*(This post was first written in March 2007, and today is its first update)
To this day, I cannot forget the horrific time, my sister and I went through. We had entered the world of ‘teens’ and didn’t quite know what ‘pain’ was all about.
Then, this happened!
The Sunday night of 29 August 1999. We returned home after a day trip to Balmuri falls, located near Srirangapatanam, close to Mysore. A trip with all your cousins is a feast for sure!
I was a late entrant to the trip as I was unsure about traveling considering my monthly tests at school were scheduled the next day. The subject notebook by my side along the journey somewhat comforted me. However, I didn’t realise, I would regret my ‘hesitant’ yes.
I was ‘not involved’ on that day, while all my cousins were having a nice time. I don’t know, but I was having a stuffy feeling right from the day started.
At the famous bird sanctuary of Ranganatittu, I was a mere spectator. The boat ride along the island didn’t cheer me either.
Even though things around me were so fun oriented, my feelings were somewhat astringent. All day long, I thought, I was nervous about my tests tomorrow and that I haven’t prepared at all.
The whole day, family around me were being facetious to every situation they encountered. Hence there was laughter all round; still, I was disjointed from the whole group even though I was physically present.
Finally, sometime in the afternoon, we all reached Balmuri falls. I am scared of water, in the sense of the depth of it. (I have come a long way since, and there is lot more to work)
The day got worse. I dropped my cousin’s shades into the water. He was madly pissed at me. Few of my cousins tried to retrieve it, it was in vain.
I was being morose at that point of time. All I wanted was to go back home and sleep.
Finally, around nine in the night, we reached home and saw our mother badly bruised, plastered and legs injured. My eyes were in tears and I just couldn’t believe something like this could have happened to my mom.
My mother happens to be the first person I saw being independent. She strived towards it. She rarely depended on others and the sight of her was pretty painful for us.
The doctor’s report indicated mild fracture on her right hand and the left hand had become numb. She was not able to lift her left hand completely.
Hence for the first time, she was not able to ride and a few days later, the doctor advised her to give up riding vehicles altogether. It was a huge setback for my mom. The advice curtailed her freedom and sadly, that Sunday was the last day she ever rode a vehicle.
How did this happen?
My aunt, who was by her side explained to us about the accident, a sort of hit-and-run while she was crossing the road, after having parked her vehicle. She was visiting her doctor for a check-up, and she was scheduled to undergo an operation in the next few weeks. Since the doctor’s appointment could not be re-scheduled, she opted out of the trip.
She was saved by a friend of hers, who happened to be nearby and saw my mom painfully lying on the road. Fortunately, the timing of her hospital admission saved her from severe damage. The doctors were able to fix the bruises and stop the blood loss.
The operation later that month became more painful (because of the accident) and it was tough mentally for all of us in the family.
The operation went well in spite of her being unconscious for some time in the ICU. Another friend of mine, her mother also underwent a similar operation and she didn’t survive.
It was painful for me and my sister and we kept comforting ourselves and praying that she comes out, fitter, stronger and soon.
At the same time, we knew, our dynamics would change. Our life and lifestyle had to make adjustments by this jolt. I guess that’s what a human is good at. We are great examples of being ‘adapters’.
After that day, I always made a special effort to keep my mom happy even when I didn’t agree with her totally. You know something, I never felt unhappy because she never demanded things to go her way and all I had to do was, just listen as to what she says, even though it might hurt my ego sometimes, just listen…. Analyze, and in the end, I always got to know as to who was right. It was certainly not me.
I was out of my teens, sooner than most around me.
My mom and I became friends at a time when we were supposed to have generational gap differences.
She did come back stronger, if not physically, at least mentally. Her reserves of composure were put to test and the operation imbalanced her hormonal condition and all this at the age of 40. She didn’t complain and instead, she started her most successful tenure in life.
Eighteen years later, she has learned new skills whether it being few musical instruments, author of many books, guest appearances, leadership programmes, share the space with celebrities and travel all by herself. Oh, she is a tech-savvy as well.
She remains an inspiration figure to me to this day and even though I am not there like I was previously, the respect has only increased with time and whenever I face a setback in life, I look to you for reassurance that, it can only get better.
Happy birthday, Maa! Thanks for fighting your way out of that ICU, our lives have only got better since then!