Priscilla didi and I had an interesting conversation yesterday. She runs a tiny parlour close to where I work and has the kindest smile which makes everything so much better. Her hometown is two hours further away from Guhawati and she moved to Bangalore after she got married. The conversation stayed with me and somehow I could not get away from it and it kept playing at the back of my head.She was a bit harassed today and the smile did not seem wide enough.
Me: Didi what happened?
Priscilla Didi: I called my parents, they aren’t too well, I will have to go to my native place.
Me: What illness do they have? Are both your parents unwell? How old are they?
Priscilla Didi: My father fell down in the bathroom and hurt himself. Mummy does so much work and won’t rest, both are weak and have no strength. My sister is falling ill taking care of them. They are both in their seventies.
Me: Do they have other health problems or only weakness?
Priscilla Didi: They don’t have high BP, cholesterol or anything else, just are always weak and old.
I shared the things I used to make for grandpa-(mutton bone soup, liver paste, drumstick leaf dal, ragi porridge etc) and told her to make a timetable and feed them properly at regular intervals. She said she was not sure when she would return to Bangalore, her sister was finding it difficult to manage both the parents.
She mentioned how they did not want to leave their native place and reside with her in Bangalore. She was also surprised how I knew so much and told me very few people my age would do what I did and that made me sad and happy. Unless we take care of the people in our lives, our lives will be robotic and empty, perhaps even meaningless and void. Love means standing by the people who mean a lot to you and helping them in their old age.
Suddenly all those years I took care of grandpa came flashing by in my head and images floated, he was such a sweet and considerate patient, I think taking care of him were the best parts of my twenties and I won’t exchange them for anything in the world.