That day when mom had a minor heart pain and I rushed from the office to take her to the emergency room of Fortis hospital, was the last day of my corporate life. She was diagnosed with four blocked arteries.
Having lost my father to a stroke just five months before this, and faced with mom’s then heart condition was actually turning out be a life changing moment for me as a 28-year old. Dad’s going from our lives had obviously left a void in our lives. Mom went into depression, with the load of old age and ill health, coupled with the responsibility of two well over the “marriageable-age” daughters.
We had to stand up as grown-up, responsible daughters for our mom, to make her feel that dad may left but not his “sanskars” (values). I decided to take a break from my career and let my elder sister go ahead with her job. Four months into this scenario, my family suggested I get back to working, as this was greatly hampering my prospects of getting married, you know, the “complete package” girl had went missing and suddenly a “bechari” (poor and helpless), “fatherless” girl had replaced her. Though I took this whole thought purely as a mental block, my family fell prey to the societal psyche. Under family pressure, I contacted some of my old colleagues and fortunately landed with a decent job with one of my previous employers, another Research and Consulting firm. Happy was my mom and my sisters, and not so happy was I to leave my mom behind. We all know each other so well, I knew she hadn’t fully recovered from dad’s loss and wasn’t also in the pink of her health. But as they say, life has to move on. I took up the new job.
Just two months into the new job, still trying to get accustomed to the new team and new working environment, one day at work I called up mom to check on her health. She had been feeling unwell that morning when I left for office. As my sister was on an official tour, me and my mom were the only two at home. I asked mom that I take a leave from office and take her to the doctor, but she was adamant on me going. When her condition did not appear to improve, my then 65 year old mom braved her way to a nearby healthcare centre for a health check, feeling all dizzy and nauseous all through her stride. The doctor checked her BP, which was alarmingly high at 210 bpm and suggested her immediate admission into the emergency of a hospital.
I got to know about this and there I was frantically rushing home the very next moment. My office colleagues were extremely supportive I must say.
That day, I felt myself lost and found at the same time. Lost because for a moment thoughts about losing my second parent, my closest pal, clouded my mind and found because there I was with my head on shoulder, making every possible effort to save my mom and get her to a safe harbour, the nearest possible hospital.
Eventually, all my family gathered, my mom underwent angiography and four arterial blockages were detected, a condition straight away suggesting a bypass surgery. We decided to shift mom to Fortis Escorts for the heart surgery.
The bypass surgery was successful and mom was admitted to the recovery room in an unconscious state. Only one person was allowed to see her from the family that day. My sisters chose me to visit mom just after the operation, their suddenly grown up kid sister, whose prompt decision they believed saved mom’s life.
The moment I entered the recovery room, I saw my mom’s calm and ever patient face and tears welled up in my eyes. She was on ventilator, unconscious and unaware of her all new self, a perfect heart post surgery. I felt happy for seeing her recovering and sad, slightly taken aback from the sudden turn of events in our life.
But as they say everything happens for good, and that God helps those who help themselves. My calling up mom the previous day while in office to check about her health was one such experience. When I called her, she was waiting to be called in the doctor’s room. While talking to me, the doctor called her and she hurriedly went in the room without disconnecting my call. I overheard their conversation to understand that it was an emergency situation and thus, I rushed.
Mom started recovering well and after a week’s stay in the hospital, was discharged, though with three months of complete bed rest and a whole list of eating, hygiene and health precautions.
Then started even more trying times for me and my sister, who happens to be over 10 years elder to me and my second best pal in the world. Both of us made every single effort to get mom, our only reason for living a happy family life, up and running in those three months. We overlooked people’s advices of hiring a medical attendant for her and get on with our jobs. While didi (read elder sister) kept managing her job and home very well at the same time, I decided to call it quits on the career front, as somebody had to stay back and attend mom. We decided to give her each and every comfort she required, without any external help.
Just few months back I was the most carefree, career-oriented, so-called smart, working woman, a perfect combination of beauty with brains, marriage material the “sarwagun sampanna” bahu (“complete package” daughter-in-law material) as most people perceived. And here I was today, no job, no social life, no shoulder to rest my head on to cry, just the whole new, strong, responsible me, completely focused on getting things in order at home.
This was over three years back. But till today I have no grudges whatsoever about taking a decision on my career and focusing completely on being a homemaker. No matter what people say about me being a complete fool leaving a job with a handsome package and decent position, the state I would have left my home each day thinking that my home is in a mess, in a way transferring all that worry to mom, would have been much disagreeable to me than doing any boring household work. I have seen both worlds, home and office, and completely agree that each one has its own challenges and benefits. It’s absolutely a person’s decision where he/she wants to be. For me, priority was home.
Here I am, having come a long way, from one point in life where I thought life without a serious career is hell, to the other where I have come to being called a typical homemaker. Calling yourself a homemaker becomes even more questionable when you tell someone that you are not a mom, who took an extended maternity leave to take care of her bundle of joy; it gets even worse when you tell that you are not even married, and are still single, without a job! (OMG, poor thing, her life is ruined, who will marry her). Please! Give me a break for heaven’s sake. Calling myself a homemaker is completely out of choice and I am an educated, financially independent woman, who, in time of need or otherwise at her own will, can land up with a job anytime she wants. But, when it’s about priorities and the choices you wish to make. I chose what I thought was perfect for me.
More than that, staying at home gave me oodles of time to invigorate my long lost talents and hobbies, I now find the time to read books at leisure, I listen to my favourite music anytime I want, I can sleep as long as I want to, I workout everyday to stay fit, I can go shopping on weekdays, avoiding the madding weekend rush, and above all I don’t have unreasonable deadlines to meet every single day. Phew! What a relief!
Being at home, managing each and every chore, be it paying bills, going grocery shopping, making chapattis, cooking curries to get “yummy” feedbacks, doing the dishes, etc., may not be the most exciting alternatives over a professional career for anyone, but seeing that bright smile of relief and contentment on mom’s face, saying out loud, “After all she is my daughter, the complete woman”, are the little perks that keep up my zest for life and satiate my conscience that after all I am growing in the field called life.