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Last days of my father

Father having shifted from Sharada’s place to my brother Kitchu’s residence in Ulsoor it was easy for me to visit him frequently to see that he was comfortable in his last few years. I used to visit him and spend time talking with him about the latest developments in the Bank in which he was still evincing interest. One day he expressed a desire to go round the city and see the places he was familiar with during his days in the Bank. I arranged with Nimmi to bring her car for taking father on a round trip in the city. He remembered every landmark in the town although the skyline of the fast developing city had changed during the intervening years. I bought him his favourite masala dosai in the Cubbon Park hotel. We recalled the days when he used to take me and my brother to a hotel and buy us our favourite sweets while on our way back home from his office in Gandhinagar. It was to be his last trip outside home. He had crossed the venerable age of 95 by then and we all hoped that he would score a century. Although he was maintaining his health without any complications that come during one’s old age there was a slight set back in 1997 and he was admitted to a private nursing home in Indiranagar where they diagonised the problem as dehydration. About 14 bottles of glucose had to be administered. After three days in the nursing home he was discharged. I spent one week with father at Kitchu’s place when the latter had gone on a visit to Calicut. It was necessary that one of us had to be with him to look after his needs and help him in his movements. It was also my job to give him his daily shave and a hair cut when necessary as he was too weak to do it himself or go to the barber’s. Pankajam, Kitchu’s wife looked after him well during his last days. He passed away in his sleep in August 1998. It was the end of a difficult last few years for him. His temperament was such that his children did not understand him well enough to give him their wholehearted love and affection. He had lost his life’s companion at an early age but chose not to find another for the sake of his children. We were six children all of whom being very young. Having no alternative, he separated the young ones between Calicut and Bangalore to be looked after by relatives and resisted the temptation of marrying again. Therefore in his old age he had to look to his children for care and affection which however unfortunately did not come forth in full measure. He shared his time with each one of his children until finally he grew tired of moving from one place to another and decided to settle down with his second son, Kitchu, the advantage being that his wife, Pankajam, was also from the Calicut family and daughter of Radha Mama. She understood him better and gave him all affection befitting a father rather than a father in law. Father spent the last year or two comfortably and happily in his last home. I visited him often which he looked forward to and made him quite happy. He had always a soft corner for me and had high expectations of my doing well in life. I am glad I was able to meet his expectations to a great extent.

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