Five Stages of Dying

Several moments from the hit TV series House M.D. the philosophy of Dr House helped me hold myself together during the last one month of mother’s approaching death. Particularly Episode 1 of Season 2, Acceptance. A young woman in her 30s, Cindy, visits the clinic for some routine tests for her health clearance certificate for a new job. Dr Cameroon greets Cindy, takes a look at her chest X-ray report and a slight hint of worry comes across her face. In the next scene we see her consulting with Dr Wilson, Head of Oncology. Dr Wilson tells Dr Cameroon with … Continue reading Five Stages of Dying

When a Pillar Falls The Building Crumbles, The Family Falls Apart

26th April I have said and done a lot of hurtful things to my mother for which I am repenting today, will repent forever. But so has everyone else. My father, my sister. Such is life, we fight, we make up, nobody is perfect. Sometimes we say sorry, sometimes we don’t speak for days and then cook something special for the person we hurt and move on. The thing I cannot tolerate anymore is my eight and half years younger sister assuming a morally superior position and trying to judge me in order to defend dad. This is a mistake, … Continue reading When a Pillar Falls The Building Crumbles, The Family Falls Apart

13 Days Of Mourning & Healing Not Without Guilt

21st April The last time I had a conversation with mom about my career, studies she told me to drop the idea of getting a full time job. She said, “You don’t have to worry about money. You just do good work, do your photography, write articles. Its been so long you are not writing for Firstpost isn’t it? Why have you stopped? Get your book published. Study. Read. In between take up some wedding photography assignment that would pay you well.” She just wanted me to focus on what I am good at, my creative and intellectual pursuits. I … Continue reading 13 Days Of Mourning & Healing Not Without Guilt

She Died Within Few Hours of Going on Ventilator

17th April  1.38 pm Exactly a month ago, on 17th March mother walked out of home for routine check up with symptoms no more than of common cold. This morning she went into ventilator. They say putting a stage 4 cancer patient, with no hopes for treatment, on ventilator is a bad idea. It would only increase pain and suffering. In the previous hospital every night the head of ICU would call and try to convince us not to give consent for ventilator. Once such critical patient goes into ventilator they never come back, said the doctor. But we gave … Continue reading She Died Within Few Hours of Going on Ventilator

To Intubate or Not to Intubate?

15th April 2017 My mother wishes everybody a happy Bengali new year. She told me to put it up on her Facebook. Talk about patient – doctor trust and relationship, mother’s attending doctor didn’t even visit her today in his rounds. Didn’t even meet the family to tell us what kind of palliative care is required, what precautions we should take, how to ensure she doesn’t suffer pain. Nothing. He wanted us to leave, we are leaving, he couldn’t be any less bothered. Bengali new year didn’t bring any new hopes. We shifted mom to the new hospital yesterday but … Continue reading To Intubate or Not to Intubate?

Her Lungs Are Giving Up But She Won’t, She Will Survive

14th/April Morning: 17th March to today, mom’s condition is worsening so rapidly, I didn’t know it’s possible for any disease to aggravate so quickly. We have no time at all. All her body functions and organs are in perfect condition but her lungs are giving up. Just giving up. Before Facebook, it was not so in your face evident that while your world is crumbling and crashing, rest of the world goes by just fine without batting an eyelid. Our sorrows are our alone. 11.30pm After my morning update regarding mom’s condition, people got very worried. Some called and messaged … Continue reading Her Lungs Are Giving Up But She Won’t, She Will Survive

To Chemo Or Not To Chemo?

11th April 2017 Cancer is a disease. Chemo is a treatment. Quality time with family is a utopia. We are at the juncture now where we have to decide whether to give chemotherapy to mother or not. The attending doctor advised us against it. She is in stage 4 cancer and he is of the opinion that chemotherapy won’t help her much. It would be high risk. He wasn’t clear what this ‘high risk’ means. He suggested we take her home, give home nursing, palliative care, spend quality time with her and wait. Wait for the cancer to spread and … Continue reading To Chemo Or Not To Chemo?

Cancer The Misfortune That Fell On Us

3rd April 2017 Cancer. Not a disease but a culture. A major story twist. The deadly misfortune has been part of the most tragic films and literature. Mostly it would be the male protagonist, he falls sick and doctors tell him, “You have last stage Cancer, only few days of your life are left” and then an dramatic scene follows. “Ab inhe dawa ki nahi dua ki zaroorat hai (She needs prayers now not medicine)” is a much clichéd dialogue from hindi films of yesteryears. In real life however, among friends and family such misfortune was rarely heard. With advancement … Continue reading Cancer The Misfortune That Fell On Us

“Take Her To Another Hospital” Max Hospital Emergency Didn’t Give Treatment Because No Room To Admit Patient

A 63 year old patient with severe fluid in both lungs, rapidly decreasing oxygen saturation (90 to 85 to 81 percent within few hours) and increasing breathing trouble was not given any treatment at Max Hospital Emergency, simply because they had no room to admit her. “Take her to another hospital” said the Max Hospital Emergency doctor and person in-charge of admitting. My mother’s both lungs were filled with fluids. She wasn’t able to breath. Our ordinary understanding is that the fluids from her lungs needed to be drained out. We had with us two X-ray reports which clearly showed … Continue reading “Take Her To Another Hospital” Max Hospital Emergency Didn’t Give Treatment Because No Room To Admit Patient

When Old People Don’t Know They Are Old And Are Stubborn

Alright whenever mom is not around I have a lot of issues with dad. This blog has already seen evidence of that. Since last night he’s given me 10 warnings that, “Tomorrow, early morning, I would go to Sarojini Nagar Market.” In this heat, he wants to venture out, go to Sarojini from Dwarka, changing two buses for some work he can easily do on a weekday after office hours, maybe by adjusting a few hours here and there. He would never taken an auto (three-wheeler). He has NEVER taken an auto or cab in his entire life for himself alone. Can anybody … Continue reading When Old People Don’t Know They Are Old And Are Stubborn

The woman and her sewing machine – portrait of Indian middle class mother in 70s-80s

The Singer sewing machine is a cultural symbol from a bygone era. Every woman or man has their own memory and story around the Singer machine. My mom’s story begins when at the age of 11 she lost her mother. The sound of her mother working on the singer sewing machine till late night, when the kids were asleep, was one of the strongest memories she had left behind for my mother to hold on to. Continue reading “The woman and her sewing machine – portrait of Indian middle class mother in 70s-80s”

In anticipation of life to come, mourning a life gone.

RIP - Jango the dingoJango at his daily vigil

This morning we lost our dog Jango.

He was 11 and a half years old. He had never shown signs of old age until last Sunday when he refused to eat his meals.

This was the first time ever that he said no to any thing that was edible. He was the most hungry dog we’ve ever known. Naturally it worried us all. On Monday, my mom, dad and sister took him to the Vet. The Vet said, “he doesn’t have any ailment as such, just signs of old age, give him liquid food, he’ll be fine.”

But his conditioned worsened during the week. Meanwhile on Tuesday my sister and mom had to travel to Kolkata and other places which they wanted to cancel considering jango wasn’t well but the vet assured them that the situation wasn’t so serious. He also assured that I need not take a flight to Delhi immediately. He said he has enough time to live but of course he is getting old. So mom and sis went ahead with the travel plan leaving Dad to look after Jango. I am of course based out of a different city.

And here in Bangalore I came over to stay at Snigdha-Vinayak’s place for couple of days since the doctor said Snigdha might go into labour any time now. In case it happens in the night, Vince would drive there should be somebody to sit with her. The big news also came that their dogs Pondy and Alleppy are also gonna be parents, Alleppey is pregnant.

Continue reading “In anticipation of life to come, mourning a life gone.”

Happy Birthday Sis

Today is the birthday of two of the most wonderfully complicated people in my life, without who my life wouldn’t be the same. Both uncannily similar, the perfectionist orderly virgos who often get on my disorderly aquarian nerves. My sister, the sweet child of mine, she is the closest to motherhood that I have been and now I never wanna be a real mother. Not because she is not great, she is, she is the best, but I am so possessive about her that I often forget when is the preacing too much of preaching which makes her angry and … Continue reading Happy Birthday Sis

December Fever

Addendum: This post was featured on Bangalore Mirror dated 28-Dec-07 under the blog talk section. This was the 3rd time this blog got featured under the same section and the 5th time my name appeared in Bangalore Mirror. ————————— December fever as dad calls it, occurs during the last 5 days of the month of December to the Government officials. They are entitled to 8 casual leaves and 2 restricted holidays during a year, they avail around 30 CLs and still they are always left with around 5-6 CLs (Because they never submitted the leave applications) which they avail during … Continue reading December Fever

Her Daughter’s home

“I am going to Bangalore to visit my daughter, see her new home.” Every time Mom will say that to her relatives in this family wedding she is right now attending in Kolkata, they will ask back, “Oh really, so when did she get married? Got kids? A daughter’s home is naturally presumed to be a matrimonial home. Otherwise its just, “my daughter works / studies in Bangalore…lives in some insignificant PG or college hostel. Mom is all proud to tell everybody though, that its her single daughter’s place, she has rented it recently and now setting it up on … Continue reading Her Daughter’s home

Conversation with mom

Conversation on Gtalk… (Note mom’s typing speed is one 100th of my speed, so I got edge over her while arguing, by the time she frames one argument and types it out I have said 5 more arguments. The conversation was in Bengali am giving the translated version) Me – Mom, when do you plan to come down to Bangalore? am planning to take a flat you can come after that and stay for some long time. Mom – Flat? have you seen already? how much would be the rent… Me – would be around 8-9K have not yet seen … Continue reading Conversation with mom

Part III – It’s ‘Her’story not history

Part III – Marriage  She was taking typing classes, And looking for a job, when, a well wisher got a matrimonial alliance. “This guy at his 30, Central Government Clerk At Income tax department Good salary. Good catch I tell you”. Said he. “Yeah, this poor almost orphan child would get a shelter, What more can we seek.” Said her Aunt. She was 21 then. So, they never saw each other. She was confident, he’s another cruel man like father. Given the kind moustaches he adorns, Must be a political goon of the CPM. She was a romantic, though she didn’t … Continue reading Part III – It’s ‘Her’story not history

Mom and Dad are separating

This blog is getting a lot of traffic off late and I feel stressed trying to live up to reader’s expectations and maintain the overall quality. One of the causes of worry is that I don’t know what exactly people like about my blog. JD Salinger’s protagonist from ‘Catcher in the Rye’ once said, he liked reading those books the most where he felt he could call up the author as if the author was his buddy and discuss the characters and events in the book. Perhaps that’s what people like about this blog. Given that it mostly is a … Continue reading Mom and Dad are separating

Diwali 06

This existence in the cyber world can at times take a toll on you. I don’t mean my blog to be a digital diary, so I don’t write about every day things on it. But then every time I meet someone online they ask me the same questions bout my life and I find myself typing the same damn lines over and over again. Fingers ache man. The latest being ‘so how was diwali‘…Uff why don’t people understand. For them its a casual opening line to a chat conversation which should ideally be answered in a monosyllable… good, bad or … Continue reading Diwali 06

My adorable nightmare – 2

I couldn’t finish the post about my adorable nightmare the other day, i mean he didn’t let me finish it. He came jumping and hopping in my room and gave me a stern look trying to tell me “what on earth you think you are doing. You have any idea what time it is. who do You think is going to give me the tabs the milk pedigree and what time shall we go for the walk.” If after that look I don’t get off my chair he will jump on my lap (sounds sweet but given his size……), bang … Continue reading My adorable nightmare – 2

My Adorable Nightmare

That adorable nightmare is making so much of noise that even if a plane happens to crash on my head right now I won’t be able to have a clue until it really does. Exaggeration I know but when he barks it’s almost like that. Time for his calcium and mineral tablets……That crazy dog is totally in love with his medicines. He chews the tablets like he is having swiss chocolates. About 10 min later it will be milk and pedigree time followed by half an hour of walk (if only we human could call his leaps a walk) Continue reading My Adorable Nightmare