The cruel twist

The cruel twist

Lajpatnagar, New Delhi was what I googled for. A flood of memories came rushing in on my mind. He was the most loving father one could ever have had. At least, that’s what I thought then, as a girl of about 13 or 14. A slight fever and he was there by my side, checking my pulse every evening. It made me feel better almost immediately. Much later, even as a college going girl of 20, he held my hand as we crossed the busy streets of Mysore. Nothing could touch me when he was around.

He retired as station director of All India Radio and was well revered by his superiors and colleagues, as a man of great intellect, sincerity and devotion to his career. Some well known names in the field of literature were his friends and we were witness to some really animated and marathon sessions of literary discussions in our humble middle-class home in Mysore. Having a transferable job, he took us around to many places like Goa, Bombay, etc while we studied at a new school every two years. He was my idol as I grew up. Life was good and full of promise.

Time passed and he retired from service. It took us to the city of Bangalore and his life got reduced to routine walks in the evening and some reading of his favourite authors. Money matters bothered him and our marriages were working on his mind. It made him irritable. And the downslide began.

Inexplicably, he began making hurting comments and acts of violence against the woman he was married to for so many years and who knew nothing else, but serving him unconditionally, all her life. I got married and got busy with my bank job and a lovely, active son who demanded my time. I didn’t notice the change. It was all very subtle and passive.

Then the final blow was when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The torturing of the innocent woman, who bore everything without a murmur, perturbed me. Unkind words, coming from a man who showed such love while growing up, were hard to believe. The pain and the relief I saw in his eyes, the day we tracked him down at a stranger’s house, when he lost his way back home, is something I will never forget.

What was it that bothered him those last few months? I will never know. But I wish he could come back, just this once and go happily, like so many others do and give me my answer, though I know not all of life’s questions have answers. Just this once, Anna, please.