• Pallavi Rao

Till Death Do Us Part

And then there are days when you reflect over the year/s gone by and just get sentimental.

They say…

Till death do us part.

And I, was almost about to kick the bucket!

Rewind to Late 2014

WhatsApp was a boon to those not on FB. Yes, you read it right. Those not on FB!!!

Trust me there are still some from our species, who do not like or want to be on FB!!!! Unimaginable as it may sound, I personally know two such beings. I must me loving them too much I guess, for I have chosen to overlook this aberration and continued to nurture our friendship.

Though we were in touch with each other on a one-on-one basis, the WhatsApp group was a blessing. Hence, using present day technology, we decided to come a bit more closer that is, friends from college- Laboni, Preeti, Nupur, Minu and I.

It was the best gift to us. That day to this day, we wake up and sleep together. Yeah, you know it all, from the early good mornings to the late good nights,, we share everything.

Boring, irritating forwarded messages, and videos have no place in the group.

It’s more about us. It’s about our lives. Our daily mundane lives that got a boost when we all came together from various parts of India and abroad.  

Better than Google

We are better than Google. Any issue that Google doesn’t have an answer to, we have. From career suggestions to adolescent children giving us sleepless nights, to human psychology, to how to deal with pest guests, in-laws, relatives, to which is the best air fryer to invest in, to recommendations on the next holiday destination, we discuss it all.

To put it simply we are addicted to one another.

At age 45, it is our ‘Me’ time space, our comfort zone and relaxation time.

The Challenge

Six months into this WhatsApp college reunion, I threw a challenge. I mean, when you are married and half the women in the group have kids of various sizes giving innumerable entrance and board exams, it is a challenge.

I threw a challenge to chuck everything and give ourselves a beach holiday. Just us. No husbands in tow. No kids, adolescents tugging along. 2 nights 3 days.

The kind of response got was truly amazing. We realized we had not lost it all in the years of being a Mrs. and mother to someone. For the first few things discussed were clearly, what will I wear??? So yes, all was well.

The next few weeks went by in sheer excitement. We discussed dates, days, and permutation and combinations of travel plans. Everything was set and we were simply a bunch of crazy, happy women dying to be in each other’s company, out of the virtual connect through technology and into the real, human touch world of yore.

We were having a reunion of sorts after almost 22 odd years. Added to that, the travel destination was a near private beach, just for us. Do I even need to say what our level of enthusiasm was!!!

However, how forgetful we are!!! We forgot that “Man proposes and well, since he has a lot of spare time in hand, God Disposes.”

Cut to 2015

The holiday dates were closing in.

Precisely at that time, I took ill. An old medical issue of mine decided that this drama of the “all girls” holiday was getting way too much attention and something needed to be done. It decided to show up again.

There I had spent practically half my life trying to shed weight, and here I was shedding grams and kilos by the dozen each week. I, suddenly had collar bones jutting out that would have made Deepika Padukone go into another bout of depression. My cuts and contours would have made Katrina Kaif book the next non-refundable-one-way-ticket back to her city of birth- Hongkong! And Bebo would have rushed to me to get lessons on the new size zero.

Myasthenia Crisis

Myasthenia Gravis, a very rare autoimmune disorder was throwing tantrums again. This time it was a Myasthenia Crisis. A grave condition that needs immediate medical attention.

My left leg had become wobbly. I was falling all over the house, and office.

My speech had started to slur so much people mistook me to be a South-Indian born in Spain!!

All proteins, vitamins, minerals seemed to have drained out of the body.

I was, almost about to kick the bucket.

Much as I wanted to make it to the private beach resort with my girlfriends, my body refused to comply.

I, instead ended up at the ICU for some Oxygen Spa, a day when the lungs decided they did not want to work. Oh and lest I forget, I also underwent a major surgery for the same.

With a heavy heart, I WhatsApped the group. “I am giving the beach holiday a miss this year. Next year I shall be at the destination one day prior to you girls to make it up…for myself!”

I got the customary, “it’s OK,”  “health first’, “you can holiday, another time babes” kind of messages.

I shall not lie. I felt like Meena Kumari that day. That is it? Health first? Holiday another time? Well, actually, what else could they have written as words of solace?

I came back home after the ICU stint and was house arrested for a month as per doctor’s advice. Damn you Myasthenia Gravis.

The Gentle Touch

My husband had lost a lot of work time because of all the action at my end. It was time for him to finish his travel assignments which I could neither ask him to postpone or cancel. His leaving for 5 days was weighing on my mind.

I, was taking an early afternoon nap one day. In deep sleep, I thought, I felt a warm touch on my forehead. The touch was neither my husband’s nor that of my mother, brother or my son.

It was the softest hand on my skin. It was the kindest touch. Most loving. I should have opened my eyes immediately to see who it was. I just did not feel like it. I let that touch stay. It seemed to give me warmth. Like Reiki. Complete healing.

Eventually, drowsily I opened first the right eye and then the left. A blurred salwar kurta figure is what I saw. No! Nooooo…..it could not have been who I saw.

I rubbed both eyes, filmy style….”Main kahan hun” types or rather, “Ye sapna hai ya sachai?”

There sitting next to my head was none other than my dearest buddy Laboni. This bloody Bong beauty was tenderly caressing my face. This silly woman had come down all the way from Mumbai when she was to be on ‘our’ holiday.

I was unable to utter a single word. I can’t use the word overwhelmed. Not yet. I can use it only when I tell you what happened next.

The Mad Caps

The door was knocked upon and there entered into my blue bedroom, two more 45 year old women with the most sheepish, silly, childlike grin on their faces. Preeti and Nupur! One from Delhi and the other from the common capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.

Yes, 1500 kms distance covered to meet me from Hyderabad (yeah, yeah, technically a 2 hour flight but 1500 kms creates a better impact!)

Nupur, had been visiting me off and on but had planned this entire thing along with the others.

Needless to say, I howled.  And well, I howled.

The day remains an emotional one for me.

Things were now falling into place. No wonder, my husband who was kept in the loop, seemed at ease while leaving! That is why, there was a strange lull since the day before, on the otherwise extremely active WhatsApp group. Now, it made sense. Especially, those without-fizz words of solace which were unlike their usual words of encouragement and reassurance.

Ha, ha, everything was pardoned!

Their initial idea was to visit me in the hospital which Rahul Narvekar,  my husband shot down instantly and asked them instead to come visiting when I would need the woman brigade the most. The mad caps. To laugh. To crack up. To hug. To cry. To heal.

This is one incident that keeps coming back to me time and again and I only end up smiling.

Till Death Do Us Part

I have often wondered why such a beautiful expression is restricted to couples getting married. I mean why? Why can’t it be also used for other relationships in our lives?

Friends for instance?

Friends, you want to be around you, till the end of time. Friends, whom you want to spend your old age with. Friends, that you want to grey with.

Thanks girls for the Magic you created that day.

PS: Did the resort holiday eventually happen? Of Course it did. A trifle late but it did.

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