Accidents Happen

My memory of my father’s accident is faulty. I don’t remember the time or what I was wearing or where exactly it happened.

My memory of my father’s accident is faulty. I don’t remember the time or what I was wearing or where exactly it happened. I remember bits of it from the day, like the fact that I was sitting and doing some math problems while my tutor stepped outside our little library for a smoke. I remember him telling me that my father had had an accident and I remember laughing a laugh of disbelief because my father was superman. Superman barely gets hurt on krypton, let alone earth.

What my mother was going through that day or months afterwards, I have no clue. She was there around us, managing things, figuring out how to get my father to a hospital without worsening his spinal cord injury, getting my uncle and aunt to babysit us while she went away with my father to Delhi. I remember it as if I was in a daze. I remember it as if these were incidents spanning a few hours but of course they weren’t. It probably took days to figure out where and how to transport my dad. Clothes, money, care for the six kids left on their own couldn’t possibly have been done in a span of few hours.

After my parents came back from the hospital (it must have been months but I don’t really remember), life went back to normal. That was the amazing thing. My father went back to running his hospital; my mother went back to the innumerable committees that she was on. Visitors poured in asking them how they were and they responded with a “Very well, how are you?” thinking it no more than a conversation starter. Few things were rearranged in the house to give my father an obstacle free run in the house. He lowered his operating table to get better access to his patients. We invented wheel chair racing and crutch fighting to amuse and familiarise ourselves with them. Life was the same, sort of, and there was no longer any need to worry or be scared.

However there was one change in our lives which irked me no end and that was how their prayers took a lot of their time. Separately they sat after their bath and read scriptures or recited shlokas almost as if hypnotized. I was jealous of God. I wanted all the attention that was being showered on God and that too, not for doing something good but for making a brilliant, kind, simple man go through something hellish. I think my black and white idea of justice must have taken root from this, what I saw as complete injustice.

It is only now; when I have a slightly better understanding of the world do I understand why my parents needed to look towards God for strength. It was upward delegation so that they could smoothly execute the more manageable tasks of raising us. They sought solace and maybe a respite from the big changes their life had gone through by seeking god with a single mindedness. Their spiritual outlook soothed us subconsciously because we didn’t see our parents worried or sad, it rid us of our fears of having something untoward happen to us at any time. We drew strength from their calmness.

A lot of words come to mind when I look at my parents: resilient, optimistic almost to annoyance, old, pushy, traditional, crazy. My parents are as different as chalk and cheese and yet together they are formidable forces who have managed to raise a large family and continue to support us as parents, friends, advisors and mentors. I am thankful to my parents for having established such a strong connection with God that I almost have a free pass with Divinity. I hope someday I will be able to spiritually lead my family to make the world a better place, just as my parents strive to do till today.

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