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…

 

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

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

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 True Story, Inspirational

Childhood Amid The Tea Fields

tri

What feelings does today’s word prompt Childhood invoke in me?? Obviously my amazing childhood in the Tea Fields of Sri lanka.

For most, Sri Lanka would mean, Tropical climate, hot and humid. Well, true for most parts of the country.    The pearl of the Indian Ocean, the island called Sri Lanka has it’s Paradise set in the middle of the country.  As you travel to the middle of the country, the upcountry as they call it, you are in awe of this pure natural beauty.  With it’s typical English weather, light drizzle, Pine trees (instead of Coconut trees) and waterfall.

…..

misty ne

 

waterfall

Lush green tea fields, light mist popping out of the mountains, it is barely morning, all the little ones rugged up in jumpers and beanies, we await for the bus that takes us to our school.

This is no ordinary bus.  This bus journey, the whole experience is not the norm. This bus is owned by TRI (Tea Research Institute).  And this particular journey in the morning is just for the school kids of the TRI staff.  Somapala on the wheels and Peter (late) as conductor our parents put the trust and confidence in the two gentleman to take their precious angels to various schools in NuwaraEliya. The bus drops us in the respective schools and awaits in NE until end of school.

Driving in the hill country is not for the fainthearted, nor for the  Colombo cowboy in the flash car.  The roads are very narrow and set right on the edge of the cliff. Add to that, a thick fog makes it a very challenging drive.  But for all this unlike in Colombo or any other part of Asia, not that many accidents, but almost all prangs have been fatal.  These drivers here are extremely skilled and very professional, hence the infrequency of accidents.  They know that there is no room for error, a small error in judgement,and you are at the bottom of the cliff, looking straight at the doorsteps of judgement day.

 

My play area on the weekend was my dad’s Lab – Bio Chemistry Department.  I swapped beakers and centrifugal machines for dolls.  My Utopia.