An Ode to Aunt-in-Law

8 Sep

Rarely do we come across people who are cheerful and happy under almost all circumstances. I should probably say they exude peace and contentment unconditionally. Maybe they would have their own weaknesses, shortcomings, defects and deficiencies in character, behavior and attitude. But that’s not the point here. What they project and how they make the other person feel and what kind of atmosphere they create is praiseworthy, in spite of their flaws, if any.

One such person, I recently came to understand is one of my aunt-in-law (AiL). So, hereafter I will refer to her as A. I do not want to refer to her with the acronym AiL, like we refer to SiL (sister-in-law), BiL (brother-in-law),, MiL (Mother-in-law), FiL (father-in-law) etc, precisely because she has an AiLment and I would rather forget about it, though that is the very object of this blog post.

To respect the need of privacy for her and her family, I would rather not divulge anything much about her or her ailment, other than the fact that her ailment is quite life threatening if left unattended. But what ailment is not, one could argue. It’s not like a fever or even something serious like pox. But these are life threatening too. One of the bloggers I regularly follow lost her daughter to Dengue. You can read about it here. And I came to know about this much later, because I was absent from the computer and internet because I was attending to my son who was suffering from dengue and I came to know about her only after my DDS sufficiently recovered. I do not want to think what she underwent and how she feels now too. Strange is this world and life with its own ways which nature alone comprehends or perhaps our little knowledge of this so called life and nature is only so much that we think nature has its ways. Ah, perhaps, a silent prayer to TR, IMH’s daughter would perhaps benefit them all now.

And well, A is going through something which is more life threatening than Dengue or anything like that if not treated properly by the right people at the right time. Thankfully she is with the right people now. But my experience with her and the very idea about this blog is that, she is such a wonderful person made of steel and tenderness at the same time.

DDH had just broken the news to her of her ailment and expected fear, sorrow or any kind of negative reaction. But after the initial shock (all humans are entitled to this. Even the so called gods – Rama and Krishna had their share of sorrows and depressions, we will talk about it later) she was strangely calm and accepted what nature offered.

I visited her immediately after this news was broken to her. I meanwhile was continuously praying for her well being, because I genuinely liked her. She emanates an affection which is so pure and from the heart and the entire room she is in, fills with this thick blanket of well being. So, I was very upset that nature had chosen her of all the people in this world for such an affliction. But Paanchali, the chastest woman even with five husbands was chosen for the shocking act of public insult in the wide court. She endured it and came out of it victoriously. Karna, the greatest warrior, equal to the mighty Arjuna was insulted by everyone in his times and cursed by even his teacher Parasurama. Ekalayva, the most intelligent and smartest student had to pay his teacher’s fees in the form of his thumb after which none of his knowledge of warfare could prove useful to him. The wisest Yudhishtra lost a game of dice. With his wisdom, he should never had played dice and with his knowledge he should have somehow won it. But he did not. Yes, this world is really so strange.

So, our times are no different. In case you are wondering why I am quoting from Dwapara Yuga so proficiently, I would like to let you on, on the current book I am reading which is an author’s version of the Mahabharata, the review of which I will write soon.

So, afflictions come to the least expected and where they are present, so are benedictions too. I will tell you why I feel that way.

When I was traveling to visit A, I was all the time wondering how I was going to console her or give her the same warmth she most generously gave everyone unconditionally. How I was going to even speak to her about it? How could I justify this to her? Perhaps, she was not expecting me to give her reasons and explanations, but sitting in the same room, just 2 or 3 people, you would be forced to say something, wont you? So, I was worried about her health, worried what we all were going to speak each other, worried basically about everything. After a while, I gave up and just prayed that she be cured completely and none of the rest mattered.

 I entered the room where she was supposed to be resting in the hospital. Her daughter, lets call her S, opened the door very cheerfully as always, just like her mom, A. They invited me generously in, like they were inviting me to their own house. I entered, not sure what to say. A took control of the situation, gave me a brief about what she did during the day. She had endured some tests, all of which confirmed her ailment. She said it matter of factly and proceeded to enquire about my busy day, chided me for being such a workaholic and advised me to spend more time with DDS. After all, he was only four years old and would miss me a lot. That’s a mother and grandmother speaking. She was both. I was apologetic, but she would listen to none of it. She then counseled me to take more care of my skin since now it is scar filled the results of a very severe childhood pox attack and adolescence with embarrassing oily skin. I duly promised to give it more attention. We spoke about turmeric facials, gold and pearl facials, yoghurt creams and even about her personal beautician and how affectionate she was. She was visibly upset about the wrinkles in her forearm. I politely suggested maybe she can use a moisturizer. She said it dint seem to be working. She then went on to chide her daughter S for also not giving more attention to her skin. The topic then reared to inflation. She ranted as to how expensive brinjals and tomatoes were. I duly agreed again. So did S.

The doctor decided to pay us a visit during this time, explained that she was due to more tests the next day and left. She dint seem worried about it, though it is very normal to terrified. Maybe she was terrified deep in her heart, but I would never know. But she had the strength and resolve to stand brave against her odds, flicking them away as dust, just a nuisance and inconvenience in everyday life. She shrugged after he left indicating it to be a nuisance and repetition of what she already knew.

She never gave me an opportunity to sympathize with her. She did not want my pity. She had acceptance of what she was bestowed with, both miseries and happiness. She did not complain about it too. I know people who deserve worse things but complain of lesser things. Well, but who am I judge, I do not know the greater plan of the grand old MAN above us.

It was her dinner time and I decided to politely leave. But she would have none of it. She ordered me to have dinner with her. I thought it would be most inappropriate for me to dine with her and be a nuisance there. But she paid no attention and ordered me to eat and I did. I was most astonished by the time I was about to leave. She even told S to offer me some fruits. I stubbornly refused, because I wanted her to have them and at least get some iota of vitamins or whatever else there were in fruits.

We hardly spoke twice about her affliction. We spoke just like how we used to speak any other day. About everyday happenings, the world, life, people, things in general, just like anyone would under normal circumstances. Yes, it was strange. Because her probalme was life threatening, yet she was calm and composed and even normal and worried about me, my health, my skin and my son. She also bragged about her grandson just like any grandmother was supposed to.

I finally left. I don’t pity her at all. I admire her. That’s the only feeling I have for her and of course I salute her. A woman, under the supposed shadow of her husband, from the previous orthodox generation, she still proved that the mettle she was made of was the strongest and the grittiest. She is an honor to her family, to the people she belong. She exuded the same concern, genuine affection, warmth and love even in her moments of peril. She showed her power and grit at times of adversity. I am sure she is blessed by the Lord, because if not for such people, who else will the HE shower his benediction onto? And I have a feeling, HE gives such people these tiny miseries because it is only such people who can withstand them with all their might and prove to this world that life still goes on and even in such moments, one should still share and spread the love, the only permanent thing in the world.

May the Lord keep her in HIS heart like I feel, HE always does.

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6 Responses to “An Ode to Aunt-in-Law”

  1. RP September 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    This blog reminds me about my aunt who had a serious health problem diagnosed at an advanced stage. Unfortunately HE took her with him.

    Superb post and the contents were heavy. Hope HE takes the ailment away from your A and relives her from the pain and the sufferings.

    • The Alchemist September 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

      I am sorry about your aunt, RP. I am sure she is at peace now.

      We also hope A is relieved and gets well soon.

  2. Vidya September 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Your aunt is awe-inspiring! She probably is aware that most percentage of the healing happens because of the mind. Wishes for her recovery. This world is a blessed place because of positive people like her!

    • The Alchemist September 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

      Thanks Vidya.
      Staying happy and positive cant replace the best medicines in the world.

  3. Shalini September 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    True ka, one should have a strong mind to overcome things in life and not give up to sorrows. Else it would result in bad decisions and spoil everyone’s happiness.

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