He was always around the last twenty five years and at times I have taken him for granted, so many precious moments slipped by without me taking care of him.
Dropping all my dreams and career plans I decided to relocate to Kolkata in 2010 to be with him, when I came here he was talking but in a pitiable state with the help hired to take care of him literally robbing him and almost leaving him to die, knowing that his kith and kin are not nearby. I decided enough was enough, to take care of him would be my responsibility and to bring him to his normalcy. I gave him warm water baths and massaged his legs and hands with oil, took care of all his medication and cooked food which he liked for him.It was tough because I did not know traditional Bengali food as in how to cook it and the nuances were tricky,but with the aid of elderly people’s inputs I managed to put up a 5 course meal for him.
This was just a part of the journey, the rest was challenging..My patience level is not the best and I am extremely short tempered when I am hungry or can’t do things perfectly my way and my grandpa often got snapped at or rudely spoken to and I never realised how mean I was at times.I was not trained to deal with an elderly stubborn patient who was diagnosed with Parkinsons and had Thalassemia and various other health problems and resorting to shouting made me feel better.Looking back I realise the amount of trauma I put him through, the hands that cleaned me when I was little and helped me to walk seemed to lashing back with a force that was unnecessary.
I complained about lifestyle changes..weekend outings were almost nil and my routine centered around him..I got selected meanwhile to pursue my MBA in other parts of India , but on his request to stay in his house I decided to forgo those and look for local options and stumbled into a local Management College in Kolkata which was the oldest and the best of the lot here in Eastern India after the prestigious IIM’S!!Cleaning him up on weekends and taking care of the house and all the activities were the things I did alongside my Masters.
I forgot to mention that day I started my Post Graduate Studies he was admitted to hospital for bone marrow testing and blood transfusion in 2011 February.
My journey was never easy because I was in alien environment and treated terribly in college because I was smart,could do all my assignments on time and did not have the time to socialise with the “POPULAR GANG” !! The torture went on till 2013 and B-school became a place where I survived because of some excellent professors and teachers who were my mentors and after graduating the people I could count on, they were my inspiration to not stop,to not give up or give in and my mom who was my anchor and pillar of strength despite the disagreements we had at times with each other.
Spending time with grandad,buying his favourite food items like icecream and chocolates,chips and soft drinks and sometimes a treat or two from the pastry store or locally made snacks at sweet stores and feeding it to him was a delight for me.He looked forward to me sneaking him food because mom enforced a lot of diet restrictions which I did not at times have the heart to do.
Relatives seemed to have vanished and the people he socialised with were mostly a group of elderly who met in the evenings at the local park.I was furious with people for treating him so shabbily and other than hardly 2 or 3 relatives , no one really cared any more about him.
My life seemed to center around him..At times of late I did not spend enough time and friends seemed to take a priority. I realised I could not handle the pain of seeing him fade away and I needed an excuse to get out of the house and step out for a whiff of fresh air!!
I wonder if I did right…I wonder if I could have done more…
His eyes at times seem to be full of pain, full of unseen thoughts reeling in his mind and unsaid things but at times he seemed to be at peace seeing me or mom around..
There’s more on this that I will blog.May be it might be someone else’s story in other parts of the world or maybe it might soothe someone taking care of difficult patients. Patient care is a very difficult task and every ounce of energy seems not enough at times and can leave you drained and fatigued, yet when your loved one depends on you,trusts you blindly can you turn your face and walk away from the same hands that nurtured you to grow up to be who you are today and worked hard to make sure your needs were all met!!
My grandad is my hero,my strength,my courage ,my mentor and my pride….Maybe I did not rise career wise the way I should have,but what did I loose by not choosing a better city or better job..Today I look back and realise I have gained a storehouse of blessings and wishes , memories that will stay with forever..
Twenty five years old and three of the best birthdays with him by my side and sometimes when people around you think you are not doing much, you realise what your doing cannot be rated by people because only few are privileged to be chosen by the ONE ABOVE to actually do it!! It does not require endurance and patience, it requires you to choose the path less travelled and that is not everyone’s cup of tea!!
I gained a storehouse of wisdom from this beautiful generation and learnt to live life at a slower pace!! It may sound cliche but that’s a learning from this, I think I have learnt. Taking care of a sick person who is unable to express everything and needs to be understood is a ongoing job and whenever I wanted to give up, a look at his face would remind me that running away would be the biggest mistake of my life!!