As I wake up, Dad and I discuss about Mom’s discharge and things we need to ask the doctor. The usual routine of her Chemotherapy begins. It is the last day of her five day long Chemo sessions. As the session begins, I feel a little guilty of being tired of this place. Today, the same place that nearly frustrated me does not look so bad. The patient next to Mom’s bed has her mouth swollen. The tumor is in her lips and it is three times bigger than its normal size. The saliva drips out of her mouth all the time; that is the reason for her mouth being covered with towel most of the time. Her husband is by her side, nursing her. He is gentle as he wipes her mouth. I wonder if the husband has loved her as much all his life. Then there is the frail lady at the far end, the doctor has come to visit her. He asks her to walk in a line for him. She is feeble and she can’t walk straight. The doctor tells his son, this can result in fractures in her bones so he asks him to be careful and monitor her closely. As the doctor leaves, the lady talks to the sixty something lady by her bedside and tells her how the medicine has made her weak and she was supposed to be discharged a week ago but she’s still at the hospital. I notice they share a special bond. Their eyes speak; they tell each other “I know what you mean, I understand”. Then there is another couple, on the right of the frail lady. The husband is looking after his wife, helping her to get settled before the doctor visits her bed. He gently unties the scarf on her head; I can see her hair has completely fallen due to Chemotherapy. There are few remains of frizzy hair and it looks a little (forgive me for this) scary without the scarf. The husband tries to put together those remains of her hair and wrap the scarf around her head. It does not work the first time so he does it again. I look at his face as he wraps the scarf around her head for the second time. He has a warm kind smile on his lips and his eyes are filled with love as he gently presses the scarf to gather all the frizzy hair to form a neat knot at the back of head with the scarf. This is not an uncommon scene here at the hospital. As much as we see disease and sickly people we see and experience love, care, togetherness and healing. It is very painful at times to be at this place but I have also found profound peace and love at this same place. The mother son duo opposite to our bed is friendly. They are to be discharged today. They share some of their experiences at the hospital with us. As they take leave, the son touches my Mom’s feet as heleaves and that makes my Mom emotional. After this observation, I make peace with myself for being where I am. I feel proud and privileged to be with Mom at a time when she needs me the most. I try to settle my wandering eyes and open a book.
Tag Archives: family
The wedding is over, I say the goodbyes and I return home. Someone drops me home and I know there’s going to be no one at home. It is around 6pm, it is winter and it’s a little dark outside. As I walk in, there is no electricity because of load shedding. I go to the puja room and I sit there for a while. It’s the room where mom medicates everyday and it is calm and soothing in here. I tell myself, everything is going to be fine, I smile and I go upstairs. There is no electricity but there is light in one of the rooms. I sit there and read a book. As I read the book, my mind wanders. Before we left for Delhi, we all were so happy. I was finally back from my 2 years of graduate studies. Mom was happiest to have her kid back in the house. Everyday we cooked different kinds of food and invited guests over. Life looked so normal. Soon it was Dashain and Bua was excited about the elaborate goat meat menu we would be relishing. Mom had started complaining about her recurrent stomach pain that would not go away. We had taken her to a hospital in Kathamandu and we were waiting for some tests to be done which was postponed for a week because of Dashain. We all had no clue of the upcoming storm. I was happy thinking about the good things that were coming my way. My life had been just the way I wanted it to be. I had a good job offer in hand, I was relaxed, I was home and I felt like my life was finally taking off the way I wanted it to. I guess this feeling was what we call the silence before the storm. I knew this experience would take way the “nothing can go wrong” philosophy out of my mind. I will always know our world is not perfect and that anything can happen we just have to learn how to deal with the situation.
I am glad that I’m leaving for Delhi tomorrow to be with my parents. Someone drops me at the airport and I can’t wait to board the flight, take a taxi, go straight to the hospital and hug Mom. She must be eagerly waiting for me. Although she never mentioned over the phone I’m sure she must’ve missed me.
P.S This post is the continuation of At the wedding.
Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal. It holds a special place in our hearts. I once quit a job just to be home for Dashain. So, you can guess that Dashain is a big deal in Nepal. This festival holds a special significance. It signifies unity, defeat of good over evil, respect towards our elders, lots of food, new clothes, a big family event and long holidays. When I was in school, we had a full months holiday during Dashain, ahhhh those blissful days.
Dashain is a 15 day event and Ghatasthapana marks the beginning of Dashain or start of Navaratri. After 7 days of Ghatasthapana starts an array of a week long festivities with each day holding some religious significance. The first sign that Dashain is around the corner is the weather. In Kathmandu, the weather is just perfect during Dashain, it is the end of summer and its cool and pleasant. All us of can relate to the special bright sunshine and how the sun is warm with cool breeze during Dashain, this kind of sunshine is called “pareelo gham” in Nepali. But staying far away from home, the clues of Dashain are status updates in Facebook and fellow bloggers writing about the festival, which is not bad either :).
When my grandfather and grandmother still lived in the village, we all would go to the village to get blessings from them on the final day of Dashain, which is called Tika. There are a lot of things about Dashain and I can go on and on talking about my fondness for it. But today I will focus on how my childhood Dashain used to be, when we went back to the place Bua(dad) was born and when I was about 6 or 7 years old.
The place my Bua was born is Bhorle, Dhading. It is not so far from the capital city but it didn’t mean it was easy to get there. Going to Bhorle used to be an adventurous trip for us. I think Mom and Bua had discussions whether or not we should go to Bhorle this year. To go to Bhorle, we had to take a bus from Kathmandu and get down at Adamghat, which took around 3-4 hours during those days. After getting down at Adamghat was a steep trek of about 8-9 hours!! My dad was born somewhere in the remote hills of Dhading district and until few years back there was no means of transportation that would take us there. The only option was either to walk or be carried on a Nepali basket made of bamboo called “Doko”. So Mom and Bua had a hard time deciding whether or not to take the kids to Bhorle for Dashain(which of course I found out later from mom). I have faint memories of my Bhorle trek. We have the pictures at home, which reminds me of Dashain in Bhorle. My Mom looks extremely pretty in her red sari and red pote(necklace for married women in Nepal). Trip to Bhorle used to be a lot of fun for us kids. Me, my brother, my uncles and cousins had our little gang. Our uncles were the guide and leaders as they had travelled the trail quite often and were experienced. So me and my brother had a lot of fun as city kids going to the village. We used to be amazed by the nature, the insects we saw on the way and the cows, buffaloes, goats, hens we saw in the village and if we were lucky we could sight deers and how our uncles always warned us of Jackals or “Bwasoo”. We also got to enjoy the wild berries and wild fruits on the way to Bhorle. Everyone would take special care of us since we were small kids and from the city :). I can recall that everywhere we rested, we were offered with “Mahi”(homemade yoghurt smoothy?) and “bhuteko makai”(roasted corn kernels). And we had someone my Bua or Hajurbuwa(grandfather) knew on the way top and they would make remarks like, “Ohh so you are the son of so and so and the grandson of so and so”. And when we would be too tired after few hours of walk, there would be potters and sometimes our relatives or uncles who would carry us in Doko. The way to Bhorle used to be beautiful with green trees, far away view of himalayas, open grasslands and the endless hills. I wonder how it is now. And since it was Dashain, there were Bamboo swings at every small village we passed and it was a lot of fun to play in those swings. But we could never match up with the village kids who played wild and looked like they had far more fun than us.
So Bua always made remarks to us saying how we were the broiler chicken and the village kids were the local chicken. After crossing every hill, we used to ask our uncles how much farther it is and they used to show us a nearest hill and say behind that big hill is our home or “Tyo dada ko pachadi hamro ghar cha” but once we crossed that hill they used to again point us to another nearest hill and say the same thing!! I do not precisely remember other details from the trip and how we finally reached home. The next thing I remember is the tika day or the day when the elders in the family put tika on foreheads of youngers as a blessing. For the boys it was all about goat meat; which part of goat they wanted to eat and flying kites. For girls it was about the money they were going to earn after tika which is called dakshina and new clothes they were going to wear on tika day. I think during those days we got 25 paisa, 50 paisa as dakshina. I have a colourful picture that we took at Bhorle after tika which is in Kathmandu and too bad I cannot post it right now.
So this was Dashain all about when I was a little kid, one of my first memories of Dashain. Today Dashain is still about going back home, being together with mom and Bua and receiving tika from them. It makes me a little sad that I cannot be home for Dashain this year too. So, my wish for Dashain this year is may my Mom and Bua have a wonderful health, may goddess Durga bless my home and make it harmonious, may Mom and Bua be happy and healthy all year around and may I be able to serve my parents in every possible way. Happy Dashain Mommy and Bua. I am sad that I cannot be home to share Bua’s enthusiasm of goat meat and Mom’s excitement of navaratri puja. But I will definitely Skype and receive blessings over the internet!!
And Happy Dashain in advance to my readers as well!
P.S: Ghatasthapa falls on 16th October this year and Tika falls on 24th October.
Life is filled with uncertainties. Although many scientists and dreamers likewise would want to invent equations to perform accurate predictions to forecast or even get a hint on what life would lead to, until this day of so called modern times, it has not been quite possible.
My life is no different from yours albeit it does have its own uniqueness, it still follows the same path of uncertainties that your life follows. Human life has a pattern that follows the same route of childhood, growing up and getting old but in its own way it find its way of being unique like a piece of art or a designer dress that is of course an art or a dress but is unique and special in its own too.
When I was a child, all i wanted to do was play with my brothers and sisters, cuddle with my mom and enjoy delicious treats from uncles and aunts. When I grew up to be a teenager, I learned about friendship, companionship along with the discomforting feeling of rebelling against family and trying hard to be socially acceptable. Now when I look back I feel like those years were the most significant in terms of shaping up my personality and the way I am today. After that came the golden days of infatuation, when you’d be infatuated with any cute guy you see at school or on TV. I had and still have a huge crush on Rahul Khanna since his MTV days, I had secret crushes on seniors of my school about whom I had endless conversation with my girlfriends, without any valid conclusions, of course!! It was a classic era, we girls would gather in a special corner in school and talk about all the guys we secretly liked, I wonder if todays’ teenagers still do the same.
After that was stuff like career choice, what field of study to choose, whether to study abroad or get admitted in a local university, and then was engineering days. Well, there is a whole other story behind my choice of taking up engineering as a field of study but as I mentioned, life is uncertain but the things we do and the things we choose sure does lead us to the ultimate truth or the ultimate significance of our being if we follow the signs….well at least thats what I think!!:).
Then came along the big lessons in life, the ones that I wasn’t quite ready for like mom’s disease, heartbreak, loneliness and struggle to discover myself and making peace with where I had come and what I had become. These were the big uncertainties in my life that I didn’t have a slightest clue about. I was more than shocked and heartbroken to discover that mom had cancer. She was and still is the centre of my universe. Throughout my life I have been so close to her that at that moment it was impossible for me to imagine life without her presence. It took understanding life to a whole new level. It taught me life is uncertain and our time is limited. Those days that I spent at the hospital were the days that made me appreciate life and love the people around me even more. This experience cured me of negative thinking and life felt good when there was hope and when the impossible looked achievable.
After that incident, life has been a bundle of Joy. It made our family stronger, friends closer and enemies farther away which were the negative thinking and wrong attitude towards life. Then came along A, the love of my life, my darling, whom I love with all my heart and soul. Ever since I saw him for the first time at the corridor, life has been better with its little surprises. Even as a stranger, he had looked after me and taken care of me. He has been around in times of need and he has provided love and support beyond my needs and expectations. It is his innocent eyes that remind me how beautiful my life is with him being around. Today, I am happy and at peace. I am getting married early next year and I am looking forward to have a wonderful life ahead :). My hopes, aspirations and ambitions have changed with time as well. I hope to be a good person, aspire to love and care for my family and dream of giving back to the world the same support and love that it has given me in my own little way.
And not to mention, I have found a medium to express myself to the world, I have discovered blogging. It makes me true and honest to myself. It encourages me to pursue my dreams and share my experience with numerous people around the world who feel and experience similar things!!:)