Monday, July 27, 2015

Beach date

"It was such an unexpected and lovely day; I just had to make the most of  it" said D."So we got into the car and went down to the beach together."
This attitude, of 'making the most' of  an available day and taking your love out for a date is a wonderful trait in anyone. But perhaps a little more so in D's case.
D's love is the lady I had written about earlier. The lady with the lovely smile and with the advanced dementia. D did not consider it a lovely day because of the  weather, but because she was awake and 'present'.
So he got her dressed, into her wheelchair, out of it and into the car, into the wheelchair again,and to an accessible boardwalk where the two of  them sat quietly looking at  the sea. After a couple of hours, he repeated the whole process in reverse.
When we met them a week later, he spoke with great happiness of the lovely day they had. We spoke  with her, "D told us you went to the beach. Did you have a good time?" Her face lit up. She nodded once, twice. Reached for his hand and stroked it.
These two have so much to teach me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What is my core?

The thing I fear most for myself is dementia. More than illness, more than poverty, more than death even. It is dementia. The absolute incapacitation, the dependence, the being trapped in myself. And so far, I have told myself that it is because I don't want to be a burden to those that love me. I don't want to suck their lives into my care. I don't want them to pay the price of having loved what I once was.

But  now I am asking myself if that is what motivates my fear.

I know a woman with dementia. She once was a woman who sang and danced and charmed everyone who came into her life. Now, like the Cheshire Cat, she has faded away till all that is left is her smile. But what a smile that is! A smile for everyone sees and a warm clasp of the hand. Mian and I can spend  hours holding hands with this  warm woman and reflecting her smile.

I know other people suffering from this too. And no, dementia does not transform everyone into smiling beings. Mostly it is paranoia that presents itself; sometimes anger, sometimes regrets.

Maybe this  is what scares me. If I were to fade away, how sure can I be that the last thing that is left of me is a smile?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jaane do

I was travelling in Bihar with a man I respect greatly. He was telling me about a man HE respects.

"He's had a hard deal. His only son is mentally disabled and cannot work. So the old man has to support him."
I commiserated.
And then my host went on to explain that he wanted to introduce me to this gentleman, but he was out of station.
"He has gone to visit his grandchildren. They are in boarding school."
I expressed regret at missing my opportunity, and then did a doubletake.
"Grandchildren? But I thought the son was the only child?"
"Yes"
And then, forgive my inquisitiveness, the question slipped out.
"Was the bride informed before the wedding?"
In answer I got an irritated flicking of the wrist and the phrase "Woh jaane do. Let that go."

And I did this time around. But that got me thinking of how very often I'd heard that phrase or its many variants.

Let it go. Why do you need to ask such things? Let it go. This is  not one of your fancy books, real life is like this only. Let it go. You are too western. Let it go. How did you become so negative? Let it go.
I am tired now.It is time we stopped letting it go.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I hate being ill.

Not just for the discomfort of having a cough, but for all that it entails. For the last four days, I've had an epic cough. The dry, racking cough that has you bent over and trying desperately to bring up that something that makes your lungs feel like stone. The cough that  makes your ribs ache, the blood vessels in your head stand out and your eyes to turn bloodshot. The cough that has you continually smelling of Vicks Vaporub and ginger powder. THAT cough.
Now, I could have lived with that if it were not for the timing. After two weeks of being apart, Mian and I had planned to meet for half a day. After that, the next 'together' time is the middle of March. And so, this was a supposed to be a fun day-nudge nudge, wink wink. Hah. Read the first paragraph again.
It's not just this day, of course. Before he left, I had tonsilitis. If not my throat, it 's my back. I want to be his sunshine, not his patient! Bless him, HE is eternally patient and kind and understanding. But that is not the situation I want. Is that too much to ask? I hate this.
And doctors don't understand when you tell them you'll come to them for a treatment next week, but right now you want a mask for your symptoms. Grump  Grump  Hack.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Snow at home

We were all worrying about drought this winter. The middle of December and not a drop of rain. The oats were looking sad, and the roses were wilting despite my best efforts. And then one evening, clouds gathered. Saturday morning, we woke to heavy snowfall. That was a cold, cold day and Mian and I sat huddled in front of the bukhari.
Sunday, we woke to Paradise.
View across the valley

Lemon leaves and snow
Pine forest

Fruit orchard and pond

My 'office'. Now too cold to work in

Our lemon tree and neighbours

Front yard

More front yard. there are roses under there somewhere!

More landscape


We might not have had electricity. But we had our bukhari, and each other, and it was paradise..

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The garden in winter

We had our first frost yesterday. It's still light, just enough to make the parsley pretty but not enough to kill it.
but the frost covers went up over the lavender. A deep mulch and a hut should keep off the worst of the frost. I hope.
Yesterday G and I noticed that our  rye is being chomped. And today I caught the culprits- two flocks of maybe 20 birds. The chap who looks like he's wearing a bandit mask is the White-crested Laughing Thrush, his partner is the White-throated Laughing Thrush. Thieves, both. 
When it's this cold, we are glad for anything that looks warm. Like the persimmon tree.
And this is the time to bottle sunshine for late winter.
Jars of lemon marmalade. Lemons from our tree, the recipes here and here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In which Madhu and Chicu try to be smooth.

It began when the normally laughing-faced Madhu bounded up with something hidden in her mouth and lay down with her back to me. She covered her mouth with her paws and silently played with whatever was in her mouth. It was clearly A Very Big Secret.

'Whatcha got there, little one?' I asked from my chair.'What did you find?'

'Oh look!' She turned around with her usual laughing mouth and showed me the disreputable bone she'd found.So much for Keeping A Secret.

Turns out, I know where she got that from. A little after the bone incident, this happened.

I melted our food processor bowl.

Don't ask how, these things happen regrettably too often in my life. Mian must be told, but I would be smooth about it, I decided. And so I sent him a chatty text message about how much we love each other, above all material things. I got a reply in a few seconds. 'I love you too, what broke?'

Smooth, Chicu. Very smooth.

Madhu and I are lucky we have such forgiving families. She got to keep her bone, and I am getting a new processor bowl.