Friday, January 01, 2010

Tell me please...

Recently, Vallyamma (mother-in law) and my husband went to visit a few friends and relatives whom they had not seen for a long time. One of these, were a geriatric couple who were living on their own in their home in a small town. Of course they had house help without whom they wouldn't have been able to manage. Their children were all scattered in different places though they would visit from time to time.

The husband was 99 years old and the wife was in her early 80's. The husband was relatively hale and hearty while the wife was bedridden and totally alzheimic. Vallyamma and my husband were amazed to see the joviality of the husband ( I shall refer to this couple as U'ettan and k'edthi- as how my mil calls them ).

U'ettan received them with joy and announced to the house-help to cook lunch. He took them inside to meet K'edthi who had been reduced to a mere shadow of her former self. Her gaze was vacant and vallyamma had a tough time controlling her emotions as images of her former energetic times flitted before her eyes. U'ettan on the other hand sat beside his wife, holding her hands, caressing her palms talking to her as if she understood everything. He informed her of who had come to see her, talking continously, caressing her fingers all the time. They had always been a very loving couple and when I heard about their present circumstances, I could not help wondering if he did not miss his wife and companion.

Vallyamma said that U'ettan had no complaints or grievances. He expressed that he had spent a very happy life with his wife and that he was grateful he was healthy enough to look after her at this stage. He mentioned that he had not been able to take care of his mother during her last years and this was how he was making amends. He also said that he would like to leave the world only after his wife went! He consoled vallyamma who seemed visibly upset, that atleast K'edthi was in no pain physically. He said he did not feel lonely and kept himself occupied reading, keeping company to his wife. Every evening he would take the wife for a small ride in the car with the assistance of the house help and the driver. The house help and the driver too took care of the old couple in a most loving and sincere way. U'ettan said that he was lucky to have the help of these good people.

U'ettan used to be a school teacher and he has students in all strata of society who still remember him with gratitude and affection. U'ettan recounted anecdotes from his past which were inspiring and interesting.
Vallyamma and my husband who had entered U'ettan's home with mixed feelings took leave of the patriarch rejuvenated and inspired.

When I heard about this amazing person, his zest for life and the unconditional love for his wife, I wished I had been able to meet him, talk to him... to experience the positivity and liveliness of this grand old man! I would've liked to ask him to share the secret of his enthusiasm for life.

Thought bubbles

I'm not in the mood to blog at all. Have not been since a long time now. Not that I've not tried to coerce words of my thoughts- because thoughts have continued to rise and fall, but something is missing. Something that doesn't have a name or a definition.

Today, I type words just as is, on to the 'compose blogpost' directly. I try not to ponder, not to wait for the words to emerge. I'm trying to let my fingers do the composing...

Another morning and yet there is a difference. There used to be a time when one used to wait in eager anticipation for the next year. Now, again something is different. There is a sense of misgiving, a vague unrest, fear about passing years. Its not about age, wrinkles or grey hair only. It is about slowly reaching the edge of something which has no beyond. It is about coping with life's uncertainities which are certain to follow. Its a feeling of the ground below slowly slipping away from under your feet- it is about being pushed further on...towards a horizon I know not. It is about unfamiliar sights and sounds and sensations...ahead as well as behind me. It is about forgetting to linger in the present and letting the shadow of the future mar the light of now. In spite of trying to grab new experiences, seeking things to look forward to, still there is a feeling of time running out...there is acceptance and yet there is a question mark. There is a feeling of 'whats the point anyway'? These thoughts are not deliberate- they're uninvited guests whom I do not want to welcome into the threshold of my mind and yet they remain waiting at the door. Even if I slam the door shut, I know they're there on the other side. I can hear them...waiting...

I'm not sad, I'm not gloomy, I try to laugh aloud, but I can hear the hollowness in my laughter. I'm reading, I'm singing, I'm dancing, I'm talking, I'm laughing, I'm loving, and yet...I'm not quite here completely. Every moment , every experience, every thought, exist while reminding me of transience.