Dadi, as I fondly called her, was the only surviving grandparent I had during all my of my conscious young age. Also being one of the few living truths on how the world used to be 80 years back. The kind of emotional strength an 80 year old provides you is unexplainable. Most importantly, the irrationality that used to be reflected back at me from my parents was perfectly absorbed in case of Dadi. Coming to think of it, I would have had quite an extreme amount of different experiences and behavior patterns if it were not for her being around when I needed her the most.
My age group was just that – my age group. Back home, Dadi was almost two generations ahead of me and suddenly that added a different tinge to the whole thing called life. Humans imitate and I did that to a certain extent, often questioning why I did so. Reasoning abilities get built better when you practice, falter and then ponder. This virtual school around me was just because of her and I guess should be around most of the kids if they live with their grandparents.
It was the late summer of ’96 when Dadi had a massive stroke one early morning. I was in school and my mother (all alone) managed to get her to our family doctor and then later to the hospital. After noon, I was ferried from school straight to the hospital to start her 2 month long stay in the ICU. My on calls during nights there was an experience of my life (I remember doing the night stays only during three Saturdays basically because my school would be off on Sundays). Looking closely after her, I often asked her if she remembers me and how much of the whole thing affected her. I am not sure if she just braved it out, but she showed up unshaken and chuckled at my stupid questions. At times I felt that it’s rather Dadi looking after me in the ICU when she would ask me if I had food and if I felt sleepy. It gave me a great feeling and a good lesson of how not to lose the battle ever.
Most of the doctors there had given up then and my heart used to beat harder when I would sense something strange. The extreme will power and the fact that she was in control of her life, led her out of the crisis (along with a lot of Deriphylins, Neurobions and Sorbitrates). My take away from the whole episode was a peek into the life of a Medical College, getting to know how to operate on a defibrillator, a sphygmomanometer, an electro-cardiogram, how to deal with a stopped heart (both inside and outside of myself) and many more ICU specific stuff. The best lesson being – the game ain’t over yet. (There were two instances I remember when the doctors had to bring her back and it made me feel light in my head when that happened).
Six years thence, I was packing bags for Bangalore and was rude to my grandmother – a heartache I shall carry forever. She hated traveling out of Lucknow and was being forced to travel to Jabalpur (since there’d be nobody in Lucknow to take care of her). She insisted on being left alone than going to Jabalpur. This irked me – little did my selfishness knew about the emotions her neurons were knitting out. She did travel to Jabalpur as I went to Bangalore to carve in my own handwriting.
It was not until the end of my second semester in 2003 that I could visit her in Jabalpur and see how badly she wanted to go back to Lucknow. She wanted me to take her back, but my trip was just a visit and I had no plans of removing her. My mother was in Lucknow; unjustifiable for her to take care of Dadi alone. Some how, my heart gave in to her pleas and I went back to Lucknow to persuade my mother to bring her back. With much ado, my mother agreed.
Five years before the time of my writing this, I got a call from my father spelling out “no more”. Though it was a minor injury that she had on her head and knees due to falling down in the bathroom, I know that it had more to do with my irrational decision of sending Dadi back to Lucknow that weighs on in her death. She could have lived much longer if the incidents had not taken place in the order they did. The probability of her falling down in the bathroom in Jabalpur was far lesser than her doing so in Lucknow (the floor design being older in Lucknow gathering much moss in lesser durations). Even so, her being taken good care of by two people in Jbp would have been better than a single person (my mom) in Lko. Further, the ass**** who put stitches on her head would have never been able to do so in Jbp (for the mere fact that he would not have been there) – which is a primary reason of my suspect of a blood clot (in her head) and infection leading to her end.
Chandravati T. was Dadi’s name.