Friday, May 15, 2015

94 Years Old: Happy Birthday Dear Father!!!!

On this special day (15th May),  I want to share a story about my dad......
This part is a re- post.
 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 When he had come to attend the wedding

 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 about 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.
Last year he was a victim of a hit and run case. While he was waiting on  his Moped for the signal to change in mount Road in Chennai, an impatient, fellow riding a motor cycle, hit my father and  went away leaving my father badly injured and bleeding right in the middle of the busiest road in the city.
People around him came to his help and he was admitted to the general hospital there. Although he was wearing his helmet, he was badly  injured, and some part of his brain had been affected, and soon he slipped into Dementia.

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, 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 him by his name, for 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 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,  during our daughter's wedding. My dad looks so fit and smart.

Happy Birthday Day Dear Appa!


  1. Oh for some reason I was remembering him a lot today and about the many incidents. Best wishes for him on this special day, my prayers and thoughts as well.Convey my greatest regards to your brother and his wife, they are remarkable!

  2. Your posts are so natural that i identify myself so much with them.The marriages were same everywhere in those times, yes I read about your father in news paper, just didnt know he was your father.

  3. Please convey my happy birthday wishes to your dad. Mr. Ali is a saint. Your brother is a devoted son. I wish every son is like him.

  4. Hey, Happy Birthday to your Dad.

    Your post featured at Whatsurhomestory brought me to your page. My dad had dementia. Luckily it was identified at the beginning and a medication called exelon (made by novartis) helped him to great extent. Give it a try if you havent tried, ofcourse after checking with doctor

    Your dad is blessed to have a devoted son!

  5. Thank god your father is back home! Ali is great! As you said, we wouldn't have helped anyone like him.

    My parents were not related to each other by a couple of her siblings were married off to their relatives. It was the norm in our country, in all States! Now, it has nearly stopped, I think.

    Our best wishes to your father. Your brother and his wife are great. It is not easy to take care of an old man who has got dementia. I can understand how much tension he would have gone through when he did not know the whereabouts of his father. Great people.

  6. I remember when he went missing Rama and it was truly a blessing and here you all celebrating his birthday. Wonderful to learn more about your family and the strong bond of love which you all share!

  7. Wow! Hearty wishes to your dad. My heart goes out to you. It must be tough dealing with the dementia.

  8. Unity among members spread delight in the family. All these posts are nostalgic and good reads. In our casts in Kerala(Nairs) cousins-brothers' and sisters' children used to wed each other,but not uncles.

  9. Hello Rama,

    Lovely header photo. It is amazing to see that you pluck coconuts standing on the ground.

    Over the years I have visited many blogs but I don't think I found even one post praising the father. Your post is an exception.

    I am very happy to see that your father is hale and hearty at this ripe old age. Surely he has good habits and took good care of himself.

    Excellent photos with your father and your house looks lovely, spacious and comfy

    Dementia is a serious problem and it is not wise to send him alone anywhere. I have a neighbor whose father, more than eighty years old, had dementia. Sometimes when I went for a walk in the morning I met him on the road and we chatted about this and that. Suddenly for many weeks I didn't meet him and I got worried. I met his son and asked him about his father. The son told me that his father had memory problem and sometimes he got lost. The son had to go through much trouble to locate him and bring back home. Therefore, he locked his father in a room so that he cannot go out of the house on his own. The son had to do this because both he and his wife were working and their children go to school and there was no one home. After some years the father died.

    This is what happens when there is no one in the house to take care of old parents.

    I don't know whether daughters are more attached to the father than the mother.

    Well written post which eloquently speaks volumes about your wonderful father.

    May he be blessed with may more years of active life and I hope some remedy will be found for dementia.

    Best wishes

  10. Belated greetings and good wishes to your father.Hats off to your brother and his wife.It is very tough taking care of a very old man with his problems who is otherwise healthy and can stray unknowingly outside the safe confines of the house.He cannot be left alone too.
    Bharati's suggestion is worth considering.

  11. many many happy returns of the day to your dad.. happy Birthday

    my regards to your brother and family they are doing a great job ..


  12. 94 years! That's really impressive! And he looks so healthy still.
    Happy birthday! Hope you guys enjoy the celebration.

  13. Thanks everybody for al your kind wishes.
    It is tough as one gets old, and also suffer from this terrible disease which, unfortunately has no cure. in India, sadly there are no homes/ centers ot look after such patients, it mostly fallls upon the children to look after such people, which is really, really difficult. There are simply no words to explain the difficulties faced by the care givers.

  14. What a turn of events. As I was reading through I was just hoping that you would find him in the end.
    Yes you are right. No one should ever get Dementia, it is the worst condition a person can suffer. The suffering is not only for the person, but all the loved ones around him/her.

  15. Dear Rama! What a touching story it is. A very Very Happy 94 yrs to your father. Thank God he is safe and back home. I still remember hos efforts in your match makings for your wedding and so on. Sure Amma knew that he loved her :-). Good Health for him.