Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 8)

dad lab

After mum and Cuz Sulo left for the hospital, Velu, Thangamma and self started on the cleaning. For the rest of the world they were just two hired aides, but for mum and dad they were like family, for V and T as well, mum and dad were like surrogate parents, they cared for dad not just for the pitiful salary they earned, but because they were treated like equal humans, they knew this was a couple who genuinely cared for their well being.

In most houses, they were not allowed to sit on your normal sofas, the aide/help would either have a small stool or they would sit on the floor, they would have separate plates and drinking glasses, slightly inferior in quality, may even have a chip on them. Never in par with the owners of the house. It was never the case in our house.    Dad felt a terrible sadness and guilt at the plight of the poor.  Time to time Dad would talk about it and say to me, “I know I can’t save them all, in the scheme of things, maybe what I or us as a family, what we do, may not make a difference, but for that one person that we helped, it would make the world of difference”. I know he was just repeating what he had heard or read somewhere.  But within him, he wished he could change the world, or at least this society, change the way people treated each other. He would say “it costs the same to smile at a rich man and a poor man”.

I think the above paragraph is my procrastination or hesitation to write what happened next. Where I was going with all that was, V and T were as excited as me of the arrival of dad. I was holding the ladder for Velu who was now attacking the cobwebs on the ceiling.  Thangamma decided to leave us with the cleaning, she wanted to make some cutlets (a Sri Lankan delicacy – fish balls), it was dad’s favourite.  And it would be a great thing to serve to guests who would visit.

The phone rang.  It sounded the same as when dad rang to say that he was coming for my birthday, then again it sounded the same when he rang to say that he was not coming, he was unwell.  The ringtone never changed, just the tone of the messages kept changing.  It wasn’t me who answered the phone, my cuz’s mother-in-law did.  So, I don’t know the exact words that were parted by my cousin.

It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.  I don’t think I heard all the words.  Parames Mami (cus sulo’s mother-in-law) came up the stairs.  She called my name out as she came up the stairs.  She was out of breath.  But she, does pay us random visits like this all the time.  So, I didn’t think much of that.  I answered “Om mami” (meaning yes aunty), She told Velu to come down the ladder, not sure what happened after that.  I am not sure if I was sitting or standing, what words were used.  No, I can’t remember the chain of events.

Dad had another aneurysm the night before.  He had gone into a coma.  Cuz Sulo unaware of all this had skipped to his bedside joyfully with Hi mama (uncle).  She was surprised that there was no response .  There was no smile on Dad’s face.  Just a fixed gaze to the distance.  She knew there was something wrong.  She looked at his bed notes.  It was really wrong.  She had a chat to the nurses, and her worst fears were confirmed.

Parames Mami asked all the cooking and cleaning to be stopped for now.  Well, no one was in the right frame of mind to continue anyway.  She told me to get ready and we were going to the temple.  I obeyed.  No tears as yet.  I was dumbfounded.  Wish Jana was with me at that moment. She had just left that morning to see her dad and brother.  Not sure what Velu and Thangamma did after that.  I left for the temple.

We did some pooja’s in dad’s name.  It was all rather mechanical.  I just repeated the rituals as others performed.  After all the poojas, touching the idols, kneeling on the ground, flowers, pottu ( red powder and yellow paste in separate containers, you use your middle finger to dip in to these containers and wear it on your forehead), we sat down to meditate on our own.  I could feel the tears escaping my eyes and now rolling down my cheeks.  I dipped my head, so no one could see me crying. I can’t remember the conversation between god and me.  I didn’t bother asking him “Why me? What did I do wrong ?” I just wanted him to fix it.  I was asking him very humbly.  I was scared of getting him on the wrong side, didn’t want to jeopardize my chances.  I will do anything, I will give up anything.  I was trying to bribe god.  I understand the stupidity of it now.  But I didn’t then.

Cont….

 

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Posted in Australian Politics, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 7)

dad lab

Even in the hospital Dad couldn’t help himself. He was still the same old man, who hated the societies preferential treatment to the have’s and the have not’s.  As he had “Dr” in front of his name all the attendants and nurses treated him well.  Unfortunately,  his neighbour was not privy to the same, sometimes even the basic requests were ignored. The guy next to him related to us that couple of nights ago, he had no water and the nurses had just ignored his several requests, Dad almost had a tumble trying to give him water from his jug.  Dad had even shared some of the food that mum had taken him. That guy was so grateful. But dad was annoyed and a tad bit ashamed that he was treated well and the other not so. If Dad was alive and living in Australia now, he would have been so happy.  So, happy to note that there was a society where you are an equal in a Public Hospital.  In fact you are an equal in most places.

I wrote letters to my uncles who were living far away, telling them that Dad has pulled through, that Dad was coming home tomorrow.  What a whirlwind of events.  But, we knew, it was a long way from us returning back to TRI (Tea Research Institute) or to a normal life.  There was suggestion that he could do light duties in Colombo with the Tea Board.  We knew he was still fragile, but he has pulled through the biggest hurdle. We will make sure that he doesn’t set back in his old workaholic habits.  We will take care of him. Dad’s 53rd birthday was coming up at the end of the month.  We will celebrate it, as we never have.  I saw a funny birthday card in the shops, something about old age, so I bought it then and there.  Life was good again.

I was thinking this was going to be our last evening visit to the hospital.  Dad was coming home tomorrow evening.  How sweet does that sound.  Dad had worked out what needs to be done.  He wanted mum and Cuz Sulo to come in the morning with several cakes from “Green Cabin” a popular cake shop and some good tea(leaves)from Tea Research Institute.  He had a list of doctors, nurses and attendants to whom he wanted to give gifts.

He asked Velu (a man assistant given to us by TRI), Thangamma (our long time maid) and myself to stay back and clean the house,  as he expected many visitors.  He told us the number of people he had invited to our house in TRI.  Not just for a meal, these invitations were for them to come and stay with us and have a holiday. He was in an elated mood.  So were we.  Much better than him confused and disoriented.  I shake that memory off, just celebrate girl, that was just a bad dream, I said to myself.

*Note: for the benefit of those who have not read the first 6 parts of this story, at present we were living in Colombo in one of my cousin’s house, our usual place of residence is Talwakelle (upcountry 4.5 hr drive) where TRI is situated).

The driver was a touch late to pick mum and cuz Sulo.  My cuz wanted to be in the Hospital before the surgeons finished their rounds, so she could speak to them.  So she asked to be first dropped off in the hospital, before the cake purchases.  Mum, decided to follow my cousin to the wards, so she could pack dad’s clothes, toiletries etc and take it with her before going for the cakes.  Her thinking was so when taking dad, their hands would be free to concentrate on taking dad to the car safely.

The clock had turned back again.  The blaring horns of the traffic outside my window sounded the same that night. It was humid, hot and uncomfortable as always.  There was no signs to say that the clock had wound back sixteen days.  There were no signs at all to say that the roller coaster was now on free fall.

Cont…

 

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 6)

dad lab

It was such a relief to see dad being wheeled back.  We were informed that the surgery went well.  He was back in the ICU.  A part of his hair was shaved and had a cone shaped bandage around the head.  He was not conscious as yet. We were only allowed to peak through the window.  Maybe tomorrow said the nurse.  Maybe tomorrow he will walk and talk again as normal. Maybe tomorrow he will hold me and say everything’s going to be alright.  Tomorrow looked so promising.  Today was turning out to be better than I feared.

Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow were getting better.  We were able to see dad, two people at a time with special head nets and socks.  Dad would take mum and my hand and kiss it.  His eyes looks welled. It was saying I love you and thank you.  It may have also been to say sorry for putting you’ll through this. He looked weak, and spoke very softly.  But that smile was still pretty strong.  Very infectious too.  It brought a smile back on my face.

I was ever so grateful to God.  Cuz Sulo’s mother-in-law Paremes Mami (mami is aunty in tamil) started to take me to the temple quite regularly.  I shunted between a Hindu temple, the popular St. Anthony’s Church and a Buddhist temple.  I am not sure if my belief was, if I pray to god he will give my dad back or just a place and time for me to just meditate in silence.  In each place the I performed the rituals without much thought, mostly followed what others were doing. But the rituals helped. I think it took me to a calmer place. Lighting a candle in the church gave me hope, touching the stone idols in the temple gave me assurance that I’ve been heard.  Laying a lotus flower in front of The Buddha statue gave me peace.  Now, I don’t believe that it is God’s job to look after the individual needs of each person.  “why save my dad or my child just because I ask him”, I don’t think he/she would be that petty minded or vain to think that our prayers and wishes are what he answers to.  But back then I wanted to believe that my prayer was going to be answered.

Things were going really great now.  It is now nearly fourteen days since all the drama started.  Dad was coming home tomorrow.

Cont…

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 5)

dad lab

Jana was pretty much living at our place now.  She made us remember to have a cup of coffee, gave us a purpose to cook a meal.  Things had started to brew between her brother and I.  Pretty early stages and not the right time open up to mum or dad about this.  I couldn’t take the chance of stressing dad out even in the slightest way. Jans’s brother was a nice young lad, but didn’t carry the right resume for some.  He was neither an Engineer nor a Doctor.  He was in fact a Sailor.  He didn’t hide the fact that he liked a drink or two. Even though he didn’t show any signs of being an alcoholic, people were ready to pass judgement because of his pedigree.  In spite of the rumors and the cool exterior,  to my surprise I found him to be soft, sensitive and an interesting person.  His honesty was refreshing.  He wasn’t going to pretend to the world.  We had a lot in common. Especially our love for the comic books “Asterix” and “Tin Tin”.  Our mutual friendship and banter was now turning to something else.  Jana was the only one to know and to approve.

If Dad was not unwell, these were all great arguments to put forward, but circumstances were different.  I couldn’t upset dad, I didn’t even know if this would upset dad, but didn’t think this was the time to test it.  Most Sri Lankan Tamil marriages were still arranged marriages.  Not necessarily to complete strangers, mostly to some one from the same village, a distant relative etc.  But, still the main operators were your parents.  Dad was not entirely comfortable with this.  He has in the past said to me, the final decision has to be from me.  Whenever he sees young couples by the side of the road, or at the Botanical Gardens canoodling, he would say, “now, don’t do that, just bring him home and let me meet him”.  I would feel really embarrassed and would yell back “DAD”.  Thinking back most dads were not this liberal.  I think it was his complete trust in me, the complete confidence that his daughter was smart enough to know right from wrong and wasn’t going to do anything stupid.  Daddy’s little princess never wanted to break that trust.

Jana was my friend as well as a relative.  I am not going to explain lineage, as we joke about this, we feel it’s not a family tree rather a vine, a vine in a thick overgrown forest.  So their family, including Ganesh (Jana’s infamous brother) were all well known to mum and dad. By now Ganesh has become a regular visitor to our house, with the excuse of giving his sister a lift or what ever else.  Mum was rather fond of the two.  Which was a good thing, but I have seen in many cases things going pear shaped, when it came to who was good for your daughter.

So our love or affection at this stage had to be held back after an eye contact and locking of a mutual glance.  And each of us knowing to leave it there.  Although no words were exchanged his actions spoke volumes.  No, he didn’t buy me roses, instead he would buy my dad books.  Huh! says you.  Let me elaborate.  Ganesh visits my dad at hospital and asks dad if he wants anything.  Dad loved the fact that Ganesh was a great reader, knowing this dad asked Ganesh if he could bring his some books.  He meant Ganesh’s own books to borrow.  But someone wanting the brownie points bought new books and took it to my dad.  Yet another inside joke.

In a world of elaborate gestures and the most expensive and expansive proposals, our’s would look the most pathetic of romances.  But, my man didn’t have to build me the Taj Mahal to tell me how he feels, his small gestures and the awkward looks were enough and spoke volumes.

I am not sure how we got to the hospital, was it the TRI driver or Ganesh?  Not sure, but Ganesh was there and so was Jana.  We were pensively seated and at times pacing in the corridor.  I accompanied a corpse in the lift.  For the attendants this is just routine, they don’t feel the need to be sensitive, respectful or any other special way to treat the body nor the people around.  I shock that thought that popped in my head “no it’s not dad, don’t even go there”, while in the corridor, saw a few more bodies being wheeled while the attendants spoke about lunch break.

Again the clock was ticking, but the time was refusing to move.

cont…

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 4)

dad lab

I was just starting understand the meaning of “that life was not meant to be easy”. In each turn, there was yet another hurdle. And you had this constant fear, that you were going to tumble over one of them any time soon.  Mum and I were mentally exhausted.  The surgeon, who was supposed to be the Island’s best for this particular surgery was not willing to take over dad’s case.  The reason being he was going away to the UK in two weeks time and he was concerned that he wouldn’t be there for the post op consultations. The norm was, the surgeon who performed the surgery continued the post op and there after.

So, my cousin Sulo went in search of the next best surgeon.  Cuz Sulo is another person in my life that earns a big salute.  A salute of admiration, respect and complete indebtedness. In spite of her disability (she was affected by childhood polio and one her limbs was affected), she was physically and mentally a force to be reckoned with.  Doctors, especially the surgeons of Sri Lanka are usually an Egoistical lot.  And to get anything done in that country, you need to have the right connections.  So having a doctor to lead the way to the surgeons room was a great thing.  Thinking back to how I was treated, how things were done in Sri Lanka, to how things are done here in Australia, I see such a vast difference.

Over here in Aus, the doctor will come out side to the waiting room, call your name, shake hands, take you inside, offer you a seat and close the door behind you.  Over in my old country, a guy would be at the door, who would bark your name, or the barking might come from the inside.  Then you go inside pensively.  By this time you might have done some home work on the doctor, to work out if by any chance you know some one, who knows the doctor, some connection to establish that I require some good attention as some one I know, knows you as well.  And you would open the conversation with “do you know so and so…”

Anyway, we didn’t know anyone of this 2nd best surgeon other than the fact that my cousin had done some work under him when she was doing her internship.  It was better than nothing anyway.  My cousin showed him the angiogram and other test results. The aneurysm was in a tricky spot.  This man didn’t like what he saw.  I was standing on the corner of the room and having a battle with my tear ducts.  He opened his mouth by asking why wasn’t Dr. Selvadurai (the top knotch surgeon) performing the surgery?  “He is the best at this…” almost saying “I can’t help you here”, both the surgeon and I could feel the disappointment and hopelessness in my cousin’s voice.  I don’t think I was feeling anything. Then from the corner of his eye he saw me, a young girl, struggling to hold her tears back, who was begging for her fathers life and humanity returned back in him.  He said “ask Selvadurai to do the surgery, he is the best at it, he should do it, I will do the post op”.  Cuz and I had to hold back so hard not to give him a big bear hug.  I was sobbing and smiling all at the same time.

The battle doesn’t end there.  We had to now convey the message to Dr. Selvadurai and convince him to go ahead with the surgery.  We were informed that he was fully booked until his departure to UK which was in a couple of days and he had ceased consulting.  The only way we could meet him was to catch him outside the surgical theatre.  So, that’s what we did.  Again, my cuz being a doctor and knowing a few people around helped.  We managed to send him a message from outside the theatre.  In between surgeries, he came to see us in one of surgical rooms.  He came out with blood and gore, and spoke to us while washing up.  He looked so casual, as if he had just cut up a fish.  Anyway we explained what happened between Dr. No.2 ( sorry I don’t remember his name) and his suggestions. He smiled and he mentioned that he was fully booked and then scratched his head, and said “no I think, we can do it”.  He was going to have a day off before his trip, but he decided to do my dad’s surgery on his planned day off.

Cont…

 

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 3)

dad lab

I was in a daze. This was the time before mobile phones, so there was no texts or updates coming from mum nor my cousin.  My friend Jana (Janaki) was there with me.  She was another reason why I started writing about this particular story.  This story is as much of a story about my dad and that fateful day, it is also a time to sincerely thank my best buddy who turned fifty a couple of days ago.  This was all meant to be written, completed and handed over to her on her birthday, but let’s blame that darn clock again.

I don’t think I could have survived those sixteen days and after that without her.  She stands tall and strong (literally as well), and carried us through the dredge.  She pretty much did everything for me.  Eventually she even found me a husband.  Well, she did a pretty lazy job as she didn’t, search long or far.  She just picked her brother who was probably just reading a book in a corner and thought why not.  So, now we are sister-in-laws. Well, I have forgiven her for that.

The clock was ticking but the time stood still.   Still no news from the hospital. Didn’t even know which hospital they went to.  Eventually mum and my cousin returned home. Dad was in intensive care unit and was doing okay.

Things were settling down.  We felt that we have jumped the biggest hurdle but we were sure that we had cleared it.  Dad was going to get better.

He was in the ICU for about two days or so.  The ECG and all the others tests indicated that his heart was okay and may not have been a heart attack that he experienced.

There was still the occasional memory blanks and him talking gibberish.  They suspected an aneurysm in the brain,  and sent him for an angiogram. Which showed that he in fact had an aneurysm in the brain.  This was not good news.

The roller coaster was back in operation.  Questions of should he be operated in Sri Lanka or should he be sent overseas, the success rate etc were hashed around.  You have to also keep in mind this was 31 years ago and in Sri Lanka where the technology was not as great as it is now.

My uncles gathered to discuss the pros and cons, overseas vs local.  My uncle in England, who also happens to be a doctor, found out that, airlifting him would be very dangerous. And the success rate of the local doctor seemed to be in par with the overseas doc’s.  So a collective decision was made to go ahead with the surgery with the Local Doctor.

 

 

 

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 2)

dad lab

Our little flat was filled with people.  Relatives who had got to know of the situation flocked to see him and us.  When I say he was loved by all, he was really loved by all.  It is not a sentence just grouped together at the eulogy.  We still have people writing books about him or mentioning him in their book.  For dad this was one big party.  He was happy to see everyone, but didn’t understand what the fuss was about.  He was more interested in making sure everyone had a cup of tea and biscuits to go with it, and downplayed that he was unwell.

I was absolutely useless.  I wanted to keep it altogether, but was struggling enormously.  I didn’t want him to see me upset.  I didn’t  want my face to fess up, why my heart was sinking.  I was in a daze, it was worse than any nightmare I could imagine.  I disappeared to the next room time to time, and sobbed uncontrollably.

I don’t know if at that time I feared his mortality, or just felt he was never going to get back to being normal. I think it was the latter,  but even that was not okay for me.  It took a long time for the next day to arrive.  There were no birds chirping, just the blaring horns from the traffic outside.  It felt louder than otherwise.

There were many if’s and maybe‘s that kept popping in my head throughout the night.  If only mum had not accompanied me to Colombo, then she would have found out Dad was ill,  he may not have got ill at all, she would have been there to make sure that he took his blood pressure tablets, to make him proper meals,  maybe we should have rung him during the week, then we may have picked it up early…. The questions never got answered, just repeated on a loop. In time I have learnt not to dwell on if’s and maybe‘s, Life’s hard lessons have taught me to move on, not to dwell.  But, I was far too young then, and this was my first real lesson in life.

Peter, the (TRI) ambulance driver came over just before lunch.  Peter came early as he couldn’t sleep or stay away, he was very upset about dad too. So, the plan was to have lunch and then to head off to the specialist.  I think they were going to see a Neurologist.  My best bud (who is now my sister in law) had just heard the news and had rushed over to see us. Dad’s conversation with her highlighted even further the memory blanks.

Dad’s speech was slurring even more.  He asked me for a towel to wipe his sweaty face.  It was a hot and humid day.  Still, he was sweating way more than us.  Mum, signaled to me to see her in the kitchen.  She asked me to fetch my cousin Sulo.

She is a doctor and was home on maternity leave.  She lived next door.  When I say next door, it’s not like you open your front door and walk up to the next drive way.  I have to run down the stairs, through a passage way, through the small opening on the wall, under the water tank and finally to her back door.  (my aunt built four houses for her four daughters next to each others and created nice little “Favela”)

My cousin didn’t wait for me to finish my sentence.  She was on sprint mode.  She suspected that he was having a heart attack and ordered us to carry him down stairs and to take him to “Emergency” Hospital. She was vehement that he should not walk downstairs but to be carried.

This is when I saw the quirkiness of the ailment.  Dad became very stubborn.  While I was away to fetch my cousin, he had vomited.  But as per him, after that he felt better.  So, now he was feeling full of beans, and didn’t see the need for the fuss.  Then he reluctantly agreed to go to the hospital.  But, again didn’t see the urgency to rush.  I can still remember him having a last look at the mirror and combing his hair.  This was very unlike him.  He was not a stubborn man, nor was he fashion conscious.  But on this day he was, he didn’t want the patient tag on him.  He wanted to walk downstairs too.  But, with my begging he listened and allowed, our downstairs neighbor and friend Sri and the ambulance driver to carry him downstairs in a chair.

Mum and my cousin accompanied him to the hospital.

Cont … 

Part 1 https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/if-only-i-could-turn-back-the-clock/

Part 3 https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/if-only-i-could-turn-back-the-clock-part-3/

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stubborn/

Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 1)

dad labSixth of August 1985.  The final nail to the already crumbling state of despair.  The clock started ticking sixteen days prior to this fateful day.

I write about a lot of things, mostly things that has happened in my life.  Writing helps me to heal, vent and sometimes just to delve into happy memories and reminisce. Life for me is not just doom and gloom, after rain there is the rainbow (I give credit for this metaphor to my cousin Roy, not sure where he borrowed it from, but I think it’s a goody).  But, there is no rainbow when you lose some one close to you, just the torrential rain, eventually you are all cried  out.  You smile for the world.  You learn to cope.  You now know never to let it rain again, You lock it shut and throw the keys away.

 Many a times I have thought about writing about my dad’s passing.  I have touched on the subject a few times, but never could I completely submerge into it.  Emotions are too raw and too hard to hold back.  So, I retreat even before I start.

Nearing his 31st death anniversary, thought it is time, to talk about that phone call, the phone call that came late that evening.  Beginning of the end.

Dad was a scientist at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka.  He was well liked and admired.  Apparently he was really great at his job.  There was even a stamp that was printed with his face.  But, he was a gentle and a humble soul with a wicked sense of humour. Some of his jokes were really terrible. But we still laughed.  The Joke being terrible was a joke too.

I remember Steve Irwin’s daughter at his funeral saying “every girl thinks that their dad is the greatest, but my dad was really the greatest”. I feel the same pretty much everyday.

Year 12 exams were nearing, unfortunately after the major riots in 1983, all the Tamil ( a dialect) teachers had left Kandy and retreated back to their home town of Jaffna.  Our school was finding it hard to find replacement teachers.  The day scholars didn’t mind it as they were able to attend private tuition.  Being a boarder under the nun regime, I had no avenues to get ready for the exams.  So finally my dad decided to take me home and educate me himself, or with the help of the rest of the scientists in the place.  My subjects were Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.  TRI (Tea Research Institute) was swarming with Scientists of all those disciplines. What better place to be in than here.

One of the fundamental things we all forgot to take into account was that I was studying in Tamil and most of the residents of TRI including my dad studied these subjects in English. It was really slow going and finally, he decided to send me to Colombo (the Capital of Sri Lanka), along with my mum to get some private tuition to prepare me for the exams.

Dad would come to Colombo on the weekends.  I am trying to think back, the things we talked about or did,  he was like the male version of “Lorelai Gilmore” on “Gilmore Girls”. (Well, he didn’t sleep around switch between Luke and Christopher like a yo yo, but ..) We talked and laughed about the most stupidest things. We had the most amazing relationship.

daddy's girl

For his time and for his generation he was very progressive.  There was no taboos and restrictions, mainly reasons explained why we could take a different path. Social justice and fairness was very high on the agenda for him.  He found it hard to accept the community’s norm of the “Class” system. He didn’t think women were inferior.  He found “dowry” appalling. He didn’t just think, he believed that I was amazing.

I could write the praises of my dad for days and nights, and how much of a great human being he was. But today’s task is to write about that day when the clock turned on my mum and me.

Dad was meant to come home that Friday evening.  Dad calls to say that he was not feeling that well and has decided not to come.  Which was okay by me.  But, mum was not.  She kept saying that, “no he didn’t sound right”.  She didn’t sleep well at all.  Next morning, she decided to take the train to TRI to see dad. My cousin and I laughed at mum, we both thought she was overreacting.  But my cousin joked and said that it was true love and she should follow her instincts.

She found dad in an absolute state.  She informed the staff and soon got him in the TRI ambulance and transported him to Colombo.  Although it was called an ambulance it does not have any medical staff. It is just a glorified van. So, Dad arrived home.  Although mum rang me ahead and told me that he was not well, I didn’t picture this, at all.

He was weak and stumbled when walking.  He was still smiling and wanted to talk, wanted to talk a lot.  But nothing he said made much sense.  I could hardly recognise who this man was.  I went into the adjoining room and started to weep.  Give me back my dad.  He was fit as a fiddle last week, what happened in just a week. My mum hugged me and said “he is going to be fine”, I don’t think even she believed what she was saying.  But, she had to say something to console me, she had to be strong for her girl.  She had much to do and she couldn’t take time off to drop the ball.

You wonder why this man was in the house and not in the hospital.  Well, this was Sri Lanka. Even if you think you are going to die, you have to make an appointment with the doctor next day.  So, dad had an appointment to see the specialist next day after lunch.

Cont…

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/if-only-i-could-turn-back-the-clock-part-2/

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clock/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/admire/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/joke/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/praise/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tea/

Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

Punishment – nuns

school

If there is a word that I truly understand the meaning of, it is Punishment. Punishment and nuns were in de facto relationship.

I was born a Hindu, but was sent to Catholic Boarding School. Not because I was a naughty child or my step mum didn’t like me.  Well in fact I didn’t even have a step mum.  It just that we lived far away from any decent school.

At school and in the boarding, you are constantly preached about forgiveness and the prodigal son etc, but we were never too far away from a Punishment. At least in Hinduism, there is no such thing as absolute forgiveness.   When you think about, it’s not a very forgiving religion at all.  You will have to pay for your actions.  If you were spared in this birth, you will be hounded down and will be paying for it in your next birth or there after.  “Karma” was our favorite word.  But at least the messages were clear. If you do the crime, you pay the time. Christianity is all about forgiveness and love, and most laws in most countries are founded upon Christian beliefs.  So how does one fathom, the death sentence?  Don’t get me wrong, some vermin’s do deserve to die.  But I am not sure if we can legislate that.  Anyway I got side tracked from my story from the past.

We didn’t get caned or anything, but standing out side the class room, standing on a chair, and sometimes kneeling was all sanctioned and prescribed punishment.   Public shaming without much proof or substance was also well administered.  And our crimes could range from uniform too short, slightly turning our head to look at a boy that had just entered our school premises etc.

Time to time they would like to crack down on some major issues as well.  After school holidays,we would usually arrive at the boarding the day before the school starts.  For what ever reason some boarders, would take another extra day off and come to school a day later.  I guess the theory was that most times, the first day of school was really a fudge day as nothing happens, other than new teachers, time tables etc.  I was one of the “goody two shoes” type of kid, so religiously got to school  from the first day.

But just this once, due to unavoidable circumstances I missed the first day.  My little cousin (from my mother’s side) accidentally tipped a big pot of boiling water on to her.  I was very fond of her, she even lived with us for a little while.  Anyway she lived in a farm in a place called Mannar, a small island off the main island of Sri Lanka.  Dad and I left as soon as we heard the news.  Couple of trains, a few buses, a van, a ferry and every other vehicle was boarded to get to their house, which was in the middle of nowhere.  This is Sri Lanka, so nothing was running on time.  So, although we planned to be back on time for the school restart, it just didn’t happen with the last train cancellation.  With no sleep and proper food, we got their a few hours late to the start of the school.  I asked dad to come with me and talk to the Principal and explain.

Sister Letitia was all so sweet to dad, she even said a quick prayer for my cousin.  With a hug and a kiss dad parted (hug and the kiss was for me, maybe that’s where we went wrong).  By the time I dropped my things at the boarding, got changed into my uniform it was lunch.  So after lunch I went to school.

I did see Sister Letitia in passing.  I couldn’t say if she was happy with me or angry with me.  You couldn’t usually read her face.  So, just a nod from both of us and we went our way.

The next day dawns.  Still tired and hungry, although by now I had sat for a few meals in the boarding, I haven’t actually eaten much.  I managed to sneak in most of my food in my mug and had shoved it down the sink.  This food would is so special it would make Oliver Twist to never ask for more.  Just after eating my mum’s for a month the body was completely shutting down and refusing to eat the “boarding food”. Anyway, after the morning “hail mary” and we had forgiven our trespassers, platting my hair, looking for my pencil case, and I rush to school eventually.  Still tired, hungry and coherent.

Announcement comes that all who were not at school at 8.30am yesterday had to go to the Principal’s office.  Well, technically I was not there at 8.30 so I thought, I will just go to the Principal’s office and get the okay nod and then return to my classroom.  Well, it is the right thing to do.

So Miss Goody Two Shoes gets to the office, and is met by some casualties already, there was a row of girls knelt down in front of the library.  My goody two shoes brain is kind of very smug at this point.  “well, they should have been here,  even with all the difficulties I managed to get here.  they do this every year, I mean seriously”. Sister Letitia sees me from the end of the corridor.  She waves to me and ask me to come to her.  I don’t want to have eye contact with those who are kneeling.  I didn’t want to show that I was sympathising with them.

I smile at Sister Letitia, there was no smile back.  I start to speak, “I was here by lunch time and Dad spoke to you..”  No, I didn’t get to finish my sentence, “yes, yes, yes good story, but you can kneel down here”.  “But ..” she had already walked away.

I was so furious.  Good Story!!  did she think that my dad lied too.  What was that prayer for?  Ah! you woman on a broom stick, you two faced woman on broom sticks cousin whose name starts with a B, yes I called upon a few  (inside my head).

Did the Punishment fit the Crime?

Daily post word prompt: Punishment

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/punishment/