My Daddy, the Unsung Hero of My Life
My Daddy, the Unsung Hero of My Life
“How are you, Mr. Ghosh?”
Almost immediately a reply comes, “I am evergreen.”
That’s my Bapi (dad), who looks at life eye-to-eye even at the ripe age of 75 years.
My Growing Up Years
Growing up, I have known him to be simple, honest, introverted, hard-working, and reserved. Once, when I had typhoid and the doctor came to put injection, Bapi excused himself from the room and went to the vegetable market! Surprised, I later asked my mom why did Bapi leave my side, to which she answered, he is afraid of syringes and cannot see his daughter in pain. That day, I understood the soft side of my dad.
We had our share of fights and arguments but they always used to end up with my dad buying me Dairy Milk. While I attribute my fear of Maths to my dad as I used to get scolding almost always, I know that I inherited my love for coffee and phuchka (pani puri) from him. Amidst many failures, he has always encouraged me to follow my heart. He being a lawyer has never forced me to follow his path but has always wanted me to create my own.
I being an only child is very pampered by my dad and continue to be so. However, a pampered child is not always tampered. I remember not getting any pocket money when my friends used to get theirs. When I asked my dad why he doesn’t give me any pocket money, his prompt answer was he wants me to be independent and earn for myself. Looking back, I feel I couldn’t agree more with him.
2011 Onwards Till Present
My life changed forever since July 2011. My mom underwent brain tumor operation on 9th July 2011. The tumor could not be removed fully as it would have been a life risk for mom, hence a small part remained behind, which had to be treated with a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. While I was with mom for her first couple of sessions, I had to return to Bangalore to re-join my office, so that I continue to help them financially. That time onwards I saw my superhero emerge to fight back and give a befitting reply to life’s atrocities. Initially, he cried incessantly and took time to accept that mom has cancer. While being vulnerable, he taught himself to be mom’s primary caregiver- a journey that was to continue for 8 years.
The brain tumor operation and the treatment that followed thereafter made mom wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life. Dad remained with her like a shadow, a true protector. The person who was afraid of syringes now gave mom her regular dose of insulin! In the words of Bapi, “Life teaches you everything.” Every time I called my parents or visited them, Bapi was always ready with his can-do attitude and a reassurance, “We are fine, my sweet mamoni. You concentrate on your career and keep sending positive thoughts.” I shall never forget those golden words. I know it takes real guts to utter those words when you are having a testing time.
Slowly, he started going out to his chamber for a couple of hours, leaving mom at the care of a 24/7 nurse. After returning, he used to have dinner with ma while listening to Rabindrasangeet and sometimes recited his favorite Bengali poems. Finally, after 5 chemo and 22 radio sessions, my mom got a fit to fly certificate from her oncologist and came to Bangalore to meet me. I was pregnant with my first child at that time and having my parents at that time made me feel on top of the world! I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
Life was going on until the tumor decided to come back in January 2019. Mom was too weak to take another round of chemotherapy and her oncologist said that chances of survival were very less. Finally, mom left for her heavenly abode in May 2019 and from that time till now, an ongoing struggle has again started. An unfathomable loss, loneliness, a feeling of emptiness has engulfed my dad. My mom’s smile (in spite of her pain) was the sunrise for my dad, her voice was music to his ears. Now, he is trying to live with her spiritually, always, in all ways…