She took one last look in the mirror to make sure her hair was in place, smiled and turned to leave. I observed her immaculate attire. Everything was matching to perfection. There was nothing in her demeanour to suggest that she was headed to the hospital. A new day had to be accorded the respect it deserved, she always maintained.
We were driven to the nursing home where mother was to have a small procedure to check the working of her heart. Palpitations some days back had got everyone worried. While the cardiologist was optimistic, so was mom. I`ll be back in ten minutes and we`ll have a hot coffee together, she assured me as she was wheeled to the OT. We clicked some pictures of her in the smartly tailored hospital outfit. She liked the style and might get some night suits stitched when she got back home.
My mother has been a walker most of her adult life, an independent walker, one who depends on no one for company but herself. She has scant regard for weather or season. Be it peak winter, summer or rains, she can be spotted somewhere on the road, post 5 am, humming her prayers, smiling at fellow walkers, a hello here and a Namaste there. She even pauses to ask the regular beggars outside the temple as to how they are faring, paying for their tea occasionally. She loves the way her day begins and how she welcomes it. The silence and the bird songs both enthral her in equal measure. She is a true lover of life, one who celebrates every moment with warmth and smiles.
The ten minute wait at the nursing home soon turns to two hours. News trickles out from the Operation Theatre that two major arteries are blocked and stenting is in progress. This is a complete shock for everyone. The morning is not rosy any longer. Everyone waiting for her can sense the tension in the room. She would have hated this atmosphere, I remember thinking. She, who loved joy and lightness of spirit over anything remotely serious.
Two painful days in ICU and mother’s back in the room. All the curtains are pulled back so that she can see the trees and relish the rain drenching them. Her only question to the doctor is regarding her discharge. As the last canulla is removed from her horribly punctured arms, she is eager to wear her freshly laundered clothes and head out, she takes a step out and then turns to me, she gives me a tight hug and says, “Thank you for being there for me. I have to greet a brand new day with a brand new heart. Do you have a lipstick on you?”