- New Year's Dayby Sanku
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Personal account.
New Year's Day by Sanku
True Story Contest contest entry

She called me two days before the new year. It was nothing new, her calls. Twice a day I got them and since I was her sounding board, she either unleashed a barrage of invectives about someone -anyone who had offended her or didn't come up to her expectations or if she was in the upswing stage of her bipolar existence she would wax eloquent about whatever it was that kept her on a high. Or in saner moments she would describe in minute details her aches and pains. She was a classic case of hypochondriac. She was always demanding to be taken for a check up because she suspected that she was suffering from a stroke or ischaemic heart disease (a word she learned and used right, left and centre ever since her husband passed away due to renal failure.) We used to take her most of the time and the doctor would pronounce her fit. I am usually very patient with her, listening to her complaints or her exuberance. But on the 30th I had too much work in the house. She asked me,"Did you make Carrot Halwa"?
"Yes," I said
"Where is my share?"
"Your share? You are not supposed to eat sweets. Your sugar levels are high."
"To hell with my sugar levels. I crave for sweets. Do you know that?"
"Then go and buy some from your sweet shop. It is easier than me bringing it. Anyway I have too much to do since Amma's cough is quite bad and I can't leave her alone".

My 86 year old mother lived with me.

"I don't want to hear all that.You better send me my share."
I lost my patience.
"What do you think I am, Hanuman? You think I can jump from my terrace to your terrace?"

I put the phone down.

On the 31st she called me as if nothing had happened and she laughed and regaled me with juicy gossip, and talked about her New Year's Eve plans. In fact she laughed too much and I was feeling uneasy. She was going to have a breakdown soon, I worried.

On 1st January morning the telephone rang. I saw her number flashing on the screen.
"Hello Meena, Happy New Year !" I said cheerfully.
"To hell with your new year", she thundered into my ear. I am having a stroke and my daughter thinks it is all my usual drama."
"Look Meena, if you are really having a stroke, would you be able to shout like this?" I tried to reason with her.
"Come immediately and take me to the hospital".
"Calm down", I said. " I will talk to her. We will come and see you sometime today."

An hour later I rang her landline to talk to her daughter.It went unanswered.Then I rang her mobile and her daughter picked up and said '"Aunty I am in the hospital. I will ring you back."

Fifteen minutes later she called "Amma is gone aunty, she is gone" she sobbed.

It was a nightmarish New Year for us. She suffered a massive cardiac arrest. To hell with your New Year, she had said.
As soon as she spoke to me she lay down on the couch and her daughter tried to coax her back to the bedroom. But there was no response. She immediately called an ambulance, but it was too late.
She was only 65. In life she was very theatrical and her exit too was dramatic. She left a trail of guilt in many of us. "You are my Guardian Angel", she used to tell me often ."You are my pillar upon which I lean". Her bipolar condition worsened after her husband's death. She had to grapple with her wayward mind which wandered into realms of unrealistic expectations from others. Her only child who is heading a multinational company did not have much patience with her. Did her Guardian Angel fail? We should have rushed to her immediately. Would it have made any difference?.
I miss her ; miss her calls, though at times they were very unwelcome. It is now more than a month...the day still lurks in the recesses of my mind paralysing a part of my mind. I need a release.I hope by writing about it will help.

Author Notes
She was my sister-in-law,my husband'd younger sister.For more than forty years we have been friends.
Today I finally made myself write about it .it was not at all easy. please bear with me the typos and other mistakes. I just could not make the effort to go through it again.

Thank you very much VINCEFALLERT for this apt picture .
Hanuman is the monkey God who had immense powers.Mythology says he leaped over the ocean to land in SriLanka.


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