It was 30th of July. Exactly 60 days that Papa had a stroke. He has recovered a lot since then. He has started walking with a stick in his left hand (his right hand still doesn't do much) though he cannot speak well. In fact, it is his inability to speak that has created trouble for me and mom in looking after him. Mom so much expects him to lie on the bed like a patient and just be fed when required, take medicines, attend the physiotherapy and speech therapy sessions and keep lying on the bed at other times. But Papa is papa after all. He cannot speak, right, but he can think and that too a at a razor sharp speed.
It has been only two weeks that we came to Bokaro from Delhi and Papa remembers all the stuff at home, right to the exact longitude and lattitude of that stuff. And he doesn't keep the information to himself. He would call us close and then start indicating at some corner of house where some important (or mostly unimpportant) stuff is lying. That day, he suddenly started tried saying something. Mom was in the kitchen. I was caught alone. Talking to Papa is like playing dumb charades. There is no word, only random sound with emotional modulations and we are to keep guessing. Sometimes he'll say "haan" and we'll pump the air and or else he'll say "Nahiiii" and we'll keep trying. More often than not, our failed attempts result in him crying and then we try various means to calm him down.
So I started guessing. 'Is it Diary?'
'Ok. Is it something you want me to bring?'
'So do you want me to call someone?
'Ok. whom should I call.'
Then he started saying something which didn't make any sense. He then pointed out to the other room. I brought every little thing that could have a phone number written on it. But he didn't find the name he was looking for. Frustrated, he decided to search himself.
I got another chance to walk him. He stood up, held his stick and started walking to another room (which used to be his bedroom before the stroke). He found his shirts hanging by a hanger. He left the stick, stood without any support and started searching all pockets of his half a dozen shirts hung there. He finally got few bills. He took them, walked to the bed and sat down. He then segregated a bill of a jeweler and said. "Haan"
I saw the bill. I remembered that this was some shopping we had done almost ten days before papa's stroke. I asked him if the payment was due.
I then checked that the bill had 'paid' written over it. I guessed that is it the bangles that we had given him for polishing that he hasn't returned.
My mom then popped in and told that those bangles were brought back by papa the next day itself. Then what was it. Papa pointed towards the mobile. 'Oh, so you want me to call the jeweller?"
"Haan" (with a big smile) We had finally won the first round of the dumb charades.
I found a landline number on the bill. Called it. 'Number does not exist'. Papa starts fuming. I promise him I'll go to the jeweller and get his mobile number. But then what was I supposed to talk to him, that was still not understood.
Papa went into crying and it took us a couple of hours to calm him down. We got all the jewelry of the house in front of him to assure that all was in place. He got more irritated. I then said that i am going to the jeweler right now. He stopped crying and almost said "Jaao"
I went out of the house. It was too hot and sunny outside. I roamed on the road for five minutes and came back saying to him the shop was closed. He found my cheating. He got very angry. Somehow we passed the day.
In the evening, he gathered himself back, called me towards him with utmost love on his face and started saying something. I guessed, 'Jeweler?' and bingo, he was still on this. I finally decided I'll listen to him. I went out to the jeweler's shop which was at about fifteen minutes walk. The jeweler was shocked to know of papa's illness and said he would come down to the house the very next day. I also took his mobile number and came back. I told papa that I have asked the jeweler to come home and you can ask him directly whatever you require. He thought I was still cheating. I had to call the jeweler and get him to speak to papa, only then did he believe me.
Next day, we had to go to the hospital. The jeweler came to our house, found it locked and went back. However, during the afternoon, mom started her usual gupshup and told me how Papa had said that if I clear IAS this time, he would offer a gold flute to Lord Krishna on Janmashtami. Last year, my mom had promised a silver flute if I clear UPSC. I had got IRS and the silver flute promise was fulfilled. Papa, being himself, thought that had mom promised a gold flute, I would have got IAS. He promised Krishna that if I get IAS, he would present him a gold flute.
Mom was saying that now that Papa is not well, we'll wait for him to get well. Suddenly papa jumped up from bed and started saying something. Two months of dumb charades had made us good by now. We immediately realized that this is what he was telling us the previous day. To call the jeweler and ask him to make the flute. I immediately called the jeweler. He came to see us in ten minutes and told him that he had come yesterday.
When we told him about the flute, he said that Papa had already told him about the plan and he would get it made soon. Papa smiled and saw me and mom with a smirk on his face, as if saying, "You fools, you two thought that I am sick. Look, I am still on my plans."
Mom couldn't stop smiling and I had tears in my eyes. Papa, I know you'll speak one day and will run the house on your own. You are not someone who gets dependent on near ones. Had you not offered Lord Krishna the golden flute, he wouldn't have made me an IAS. We'll fulfill your promise and with Krishna's grace, you'll walk up to the temple yourself to make the offering.
I could not imagine that even in this condition, he is so excited about my IAS and he is so concerned. And I was thinking I am taking care of him. I was wrong. I am still a kid. Baap to aap ho mere. :)