On this special day (15th May), I want to share a story about my dad......
A wedding in the family— I am excited for I hear my dad is coming to attend it. He is staying with me for a whole week— I can't believe it!
This was some 6 years back
The minute he enters the house he starts chatting with us non- stop….. for there are so many things to ask , so many things to share etc. etc. He is a real store – house of knowledge …. we have to just ask him something, and he would give a detailed explanation, amazing us with his intelligence, sharp memory, and great sense of humour. He would go back to his younger days and relate all the stories of how he met and married my mother.
Those days marriage was not a matter of choice …. it involved marrying for various reasons. Marrying within the family was considered to be best option for everybody. For example if your father’s sister had 5 or 6 daughters to be married it is the duty of the father to bring home at least one of his sister’s daughter as his daughter- in- law, this way he was helping in reducing the burden from his sister’s shoulders. Similarly an uncle could marry his own niece.
This was the custom followed for ages all over south, though now it is not so much in vogue, but still some people follow it . As long as it is not direct blood relation everything is okay. One can’t even think of such things these days.
Well my father married his mother’s brother’s daughter, (which is my mother). According to him he was given the choice of marrying any 1 of the 2 daughters, who were suitable for his age. But he was in a dilemma, for both were good looking, and it was up to him to choose. So he changed the names of the girls in their horoscopes and also changed his name in his horoscope, (because everybody knew everybody, the astrologer would not even bother to match horoscopes when it is in the family), so my father cheated a little and made him match the horoscope saying it was for a friend. Of the two only one matched, which happened to be my mother’s horoscope, and thus the choice was made. Another distant cousin married the elder daughter, in fact both my father and his cousin married the respective girls on the same day to save money. That was the way things were done in those days , one had to keep everything in the mind.
But, although my parents remained happily married for 49 years, they were the sort of couple who could never see eye to eye on any issue, and since my father had the dominating streak, what he said only prevailed. My mother although loved him deeply, she hated this attitude. He had jokingly revealed to her, how he made the choice of marrying her, and whenever my mother happened to meet that astrologer, she would tell him that she felt like tying him to pole and give him 100 whip lashes.
My parents life was full of ups and downs. Whenever my parents did get along, my mother would ask my father, to tell her the truth ….. that he married her because he fell for her , and he would always tell her it was not love. Now he is all alone, and he feels bad that he never told her how much he loved her. He said he could have told her that at least once, but he was too proud to admit that to her.
But I am sure she must have guessed it long time ago, but simply wanted to know right from the horse’s mouth. Now he feels her loss so much, that he would keep going back to the days when they were really happy, and he says they were made for each other despite their differences, that the universe works in mysterious ways, though he thought at that time he could choose between the 2 sisters, and tried to hoodwink the astrologer, he must have known deep in his heart that it was my mother he always wanted to marry.
This, coming from my father, now when my mother is no longer here to feel happy to hear it, was really moving. However this is not the first time I am hearing him say this, for I have heard this story many times from him, but only after my mother passed away, which was almost 19 years ago.
Well, this is just one interesting story about my father and mother, there are many, many more, but it would take volumes to write about each every interesting facets of their turbulent lives together.
Accidents and my father are made for each other, but he would never let such incidents bother him. He would pick himself up from the scene of accident, and bleeding all over, he would be back home in the same moped. Being a Pharmacy graduate he would know what medicines to apply and within 2/3 days he would be back to normal with not even a single mark or scar to show how badly he was hurt.
Even recently about 15 days back he was hit by somebody while he was travelling in his moped, left there to deal with it all by himself, and as usual he was back on his feet and came home riding the moped with lot of pain everywhere in his body, saying as usual his time is not all right: that he must have troubled the fellow who hit him and went off, in some previous birth, and that it is all part of the game.......
Surprisingly not a single person has ever helped him during such accidents. Somehow God has given him the strength to pull himself up and keep moving without looking back.
Now the present:
For the last 1 year or so he has been suffering from Dementia, and recently he went out on his own and got lost. In his confused state of mind he thought he was going to Srirangam and caught a bus from somewhere for that from his house in Beasnt Nagar. He promised that he would not go far and insisted he be left alone to take his morning walk by himself. However, knowing his condition, my brother left about 10 minutes later to keep a watch on him from a safe distance, but unfortunately my father was nowhere to be seen. Worried, my brother searched all the usual places he would generally visit and found him nowhere.
His story was put in News papers, along with his photos, but we did not get any response for quite sometime. Another photo was put again in a Tamil News paper and this time there was a response from a person from Kundrathur, somewhere close to Chengalpeth.
Ali a 42 year old scrap merchant found him in a very bad condition lying near the road in front of the Mosque. Ali felt sorry for him, called a few friends of him and they all cleaned up our father, took him home and changed his dirty Veshti, got him into a clean lungi, bought some hot idlies and fed him. He was very weak, couldn't remember his name, only thing he kept repeating was "Srirangam". Since he is also deaf he could not understand what these good people were asking him.
Ali felt he needed medical treatment and immediately admitted him in the general hospital there. The next day, he saw our father's picture in the Tamil News Paper, and immediately contacted my brother, saying, his father was in the general hospital there. Ali, we only know his name, as that good man didn't even want to meet my brother, he just gave him the ward number, and told him to take his father home. Such good people are rarely found in this world. I think our father was lucky to have found such good person, who went out of the way to help him.
It made us wonder, how many of us would go out of the way and help somebody lying like a beggar on the road, we would not even give such people a second thought.
The help rendered by Ali would always make us remember him in our prayers, and also make us more conscious of people lying around in some helpless state like our father. Our father must have been roaming in that condition for days before he was found. We thank God for sending Ali like an angel to save our father.
In the hospital too he was well looked after not only by the doctors and nurses, but people coming to visit other patients in that ward too were very good to him, sharing their food with him.
My father when he saw my brother was so relieved, he started crying uncontrollably, like a child, for he has become a child.
This man, our Father, who is so educated, so intelligent, has been reduced to this state: no one should ever get Dementia, it is the worst condition a person can suffer.
He is back home safe and healthy, and he has been told very strictly, that he cannot leave the house alone.
We must thank our brother and his wife too, for taking very good care of him.
I can only say that, I am proud to have had such a loving and patient mother, and I am equally proud to have a such a wonderful father, who, may have been very proud at one time and still is, but is definitely a man with very good heart and a great smile and a positive attitude towards life.
Taken just 5 years back, my dad looks so fit and smart.