Monday, November 28, 2011


Today is Subhash's Mom's Birthday. Had she lived four more days, she would have finished 61. Happy Birthday Ma!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


WARNING: This is a long post. Please feel free to skip. This is more to document my thoughts so I can read them many days hence.

Subhash's mom passed away on Thursday, November 24th. She has left a void which I am sure we have not half assessed or felt yet. It will hit us gradually and slowly. Here is an open letter to her from me, I am sure she can never read it but I am hoping that she can read my mind wherever she is. RIP, Ma, you will be terribly missed.

Dear Ma,

I think of many things about you. It is a collage of thoughts, I cannot straighten them out.

I think of the time I wrote you that first email addressing you as aunty and uncle, wondering how you would take it.

I think of the time when you asked me what colour saree I wanted for the engagement and I said brinjal colour and you actually got me one.

I think of the time you got me that plate of food at our wedding without anyone seeing it so I could eat, since I was very nervous about going hungry till noon. This you did for me alone, while Subhash married on an empty stomach.

I think of the time when you were nervous about coming to the US, getting a visa etc, we used to talk everyday, several times a day.

I remember the joy I felt when I got you to the US. I was showing you our world, and I was quite happy I was able to come to India and take you back, I felt proud that I did the same for you like I did it for my own parents.

I remember you called us as soon as you reached Boston and were happy like a girl because you were able to see and meet Anna.

I remember your child like delight when we went to Disney. I see the pictures and I think, wow!

I remember how much you walked in Vegas. It seems so distant. We covered the entire strip many times in those few days.

I remember how you offered to help S with her wedding rituals when we went to LA.

A remembers you Ma. She says she remembers how you were the only one who offered to help her out with prasadam, when they had their housewarming ceremony.

I remember that yellow wool you got with you from India before leaving for the US so you could knit a sweater for me. You were not very happy with the finish (it was loose) but I always wore it (even to work) just because you'd always be so happy when I did. I am wearing it today (it is cold here, do you know) and wondering are you happy now too?

I remember those UNO games we all used to play and your child-like happiness when you'd win :)

I remember how you insisted I get a chain too when we went shopping for you for your birthday in 2007, exactly 4 years ago, to the date today.

I remember how happy you were that we were moving back. I am awfully glad that we moved back when we did, while you were still able to go around and travel.

I remember how you never let me do anything while we were in your domain in Hyd. Although you were not well, you'd never let me cook or do anything else. If you wouldn't be able to do it, you would arrange for someone to do it, but never let me.

I remember how happy you were when we bought this house and moved into it. I was so happy when we finally got you here and showed you all the renovations we did and when you said it was all so awesome. You were so proud of us! I don't know if I am happy or sad that we had to give you a farewell and send you on your last journey from this same house.

I remember how happy you were when you heard we were expecting. You told me it would be a boy. And I used to tell everyone confidently that it would be a boy. And when they asked me, I'd say, Subhash's mom told me so. Needless to say, they'd be puzzled. Well, we did have a boy!

I remember how you climbed three flights of stairs in spite of it being totally out of your physical power just so you could see Rohan quicker and not wait for the power to be back.

I remember how you arranged for most things for his pujas and naming ceremony. All we had to do was fly to Hyd!

I remember how you'd want to make so many things for him to eat when he went to regular school. I feel sad, you could never finish this dream. I am sure just like Anna and Thammu, Rohan would also have enjoyed your elaborate meal preparations for school's dabba.

I remember how concerned you were about my stressful job and how I had to manage the house, the baby and the job. I know the guilt always stabbed at you horribly. And I was helpless to fix that :(

I remember how you took it on you to do a lot of things which you didn't have to do, for people purely related to me and not concerned with you whatsoever.

I remember how you enjoyed being there for Rohan's major milestones, the naming ceremony, the annaprasana, the first birthday, the second birthday, the aksharabhyasam. We thought, the next and only thing left is the odugu, I wonder if you knew during that conversation that you wouldn't be there to witness that :(

I remember how you bought Rohan his first bicycle. And were happy that he loved it.

I remember how you always let me know whatever little compliments other people paid me. You never missed telling me.

I remember how you said, "You have done so much for me, I can never repay you". After this, you didn't say much else the rest of the days you were at home. You simply were not able to :(

There have been some really awesome times ma and some amazing memories too. You have done so much for me, I cannot simply wrap my arms around it to measure. There were some moments of friction towards the end in the last year or two, but I am glad they were not so big as to glare in the radar. My fault at most times, I admit. I should have adjusted more. I am sorry I did not. The other day, during our last conversation, I forgot one most important thing. To say sorry for all the times I might have hurt you. But now it is too late for it. I hope you can receive my apologies now wherever you are.

Everyone was around you when you finally left. Except me. And Rohan. You didn't want me to see you going. Or maybe you figured that I didn't want to see you going and being the understanding person that you always were, didn't let me go through that pain. I came and saw you, peaceful, detached, finally away in some happy place, far away from all the troubles that beset you here. I hope you will come down once in a while to watch over us. And give us advice in your own way on how to do things or what is best.

RIP Ma, we will all miss you terribly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A good conversation

Today, I went to the hospital to see my mother in law. The docs have been saying we should remove life support and let it end. I let my father in law and my mother in law's sister go down and when I was alone with her,  I held her one eye open, pressed my face close to hers and told her not to worry I will take care of Naanna (Subhash's Dad), I will keep him with me and look after him, you go happily, don't worry and she actually nodded and there were tears in her eyes!

I was surprised and that is putting it very mildly. Then I told her since you are not opening your eyes, everyone is assuming you cannot hear, but you are able to see, able to hear and able to understand right, and she nodded her head once again. The tears continued to stream.

Then I called Subhash and told him to come up since she was responding to what we were saying. Everyone asssumed she was lost and can't hear what we are saying. He immediately came up and talked to her too. We asked, do you see who this is? Thammu (they call Subhash that amongst them)  has come, and she nodded again. And he was surprised.

Then we told Subhash's brother and when he went back and talked to her, she responded to him too, apparently!

I told her a lot of things, and asked her a lot of stuff, just like I would ask the son. When she cried, I said, "No, amma is a good girl and she must not cry, right", and she actually nodded again. And with this conversation, I suddenly found my peace. I got through to her. She could hear out what I had to say. She was not really lost already after all, and we could still give her some comfort, some parting thoughts, something at all.

I asked her "Shall I go now, I need to go and cook for Naanna" and she was not nodding her head, she wanted to talk, she started moving her lips, at one point a slight voice escaped her throat. I asked her, "What do you want to tell me", but she kept moving her lips and we couldn't make out anything she said. Whenever I said I'd go and come back the next day, she'd start moving her lips, as if asking me not to go. She never nodded her approval for me to go.

I told her many times not to worry about his Dad. We'd be there for him and look after him. I somehow felt she was worrying about him. I felt happy I had my conversation with her and that she actually could hear, see and understand what I was saying. Hopefully this will make her happy and peaceful too, just as it made me. I came back very happy today, I have not felt it in the past few days. And I am happy I was able to enable that for both the brothers as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pensive and sad

Subhash's mom has been in and out of ICUs for the past four months. She has had ERD (End stage Renal Disease) for the past 4-5 years and was going through dialysis. Since June though, she had become susceptible to a lot of problems resulting from other organs getting weak. We had to move her into ICU on Diwali and she spent two weeks in Manipal before coming home last Wednesday and we had to take her back the next week Saturday, after 10 days, again, since she was seeming lost to everything that day. Since this Saturday it has been a long wait for everyone. Waiting for some deliverance. Some conclusion. Some miracle. Today the docs have decided to move her back to the ward since they don't think ICU will help any longer.

How sad is this for her. I cannot imagine why anyone would think this an appropriate thing to mete out to her, even if it is God. She has always helped others in whatever way she could. I don't think she deserves a time like this. Yesterday I went to see her in the ICU, we called out her name several times but she didn't respond. I had hardened myself for the worse a few weeks ago, and still, I wanted to cry. Her plight was tearing at my heart. So many pipes and tubes and that oxygen mask on her face and she was just lying there, oblivious to everything.

Yesterday, when I saw her lying there, I remembered the first time I saw her, she had cut out this big watermelon for me, my mom and sis when Subhash took us home en route to a friend's place. Later, several years past, she told me, he had never got any girl home till then so she knew I must be someone she was going to have a long association with. She was always very active, hated sitting back and letting others work, always wanted to help and felt hopelessly guilty when she could not help in spite of wanting to because of her weakness. Today, I remember a lot of things about her, our long phone conversations, how she shared everything that bothered her all her life with me. My father in law would never let her say anything negative about anyone and so wouldn't her sons. So whatever she needed to vent, she did with her sister and all that and some more with me.  I wonder, is there something she wants to say to me now? I have no way of knowing. She already seems lost to us forever.

I am glad that in the past few days before she went back to the ICU, I was able to take care of her, show her that we all care for her, and try and make her as comfortable as possible. She was the best of moms to both her sons and she did so much, so willingly for them. I am glad we had the opportunity of giving at least something back to her, although it was very insignificant.

I am just praying for a peaceful time for her whatever might come in the next few hours and days.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One year!

Today the son finished one year of going to the daycare! Somehow always, these milestones make it look like time flies but this one took me by surprise. I was like "Has it just been a year?! Feels a lot longer!".

That is 52 weeks of staying away from mom for a few hours everyday. In this 52 weeks, we saw a few weeks of sickness, maybe 6-8. Not bad, I'd say :)

Coincidentally, it also means I finish 1 year in my new team and I have fallen in love with my job all over again, thanks to a few folks who make it feel worth the while to work hard and do a good job, one thing I sorely missed in the old team.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


A lot of my friends and family have been increasingly wondering how I am coping (including Subhash;)). Whenever someone says that, I actually think, wait a minute, what exactly am I coping with? Sure, mother in law has been in the hospital for two weeks now, Rohan has been extremely unwell for the past 5 days, Subhash has been unwell for the last couple days, maid has not been coming for 4 days now and so on and so forth. But whenever someone sympathizes, is when I actually realize, yeah, life is actually being tough this week with so much to do, not to mention work on top of all this.

But that is all not the point of this post. The point is that I don't realize or feel any stress till someone actually shows some concern for my condition ;) Which I think is a good thing. (Of course, concern sometimes tends to induce self-pity, which I hate to indulge in, but I have learnt to control it well over the past few years I think). I am very very thankful for the stamina I carry and **touch wood** lack of my own sickness this week (which usually is unavoidable when Rohan is sick, since he passes on everything to me). Heck, I am even managing to stick to my workout schedules!!

(Thanking my stars and hoping they stay stuck this way)