Thursday, August 09, 2018

...and a 90th birthday

Okay, this is the last mawkish family post for some time. It’s my dadi’s 90th birth anniversary today. As some of you know, she died in December 2016 - I had been handling her medical issues since her cardiac arrest in early 2014, but had had to neglect her somewhat in her last few months once mum’s cancer treatment began. 

Despite being 88, weak and deteriorating physically, dadi’s mind was as sharp as ever, and her resolve just as strong. In those final months, knowing how much strain mum’s condition had put me under, she decided she wouldn’t go back to hospital even if things got really bad; she managed to get a local doctor’s assistant to make home visits and help her get by with stop-gap medication. And in July 2016, though barely able to move from her bed, she somehow helped organise the enormous amount in cash that I urgently needed for mum’s spine surgery (after an oncologist had f***ed up by giving us a much lower estimate, leaving us unprepared on a weekend).

But that’s just how dadi was, one of the most resourceful people around. She was about the only person I knew who could make me feel like a bumbling, inefficient fool in comparison (*insert gratuitous Mycroft-Sherlock analogy*). I could go on about her, and I will at some other point. 

For now, two photos: this one is from when I took across the MAMI cinema-writing trophy I got for The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee - one of the last things I could do for her that made her smile. This was in late October 2016, less than two months before she went. 

And here is yours truly being held by his darling grandmother; in her usual style she has taken centre-stage, relegating to the sidelines the two characters who were more directly responsible for my existence. 

(The three adults in this pic - my immediate family - all died within a 14-month period. With two of them, deeply missed as they are, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I was there for them through all the toughest times at the end. With the third, there is a deeper wound, and much more ambivalence too. More on that some other time.)

P.S.  here's an old post about dadi -- so well-traveled in her time, so worldly-wise -- trying to wrap her head around this bizarre new thing called the internet.


  1. Your mummy is/was cutie patotie. Dad has unabrow. Dadi is so young looking with you in her arms as baby.

  2. Hello Jai
    Quick request: this is a personal note to you. If you omit posting it, it might be ok with me :-)
    You post brought tears to my eyes: I am trying to be there for my loved ones and your remark about the deep satisfaction one gets in doing so to the best of one's ability was very wise. Many of us forget that until it is too late. I wasn't there for my dad and that is a lingering regret because he was what might be considered a rarity: a loving and wonderfully supportive parent.
    Thanks for sharing this and also the post on your mom. That too was heartbreaking to read. I wish you well on your journey out of grief and sadness.

    1. Hi Sev, thanks for the comments, and apologies for late replies etc. My blog comments have really been acting up and I have not been getting notifications on email about pending comments -- so, to begin with, for several months I hadn't published a few that were pending. And now, with general busyness + the fact that a lot of these comments discussions now take place on Facebook where I share my posts, I often neglect this space.