It is time to put down in writing, what has been going on in my mind the last few days.
When my late wife and I invited my father to come to live with us when his second wife died, little did we know that his presence will cause serious disruption to our way of life. In a nut shell, it did. The extent to which it happened is unimportant now, but after having built up a life style over forty years, to accommodate a new dimension to it was seriously disturbing and caused much stress to us.
Luckily, my late wife was spared much of the problems as she died just after three odd months of his arrival in our home, but for me it was dealing with a necessary evil in my life.
The last year and eight months particularly were bad as my father first fell down and broke his hip joint. His health started to decline from that point onwards and his behaviour increasingly became unpleasant.
Nothing would satisfy him and communicating with him became difficult with his increasingly getting to be hard of hearing. In the twenty two years that we have lived in Pune, my immediate family had been satisfied with consulting one GP, one cardiologist and one surgeon. For my father that was not enough and we had to consult his old connections via email, phone calls and couriered documents. We also had to consult medical professionals from within the family, both inconveniently located away from Pune. None of these satisfied him and that dissatisfaction spilled over to other aspects of his life.
Matters came to a grand finale in March/April when he was diagnosed with a failing kidney and suspected cancer of the prostrate and considering his age, it was decided to manage his condition medically to the extent possible, including the clear reluctance of the doctors in attendance to admit him into a hospital.
Then started the nursing and tending to him at home which thankfully and finally culminated in his death in the early hours of September 6. 2012. Having now got back to some semblance of the old life style, I find it difficult to out down in writing what I feel now.
I suppose that I could call it a big relief, but that sense of relief is often tinged with many ifs and buts. The one big question that remains unanswered is why it was necessary for me to go through those three years and ten months of discomfort. Philosophically accepting that as part of life’s imponderables, I have to move on. And that has been made possible by the discovery of something that I had known somewhat subconsciously that he was not all bad. Many callers cited many good things about him which taught me that he was a complex character with two different personalities; one for his immediate family and one for the outside. I only wish that some of the outsiders had taken on the responsibility of providing a roof and care for him during his last few years on earth.
I am now the eldest of all the Rajgopauls. A dear family friend put it succinctly in a message to me. Rajgopaul is dead. Long live Rajgopaul. What a thought!