Finally A Woman

Priyanka Borpujari
Posted June 4, 2010 from India

"Three severe myocardial infarctions in three months, pulmonary oedema and one kidney is dead. And I can see that he is slowly giving up," said Papa's surgeon, who was waiting for that one day when Papa's reports would be stable so that a coronary artery bypass surgery could be performed. I sighed, and my mind was filled with a montage of images - Papa with a cigarette forever dangling from his purple lips; Papa helping the old neighbours buy their grocery; Papa doing his gentle best to help the girl in me grow up... it was Papa's now frail body that lay with vaccuum in his eyes. I was talking to the surgeon after having washed Papa's backside - he wasn't able to control his bowel movements. By the time he would reach the toilet in the hospital ward, the path was already littered.

Finally, the surgeon took the leap and decided, "We cannot go on waiting for the cloud to lift, and instead allow him to have another heart attack." I agreed. When I told Papa that the surgery was scheduled for the next day, I saw a child before me, sobbing in fear that he wouldn't get back alive from the surgeon's table. He called up his brother - both the men were crying. The next day, as he was being ushered into the operation theatre, he kept on telling us about errands to be completed at home. This was his way to camouflage what he was actually feeling. Five hours and prayers later, the surgeon came to us. "We had to give him electric shocks twice, because we were losing him. But you have your father back." The tall doctor was suddenly God.

By late noon, we saw Papa being taken into the intensive care unit, with multiple pipes attached to him. I was able to see him only late at night. He wasn't able to talk as there were pipes flowing out of his mouth, besides being heavily sedated. Somehow, he pointed towards his chest and then waved his hand up, as though asking something. I understood. All through my childhood it was he who held my hand and made me walk, now it was my turn. I grabbed his hand gently, "Papa, you have been operated upon! It was successful. You are fine!" In that instant, I was finally a woman.

My Story: Holding Hands

Comments 6

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JaniceW
Jun 05, 2010
Jun 05, 2010

From the hands in yours as you grew up to your hands washing your father to the hands of the surgeon saving his life, this story captivated me with its imagery of hands coming together to sustain a life. I am so glad you get to spend more time with your father and look forward to reading more from you. Best wishes, Janice

Priyanka Borpujari
Jun 05, 2010
Jun 05, 2010

Hii Janice,

It is your message to me that has captivated me. I will tell you why:

In India, it is not a bit common for kids to move out of their parental homes (of course unless they are studying or working in another town). But I did it. It wasn't a fight; it was the need for some physical space, which could in turn give me mental space. But I know I really hurt my parents by doing so. But they love me so madly that they just want me to be happy.

I meet them at least once a week (mostly, I go there twice a week) and I talk to either of them daily. My father too wishes we could spend more time with each other. His bad health two years ago, then his recuperation, and now my living away from them has only brought us closer. It is amazing how even I have calmed down with my anger and tolerance, and I am able to accept their shortcomings more easily now. I love them now really - with and without what they are or ought to be.

So yes, I guess these are sands of time too that slip from one hand into another, but leaves few grains behind for us to hold and keep close to our heart. Thanks so much for writing in! I have just woken up (it is morning here in India now as I read this) and I am feeling so glad that my words - rather, a certain patch on my life path - moved you!

Have a great day. And yes, we all have many many more stories to share!

priyanka :-)

Carri Pence
Jun 08, 2010
Jun 08, 2010

For an inner child to come out in your dad, not knowing what life has in store, was an awakening experience for both you and your dad. I am glad that both of you overcame so much and felt such a deep connection that only a father and daughter could share. Thanks for this entry, where it taught me no matter how old we become we will always have a child, so confused and distraught, wanting and needing to come out.

Priyanka Borpujari
Jun 08, 2010
Jun 08, 2010

Thanks for those lovely words Carri. Yes indeed, we often forget that there is an innocent child within each of us, and we ought to protect her :-)

brianna.warren
Jun 12, 2010
Jun 12, 2010

Thank you for sharing your powerful story. My favorite part is in the last paragraph when your father isn't able to use his words - only his hands - and you still understand exactly what he is trying to say and how you can bring him peace. For all the times he undoubtedly comforted you, the opportunity arose for you to comfort him. A simple touch, a few words. Thanks for reminding us how important even the smallest gestures are!

Priyanka Borpujari
Jun 12, 2010
Jun 12, 2010

Hii Brianna, I think the most powerful bit of the story is that it is real and I was part of it. It seemed like I was waiting for that one moment in my life when I saw the tears in Papa's eyes, and I really felt like his small girl and a woman, all at the same time. Yes, gestures are very powerful - and I am usually not the one to understand innuendos - but I guess I was 'destined' to seize and relish that beautiful moment. Thanks for your words again.

priyanka :-)