Hope you are doing well. I have never meant that as much as I mean it today.
This week life took over.
On the evening of 24th March, around 6pm, my sister anxiously paced around the house, as I stared at my laptop trying to get some writing done. She then peeped in and said, half-worried–half-excited, “Dad is riding his new cycle all by himself, all the way home from the store.”
I nodded and didn’t make much of it.
Dad loves cycling. He cycles 6-10 kms every day and gets all his errands done. That is how he moves around in his village. The only vehicles he has ever owned are cycles. My mother rolls her eyes every time he makes a third trip the same day to get a single grocery item, but tell us in private later, “He likes to keep himself busy by making these numerous trips, so I don’t interfere.”
My dad has a fixation almost, when it comes to cycling.
So much so that when we insisted that he must get a scooter/electric cycle to make these multiple trips, he made it amply clear to us that he was not going to ride anything “electric”. He deemed electric cycles “bulky” (read: ugly). At best, he said, was willing to buy a new cycle instead of the rickety old one (a marvel in itself).
This was the new cycle he was excited to ride back home.
Back to where this email started—
My sister complained that dad’s phone was not reachable and that he had tried calling mom. I got up to check my phone.
All of this is happening in rural India; the cellular network play’s God’s role here. Some days it works in your favour, other days it works against you.
Dad’s phone wasn’t reachable. Since I am convinced that my sister is prone to panicking, I told her “Don’t spread your own panic to others. Dad’s fine. He will be here any minute.” That’s how I dealt with my own anxiety.
I went back to my desk.
Within a few minutes, my sister barged in—"Dad’s here. His chest is aching and he wants to be taken to the hospital.“
My body reacted faster than my mind and I dashed out of the house. I see my dad sitting on the low compound, bent over and somehow managing to breathe.
I grabbed my brother-in-law’s(BIL) car keys and rushed to the car. Dad just sat there, eyes glazing over, a brand new purple cycle next to him.
He seemed like he was fading.
My sister and I got him to walk slowly and put him in the back of the car. My BIL dropped his meeting midway and rushed to us. He drove and I kept an eye on dad in the back.
Dad looked bad; severely in pain.
Dad somehow managed to give us directions. We didn’t know his village like him, he had to tell us where and how to go. We reached the hospital. He was rushed to the emergency.
Within minutes, we learnt that dad had suffered a massive heart attack.
A part of me stood there stunned.
A part of me made phone calls and further arrangements with my BIL.
After cycling for two kilometres on this new cycle, dad had developed severe chest pain and brought the cycle home in a rickshaw. My sister’s panic was right. My worst fears had come true. Dad had suffered a heart attack without anyone around him in the middle of the village.
I’ll cut the long story short for this email—they injected blood thinners, he survived that night, underwent an angioplasty day before yesterday and got discharged today. The doctor said that luckily his heart hasn’t sufferred much damage. He will recover and be back to normal in a month’s time (three stents in).
He made it.
And he is sound asleep in the room next to me, as I type.
When I opened my laptop to write this email, the tabs from when I ran out four days ago, were still open. It feels unreal to imagine how things were then and how things are now. I’m unsure if it has fully sunk in yet.
As I try to make sense of the past four days, only one thing comes to my mind—how fragile life is.
I’m grateful dad is around.
I leave you with this ‘welcome note’ my nephew made for my dad. In expressing his love for his grandfather, it seems like my nephew has given him enough hearts to ensure there are no more heartaches for a life time.
I hope the same for dad.
Have a peaceful week.