said yes.  He asked what was her reaction.  I told him about the hug and comment about paati.  He then walked over to me and hugged me tight and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

I have to build on their memories of their thatha with stories about him so that they do remember him fondly when they recall him.  He was not like typical grandpa loving and caring.  He teased them and enjoyed when they got irritated.  He loved my daughter's non-stop banter and the way she cleaned the house with broom three times a day.  My interaction with my dad is what my kids enjoyed the most.  My dad, being a lawyer, loved to argue about any topic.  My discussions with him kept the kids entertained and they admired the way I was on par with him.  I may never win the argument but I was always encouraged to talk my mind.  While growing up, my dad always told my mother "it is better to discuss things openly with kids.  This gives them the courage to come and discuss issues bothering their mind. If we don't, they will do things behind our back."

Have to keep talking about my dad to my kids...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 8 - Dream Analysis

Remember my post about weird dreams I had last week.  I was discussing this with a friend at work and she gave me some insights on those.  She is from Trinidad and in her culture they are encouraged to remember dreams and discuss it over breakfast.  When I mentioned about the tooth falling out, she said it means that there is impending death in the family according to her culture. 

The ceiling falling down dream, she did  not know much about it but asked me to search on Google.  The first link that I opened said interpreted the dream as 'death of the man of the family.'  My dad is the man of the family for me.  I was quite disturbed by the findings but didn't know if it will come true since these were just dreams.

I think I kind of prepared myself because I never get such dreams.  I was wondering if something was subconsciously preparing me.  I was also amused that how my dreams have become westernized. I have never heard of such interpretations while growing up.  Maybe I never had these dreams for me to discuss about the meaning of it at any given time.

I read through my previous posts and cringed at quite a few places with regards to my grammar and sentence formation.  I am not proof reading any of these posts since these are my raw emotions pouring out.  I don't want to polish it before presenting as these are just for myself.  If I ever want to come back later and read them. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 7 - His last day

So Appa had been weak and fragile ever since he came back from hospital.  My brother never expected him to pass away yesterday because appa was fine and responding well in the morning.  My brother brushed his teeth and fed him his tea in the morning.  As he was giving the last sip, my brother commented like how we do to kids while giving their last morsel of food, 'Nammathu chamathu kutti yaaaaru...Neethan'.  My dad after finishing the last sip replied 'Nammathu chamathu kutti 'my brother's name'.  My brother said that he was all aware of what was spoken so never thought he looked like he was ready to say goodbye.

In the afternoon, the eye doctor had come to check on my dad regarding excess mucous coming out of his tear glad at night.  He prescribed some eye drops and left.  Then my dad went to take his nap.  My mom went to get his next feed ready.  When the male nurse returned from his lunch and touched my dad he felt that my dad was cold.  He called my mom and asked her if she checked on him.  She then called the doctor.  The doctor checked the pulse and said that it was very feeble and at a point where it cannot be revived.  His life slowly ebbed away. 

I am thankful that I got to see him in January when we performed sadhabhishekam for my dad and mom.  He was fine then.  Though weak he was still walking around with his walker taking care of his own chores.  It has been only 35 days and I am here booking my tickets again to go back home.  The image I have of my dad from January is so different from the ones I got over the past one month.  The deterioration has been drastic and I am not able to find any reason for it.  Maybe he had nothing else to hold on to and was ready to go.  This one month was his way of preparing us for his final journey.  I am happy that he did not suffer much and his end was quick.

It will be different this time when I go home and not see him in his room.  Have to see...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 6 - And...

my Appa never woke up from his afternoon nap today. His end was peaceful just like my paati. 

I kind of felt about this but my brother said he never expected it to be today.  He said that once the antibiotics effect wore off, Appa would improve gradually back to normalcy.

It hasn't kicked in yet for me.  Have to see..

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 5 - Sugarcane Juice

My dad simply loved sugarcane juice. While growing up we never ate out much. Eating out was only at weddings or family functions.  Restaurants were very rare. Maybe when we travelled. Even then idlis and curd rice were duly packed.

There used to be a trade fair put up at island grounds every year. We visited it every year and that was one of the times my dad accompanied us. He would indulge us with cotton candy or roasted corn. The highlight was always sugarcane juice. He would relish every sip of it. The pure joy on his face is forever etched in my mind.

When he visited me here, I got him sugarcane juice at the farmers market and that made him super happy to know that he can get it here too. Every time we went to the farmers market, he would start the shopping only after his fix of cane juice.

Now that he is able to drink only liquids and super weak, I wanted him to have his favorite drink. Asked my brother to get it from local shop and give it.  He was able to do it today and sent me a video of my dad having it. He was having such a hard time holding his head steady and taking sips from the tumbler. But when asked how it was he showed super sign with his fingers. Don't know if he knew he was drinking cane juice but I was happy to that my wish got fulfilled.

His health has deteriorated so much since the last one month. I met him end of January and at that time he was able to carry on with his stuff by himself.  Within a month he has become so weak. I just don't want him to suffer. He lived a very active life and on his own terms. To see him weak and dependent on others makes me very queasy. My prayers for him continue.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day 4 - Fruits

Appa always wanted us to eat fruits everyday. He would buy seasonal fruits from the fruit market and we always had the best of the season.  He never bargained, so the fruit vendor gave him the best pick. If at any time the vendor gave substandard quality, Appa never went back to the same person.

We were not that well off, but appa spent on fruits saying that he would rather spend on it than pay a doctor.  He would meticulously clean the pick of the day before dinner, cut it and portion it so that we had it after dinner. It was always his chore to prep the fruit before dinner.  Mangoes were his favorite. He took pleasure in slicing and dicing them. Removing the peel on some varieties and juicing and pulping others.  He always mixed mango with curd rice and relished it. We kids never understood the taste but that was his way of eating curd rice during mango season.

My cousins used to look forward to his visits during mango season because he got the best from fruit market and took pride on the pick.

One of the many traits of my appa that I follow is to have at least one fruit a day. I also do the same with my kids. There are at least three varieties of fruit I buy every week. I pack fruits for school and encourage the kids to choose fruits over junk for snacks.

Now that he is back from hospital, he is unable to eat solids. He is given fruit juices, tea, soup, rasam rice blended in mixer, kanji. I pray he gets better soon since his favorite mango season is right around the corner.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day 3 - Dreams

My dad is out of the hospital and back home.  I am not going to write about him today.  Instead I am going to write about my dreams. 

I do not remember dreams very well the next day but I do have a few recurring ones.   It is always like I am late for exams, I don't remember anything I studied when I look at the question paper,  I am naked in front of friends or family, I fail my exams miserably that others tch tch at me.  Well these are dreams I am familiar with.  Though they do disturb me, I have made peace with them.

For the past three nights I have been having bizarre dreams.  First night in my dream I was walking with my kids and I trip and fall down.  When I get up I notice that one of my front two teeth is not there.  There is no blood or pain, it just came out and I now have a gaping hole where my front tooth should be.  I look for my tooth all around and find it.  I fix it in its place like it is some sort of plug in socket and find out that the tooth is half broken and the other half missing.  I search for the other half but cannot find it.  My kids say that I cannot just fix it in its place, it needs to be fixed with glue else it will come out again.  I take out my phone to look at myself in the selfie mode.  Such vivid picture of the dream.  Felt very uneasy.

The second night in my dream I had just finished cooking dinner.  I notice that the ceiling of the house is sagging down due to excessive water in the attic.  The house does not look like any of the houses I have lived in.  There is no time to pump the water out of the attic and the sagging of the ceiling is dangerously low that it might give in any moment.  I see my brother in the kitchen next to the backyard door and ask him to take the dinner dishes to the patio table (see even in the dream I want to make sure that the dinner doesn’t go waste and I am forced to cook again.  Sigh! Fixing food for family sure drains me).  There is no time for me to join him as the ceiling is sagging between me and the patio door.  I ask the kids to come with me and as we get out of the kitchen the ceiling gives in and collapses.  When I tried to make sense of the dream I couldn’t comprehend how the ceiling was weighing down with all that water like a balloon waiting to burst.  It was so flexible stretching beyond its limit.  Couldn’t figure out what the dream meant to tell me.
Yesterday night dream was even more graphic.  I am driving with my son in the passenger seat.  I see two men standing on the median of the road.  The median is a grass patch not the concrete partition.  One man is scanning the cars for their inmates and as soon as he sees me he walks slowly in front of the car.  I am slowing down for an intersection anyway when I see this man walking in front of me at which point I stop completely.  I see him take out his gun, which is pretty big, and he starts to shoot at me.  He shoots four times and somehow misses hitting us.  I panic and pull my son close to me.  Seeing that the first man ran out of ammunition, the second man draws out his gun which is covered by a fresh baby diaper (don’t know what that means).  I can see why he did that because only I can see the gun while others on the road cannot see the gun as they see only the diaper.  He starts to walk in front of my car to get a good shot at me.  That’s when I woke up with a chill running down my body. I see in my dream that as I was pulling my son closer to me, he was in front of me.  When I went back to sleep, I tried to fix this mistake by pushing him behind me.  Since both of us are wearing seat belts, he is not completely covered by me.  I ask him to get down the leg space beneath him so that the bonnet will cover him from the bullets.  What and all the mind can do to ensure safety of our kids even in a dream and here I am fixing my dream even after waking out of it.

I still don’t get what these dreams mean.  I am pretty sure my mom would ask me to chant Hanuman slokam before bed to keep the dursoppanams away if I told her about these weird dreams.
Could the last one be due to the recent happenings in this country? Is it the after effect of reading too many WhatsApp forwards reiterating the different treatment towards other ethnicity?  Well, have to wait for tonight and I am truly afraid to fall asleep.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day 2 - One job at a time...

My dad was not a huge fan of multi-tasking.  He was a perfectionist and wanted things to be done neat and clean.  He always encouraged us to do our best and took pride when we achieved his standard of perfection.  When we did too many things at the same time or did a half-hearted job because we were rushing to get to the next task, he always said ‘one job at a time and that done well.’  I have heard this so many times while growing up that I find myself repeating it with my own kids when they rush through things. 
Once when I was multitasking in the kitchen and burnt a dish that I was cooking and was fretting over it, the kids chimed in ‘one job at a time and that done well.’  I couldn’t help but smile at the lesson passed on.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 1 - My bike saga

It is a new month and I had this idea of posting something everyday.  I am going to try.  I am going to write snippets about my dad.  He is in the hospital right now.  A lot of incidents about him come to my mind and I want to record them here.

Appa always wanted me to be independent.  He never saw me any different from my brothers and treated us all the same.  My mom does not know to ride a cycle and he wanted me to learn to ride a bike when I was 5 years old.  In those days we don’t just go and buy a bicycle.  It is expensive and we were not that well off.  We used to get bicycles for rent. It used to be 1 rupee for one hour. He rented a small one and ran behind me in our small narrow lane.  Remember, those bikes had no training wheel.  He would be behind me all the time holding the bike till I got my balance.  I would get distracted and would get reprimanded when I saw left or right and not straight.  I learnt to ride in a straight line in two days.  After that he taught me to make turns.  He would stand in one end of the street and my brother on the other side.  I would go straight in between and they would help me with the turns.  Finally I mastered that too.  Then my appa taught me how to start the cycle by myself.  Finally, once I mastered riding by myself, my dad got a hand me down bike from one of his friends.  It was so old and rickety but I was so happy that I had a bike of my own.

I used to go to school in a rickshaw.  The rickshaw wala used to pick up few more kids on the way to school.  One of the kids picked up after me was always late.  Sometimes she would wake up only after we reach her house.  This delayed us getting to school on time most of the days.  I used to get late slip for no fault of mine.  I complained to my parents.  They spoke to the rickshaw wala but things did not improve.

One day, when I was in third grade, I told my parents I would rather walk to school than to go late.  My school was a good 1.5km from my house.  Walking would take about 20 mins. There was a busy intersection that need to be crossed to go to my school.  My dad told me that I can go by bike to school.  My mom was surprised by his decision and told him that I was too young to drive by myself all the way to school.  But my dad said, ‘she will manage.  Don’t worry.’  I was super thrilled.  I biked to school from then on.  I got down at the busy intersection.  Crossed the road and then got on the bike again. 

Appa always told me that when you are driving on the road, think that the rest of the people on the road are blind, deaf and are idiots.  You have to be careful when you drive.  Never try to blame the other person for your poor driving.  I always followed that advice and even today think about it while driving.

When I was 16, Appa got me the driving license for non-geared two wheelers and bought me a second hand TVS-50.  I was able to take my mom everywhere in that.  My mom was super proud that I could do what she could never muster courage to do.  I tried teaching my mom but she was super scared that she would hurt herself if she fell down.  My appa taught me how to clean the spark plug and how to maintain the moped.

When I got Sonu and Nattu their first bikes, it had training wheels.  They could ride by themselves and I was happy seeing them bike.  When Sonu turned five, I removed one of the training wheels and ask him to ride.  He was not happy and was having a hard time to balance.  I took off the other training wheel and ran behind him like how my dad did when he taught me.  Sonu was not happy to do all the work but I wanted to do what my dad did to me.  Sonu learnt to balance within a couple of days and then I worked on his turns.  It was so nostalgic doing to my son what my dad did to me.  When Nattu turned five I repeated the same with her too. 
My kids remember how I taught them to ride the bike and I am happy that I have made memories that they will carry with them just like how I still carry mine.