Thursday, February 04, 2010
My first brush with Angina came when I was just 24 years old-----one fine day I just fainted----out of the blue---and the ECG revealed that I had an Angina problem----I was supposed to take things easy!!!
Now picture this---if a person who weighed 52 kgs. bloats to 70 Kgs in a space of three years---the extra weight is bound to make a difference.The archaic ECG machines of the time were not very accurate either---but the diagnosis was Angina---and that was that.Then began a period which lasted for three months----I was badly scared and didn't want to die-----my daughters were just babies!!!Earlier I'd merrily play "Tabla" (Indian Percussion Instrument)while spanking them on their bums-----now I'd kiss them"Good Night" and cuddle and coddle them all the time-----each day wondering whether I'd be there the next morning or not to see them again!!!
Our Family Doctor was also a Heart Specialist---he put me on a strict diet----boiled Food, Skimmed Milk,plenty of Salads----the tasteless cycle began-----it was terribly difficult for me to stick to this Diet---I lived to EAT!!!Sudhir was pretty supportive and Atya( my Ma-in-Law) arranged for a 24 hour domestic help named Tulsi Bai who'd live with us and do the cooking as well.This lady was an expert in making fabulous "Koshimbirs"(Salads) and so I went on a diet.I also had a part time domestic help named Bhagirathi who had been with us for 3 years.She was one of my staunch supporters-----she couldn't stand anyone talking ill of me.
Now Tulsi Bai was in the habit of complaining long and loud about everything and anything all the time.She had worked with her previous employers for 30 years and because their son had taken them to the USA permanently to stay with him she'd had to take up this job.This loss of familiar surroundings had put her nose out of joint.I ignored her because I felt I needed her---she was a fabulous Cook---she looked after my children well---so ignoring her complaints was the best thing to do----very practical!!!!
One day I was a bit under the weather---I used to be constantly starved and hungry---whatever I ate would go God alone knows in which corner----this made me peevish and irritable!!That afternoon I had taken my medication and was just drifting off under it's influence when I heard Bhagirathi's raised voice----I literally dragged myself out of bed to go see why she was shouting so hysterically. It seems Tulsi Bai had asked a question which Bhagirathi found objectionable----the Question was"if this woman dies---where am I supposed to run for help with this child (Sayali) hanging around my neck?"This incensed Bhagirathi"you're talking about my Tai like that????How dare you????"I reached just in time to prevent a free for all.
This literally opened my eyes----I told Tulsi Bai to sit out in the Balcony while I quietened poor Bhagirathi who by then was bawling away loudly----made some Tea for all of us and sat both the women down.I then firmly but coollly told Tulsi Bai that I was not the reason why her earlier employers went away and that hereafter I wouldn't take anymore of her complaining because I was firing her---there and then.She could sit in the balcony till Sudhir came home and after he'd had his dinner we'd drop her to her son's home in Girgaum.Till then she was free to do whatever she wanted---except doing any work in MY home---that was that!!!
Bhagirathi volunteered to work for me for 12 hours---and I willingly accepted----she was a good honest person who loved my kids and me---better than Tulsi Bai anyday!!!
Anyway I cooked the Dinner that day and at night we dropped Tulsi Bai to her son's place---she was contrite but both Sudhir and I were firm about not keeping her on.We came back home and I opened my medicine chest----removed all my pills with the exception of a bottle of Sorbitrate-----and flushed the entire lot down the Toilet.Sudhir was aghast----but I had made up my mind."I promise you I won't die as long as you need me" I said"but no more talk of my not being well or whatever---that chapter's closed!!!"
After this dramatic statement I marched to the 'Fridge---took out a bowlful of Okra Bhaji swimming in Oil,mixed in some Steamed Rice and sat and gorged-----I still remember that feeling of satisfaction---then with a beatific smile I went to bed---without kissing my daughters---I was alive again!!!
The next day I took charge of my Life again--eating as I pleased,lifting and moving heavy things,playing Tabla on my daughters bums for their mis demeanors---it was as if this period hadn't existed.The Angina turned out to be Ischemia---but it hit me32 years later---till then I'd lived a hearty,healthy life----and forgotten completely about this!!!