The Saga Of The Chair.

It all started in December 2008. My father had just moved in with us and prior to his arrival, we had arranged for a brand new bed for him, and placed the most comfortable arm chair in the house in his to be room. After the initial eupohria of the new surroundings, after a few days, he wanted to change the chair in his room. He tried every chair in the house and was not satisfied. We took him shopping to more than a dozen furniture shops and also to an exhibition of furniture that was going on then, and he would not be satisfied.

Ranjan’s friend Mel thought that perhaps a chair that she had at home which she was looking to discard would suit him and got it relocated to our place. He decided that he would be comfortable on it if some alterations could be made and some cushions were added. I promptly arranged for a carpenter to come over and make the alterations and an upholsterer to take measurements and make the necessary cushions. He settled down finally to using that chair, which he claimed was a compromise, as exactly what he wanted, he had abandoned at his previous place of residence. I offered to get that shipped if he would speak to the people currently in possession of that, but he demurred.

After his recent illness, he again started off complaining about the discomfort in the chair, and the whole process started all over again. Ranjan went so far as to go over to a friend’s furniture shop and mail photographs of what he thought would be perfect and after seeing the photographs, my father agreed that he would be comfortable in the one that Ranjan had chosen.

It was lugged and installed in his room, and the old converted chair shifted to the drawing room by replacing my favourite chair about which I had written earlier. Since that chair is foldable, I simply folded it down and shoved it below my bed till such time as when it can reappear in my favourite place. In the meanwhile, I shall make do with the chair removed from my father’s room for my reading.

It took exactly one day for my father to decide that the brand new chair brought for him was not comfortable and the process started all over again. But this time, we asked him what will satisfy him and he gave some specifications, which suddenly reminded me of old time office chairs. We went looking for it all over, including the internet, and three people including one in the interior decoration business started the hunt. It was however Ranjan who finally decided to go to what we call the Juna Bazaar, the equivalent to a flea market. Since one has to be a good bargainer to succeed there, he wisely took Manjiri with him and found one old specimen and bargained hard for a reasonable price and got it home. Some worthy bottom which had used it in the past had cushioned the seat, and the first thing I did was to remove the cushion. I then got to refit the seat, wash the whole chair and disinfect it with a whole bottle of antiseptic lotion and with great fanfare produced it before my father. He was thrilled to see that relic and settled down for a while. Finally this is what it looked like.

After about an hour, he wanted some alterations made to increase the height a little more and to raise the front portion of the seat so that he would not keep slipping forward. I fortunately have my good friend Abbas, an inspired handyman with a workshop, who took the chair with him to his garage, installed rubber bushes at the bottom to increase the height and by a simple but effective innovation, raised the front portion of the seat to about an inch. That was delivered on Saturday afternoon and as I write this, there has been no further complaint.

Just see how fortunate I have been with so many people helping me to resolve a simple issue.

Mothers Day.

When I came down in the morning, I found a hamper of cookies on the dining table and when I opened the refrigerator to take out the milk for the morning tea, I found two boxes of croissants too. Thinking that they were somethings that Ranjan had kept for some purpose or the other, I let them be.

At 9.00 am sharp, I received a phone call from Nitin to remind me of Mothers day. Urmeela was his mother for all practical purposes for most of his life and he called to say that he missed her.

Later, Ranjan came down and informed me that the croissants and the cookies were for me for being mother and father rolled into one and that Meeta had insisted that I take them for me for Mothers day.

During the rest of the day, I had three other phone calls recalling the mother’s role played by Urmeela in other lives.

The icing on the cake was Aishwarya who came and spent a few hours with me chatting about many things, including my relationship with my mother and hers with her mother. She had lunch with me. She went shopping for a little geegaw for me but was unsuccessful but that she made the effort was touching.

All in all, much to be grateful for!

All in all,

Weekly Gratitude List – May 12, 2012

Recently, my weekly gratitude list had become more of a journal about my care giving duties and I have been asked as to what I am grateful for. I am grateful for the following.

1. I have been given the opportunity to serve an older person.
2. I have been given all the resources necessary to carry that out.
3. I have a son and caring paid help.
4. I have my blog that helps to record all that happens for posterity.
5. I have a great deal of emotional support from family and am assured of financial help if needed.

Having stayed for a long time with the list that I wrote as a weekly blog, I believe that the time has come to take it away from a blog and make it a private one. The reason for this, is that I am preoccupied with my care giving duties. These have tended to dominate my posts and I have concluded that those must go into more private documentation.

I have however decided to use the blog to write about some of the more interesting aspects of care giving as they arise to share my experiences with my readers. I have made beginning with this post.


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by yours truly. The eleven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

When I was much younger, seems so long ago, one of my favourite pieces of music was this interpretation made famous by Duke Ellington. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did remembering it and listening to it again for this post.

Now that I have set the mood for the post, let me write a bit more on the topic.

When I wake up in the mornings, the first thing I do after ablutions is to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to an hour in Vipassana meditation. This sets my mood for the rest of the day. The mood is basically, “everything arises and passes away”.

No, I don’t intend passing away any time soon, though, that can happen anytime too. But that is a fact of life and when it comes, I will be ready for it.

During the rest of the day, activity of various kinds keeps the moods changing from concentration to distraction and occasionally, into despondency which sooner than later, usually swings to hope. So, the moods too arise and pass away. The purpose of the meditation practice is to reach a stage when I can be constantly in an equanimous mood. While I am mostly in that stage, I am some distance away from the ultimate aim of being there constantly. That I will reach that stage, is a given and the only dissonance is in the when!

Now, I am in a playful mood and let me share my mood with this little advertisement. I hope that you get the message!

Second Childhood.

Last Sunday, I noticed something that rang a bell. From early morning my father had been his usual dour self with a hang dog expression on his face. When Ranjan woke up, he advised my father to get ready to go for a hair cut, which my father had been wanting to, the last few days.

When I saw my father leaving for the hair cut, there was an amazing transformation. He looked bright, had a spring in his gait and was ready to take off without an escort, till I stopped him and advised him to wait till Ranjan finished his phone call that he was taking in the garden.

Subsequently, I noticed that his gait and demeanour changes to that of a suffering patient, if there is somebody watching him; whereas if no one is around, it is absolutely normal.

No, I am not exaggerating. I have seen this by watching him from upstairs when he goes to the door to collect the news papers and the milk, when he thinks that I am upstairs busy with my morning exercises.

A classic child’s behaviour to draw attention and sympathy which leads me to believe that there is Second Childhood.

Enforced Vacation.

My readers will be delighted to learn that my friend who went on the enforced vacation to Vietnam returned on Sunday after, what he calls, a fantastic vacation.

He not only returned safe, he also returned to a news story which had appeared in his absence, which is bound to create some storms in some circles shortly.

Welcome back friends. I look forward to seeing both of you on another vacation soon at Pune.