17th September 2002 had been a changing period in my life. On this day I transformed from a boy to man. My father had come to stay with me and also visit my younger sister as she had been married in Delhi. We decided to get a complete check-up done in Sitaram Bharti Hospital as my father is diabetic. On consulting – the reports suggested that he should go for an angiography as dad might have a blocked artery.
I couldn’t believe it was true and hadn’t heard of it before. We admitted dad to Escorts Heart Institute. Dad went inside after getting into the hospital gown. It was 1:00 PM and Naina was too besides me. She stood by me and supported me. She finally had to leave at 6:00 PM – It wasn’t feasible for her to stay beyond 6. And then I was all alone. Finally at 8:30 PM – I was called and Doctor suggested that we should go for angioplasty. Dad had tears in his eyes – I didn’t know how to react – I was nervous. For me heart operations and cardiac problems were only meant for affluent people and to be seen in movies. We decided that we will get bypass surgery done.
I called up my elder brother and reached escorts the next day at 5:00 AM from Mumbai. Dad was discharged and we went home. We didn’t share details with Mom as she was in Siwan. We consulted doctors and 30th September was decided for the surgery. Mom was to reach on 30th September and she was clueless about his surgery.
The next 13 days had been more like a nightmare. During afternoon siesta, if ever my dad stopped snoring – I would jump to see if everything was alright. Those 12 nights had been very long. I tried ensuring that Dad has healthy food.
Gradually we shared the news with others and most of my relatives were furious for not consulting them. I was amused and irritated – I wasn’t in a position to talk to anyone and all I looked for support was from my elder brother and Naina. Mom reached on 30th and was shocked to learn about the operation. I comforted her and she said – “Beta aaj to tum bahut bade ho gaye ho” My dad’s health and recovery was at the top of my mind – I wanted to do everything for him.
Finally the day arrived 1st Oct 2002- My dad was very calm – He waived his hands with a smile on his face and still full energy. I am so proud of him and wish to be a great dad for Namann – Like my dad has always been. After 6 hours of operation – doctors shared that it was successful and we can meet him. I was shocked to see him unconscious and monitors indicated a rapid heartbeat. Doctors comforted stating that this is natural and we needn’t worry. We refused to go to any hotel and slept in the hospital floors.
Next morning I was the first to see my dad. He was drowsy. Doctor asked him” yeh kaun hai” He said ” mera beta hai. iska naam sonu hai” I was thrilled – yet sad as I could see that Das was feeling weak. We stayed in Dharamshala for the next 15 days. Neeraj Bhaiya and Bhabhi stayed with us. Bhabhi cooked for all of us. I owe a lot to them. Dad had become very irritated and he would end up shouting at us. However we maintained our calm and pacified him at every step.
I shifted from Katwaria Sarai to Vasundhara to ensure that I take proper care of him. Also wanted to be closer to the hospital as well. Dad recovered quickly and at the end of 4th month, he went back to Siwan. I am very emotional – yet all through these months – I didn’t cry – All I did was take care of my dad.
Naina had been with us all throughout. Her emotional support mattered a lot. She was in her 1st Semester of MBA. She skipped her classes to support me. She is and will always be an important part of my life. I believe she always understands what I need – as if she can read my mind. My parents initially were very hesitant and didn’t approve of our relationship. However, after this incident, before leaving for Siwan, my dad said, “beta chahe kuch bhi ho jaye, yehi ladki meri bahu honi chahiye”