Real Shit Happens When Shit Does Not Happen




235x96_top-indivine-postFor those who did not get the context from the title, I am referring to recent Big B blockbuster Piku that had an immense impact on me. For the record, I have already confessed in my earlier posts that I am no great reviewer of movies and books. Cinderella and Equinox reviews happened purely because they touched a chord which made me pen my thoughts in black and white. But today, this isn’t about just a movie, but larger issues in life, which I have faced recently.

I am a movie buff, but these days I rarely manage to go to the cinema hall to get myself entertained. I am usually compelled to do so when my little ones come home and stare at me with those big big eyes…. Yes… “Take us for a movie, maasi… it’s so much fun with you.” And then the ever-loving aunt in me is left with no choice. But this time we decided to make the experience a bit different. We decided to go for a Hindi movie as against the regular animated English film. The kids are great fans of the likes of CID and many saas-bahu serials, so I knew they would enjoy a good Hindi film (and one had already heard raving reviews of this one). Little did I know that the point of contention of the entire movie revolved around basics of life! But I was happy that I made the decision to see it, because not only did it serve the purpose of a fabulous girls’ afternoon out (Chiki – my sis, Cherry & Cheeni – my nieces and I) but also made me think deeply about the shitty yet important events of life. Perhaps I was having difficulty going through the motions of life and hence I enjoyed the laughter bouts provided by AB and Irfan. Also, the shitty farty jokes did thousands of rounds at home… and once in a while I did laugh at them (despite maintaining a holier than thou disposition most times).


I was enthralled by the performances of Big B and Deepika such that while watching the movie itself I had decided to write a post on it and also what the title would be. I giggled and told my little sister as well, who giggled back – telling me it was awesome without the use of words. That was on 19th May. We got back home and since the kids were around and so was the little new member of our family (the kids’ latest obsession – their 2 month old Lab Sparky), I just didn’t get time to pen my thoughts about the emotions pertaining to motions. Honestly I was happy to be distracted by the kids. They keep vying for my attention and are like my grandmother, so I prefer giving in and spending time with them instead. So there you go, excuses galore for procrastination!

Finally, on May 25th, I thought enough was enough and it was high time I wrote the review. Hundreds of them had already been published by the blogging fraternity and I would look mighty stupid doing it weeks after people had seen the movie and read about it too. So, I started…. wrote the first paragraph that is now the second one here….  and was interrupted by a phone call that changed my life in a lot of ways. I hadn’t answered the phone and was only witness to the reaction it created.  My uncle ran to change his clothes, as if he had just seen a ghost. That was super scary!!! It made my blood run cold since he didn’t even tell us who called and what the call was about. I finally caught hold of him and yelled not to sensationalise whatever it was and requested him to tell me if everything was okay. He obviously answered in the negative and said, “Your dad was giddy, became unconscious and fell twice; call your brother and ask him to reach here asap”. I was SHIT scared. Ya, shit has a way of getting into our lives all the time… somehow….

My brother reached and got dad home. I had NEVER seen him look so frail and that turned us all a into bundle of nerves. He managed a feeble smile so as to encourage us and tell us he’s okay without uttering a word. He changed and kept insisting on sleeping. He said he needed to rest. He had travelled that morning and the Mumbai heat was terrible. So we thought he fell giddy out of exhaustion. Plus, for someone who has crossed 60, it isn’t an alarming thing. But he took my finger and directed me to the left side of his heart and said it was paining a bit there and that if you kept it pressed it gave him some relief. That was IT! I knew we were in a dangerous situation. My brother called my brother-in-law (BIL), who also happens to be a cardiologist, and he made us get into a SHITTIER situation by telling us that we needed to put dad in the car immediately and get him to his hospital. We didn’t need any more info in the fear of hearing the worst and hence didn’t probe.

Real Shit Happens When Shit Does Not Happen.. #Piku Click To Tweet

Those who know my dad well also know that he is as fit as a fiddle, a man who has perhaps taken tablets 5 – 6 times in his life if he ever fell sick and is totally bull-headed.  He hated the thought of visiting a doctor even if that doctor was his own son-in-law, and was very sure he could ‘cure’ himself. There was no point in arguing and we could sense that he was just too tired and kept insisting on sleeping. Sleeping was something that we couldn’t allow, and so we surrounded him while he was lying down. I kept pressing his head and put a finger on the left side of his chest to stop it from throbbing. Mom was pressing his hands, my brother his legs and we kept talking him into getting ready and going to the hospital. It was 35 kms away and quite a long ride, which was scary enough. We could clearly see he wasn’t in a state to travel. Something inside me told me to allow him to rest, but my instinct said that he had to be taken to the doctor. Suddenly he yelled and asked us all to shut up, declaring that if we didn’t allow him to sleep for a couple of hours he wouldn’t listen to us. We didn’t want to agitate him, and I convinced my brother to let him be for a while.

Fortune really favours the brave, for he felt a bit rested and woke up, asked for some food and said he was ready to leave. What a relief that was! Not having to push him was literally like a godsend. We didn’t waste time and left within 5 minutes. It was midnight by the time we reached the hospital. He was taken in immediately and my BIL did the ECG test. His expression gave it away. Things were not good. So while dad lay in the consulting room, my BIL took us out and told us that it was a massive heart attack and the right artery had a huge clot! It was 4 hours since the attack had happened and the damage has started. Quick action was needed immediately, and we were blank. The responsibility of taking the right decision was on my brother and I, and I can’t even begin to express how shitty we felt. While ignorance is bliss sometimes, at such times you want to be a master of all trades. Obviously we asked my BIL for a suggestion since he was not only the doctor in charge then, but also family. He mentioned that we would have to do an angiography to figure out if there is a blockage but that could wait. Right now we had to repair the damage, which meant dissolve the clot and hence we had to give him a very important injection. Without blinking an eyelid we gave our approval.

When my Dad had a heart attack: Life's lessons Click To Tweet

Dad didn’t know what hit him, just like we didn’t know what was happening. We saw him taken into the ICU. I hate hospitals. They are the shittiest places to be in. The truth is that I do get scared, shit scared of hospitals, injections, the mere sight of needles infact, the smell, medicines. I can’t stand it at all nor can my brother. We are dad’s true kids. My mother ofcourse is a brave woman and didn’t show a single sign of feeling flustered. But I couldn’t bear to see dad in the hospital clothes, laden with needles on his hands, oxygen pipe on his nose and a grim expression on his face. Suddenly my bravest man looked so helpless. I don’t think any of us could make sense of whatever was happening. We just let the moment pass. We had to get SOS help for dad to start the rehabilitation process of his heart. Heart!! The thought still sends shivers down my spine as I recollect that fateful day.

None of us could sleep. Since the house was at hop skip and jump distance, all of us except my brother went home. Poor guy, he was just walking for hours outside the hospital, while we lay on our beds at home pretending to sleep but not wink anywhere around us. We wanted morning to take over and give us some good news. And good it was, for dad looked much better, and smiled as well. He wasn’t supposed to move though and he couldn’t stand the thought of passing motions lying on the bed. And so started his story of feeling totally constipated and constricted at the same time. His condition was improving, however only the angiography would tell us whether this happiness was momentary or permanent. We shifted him out of the ICU after two days into the room. He looked much much better. Looked like shit had hit the roof and then disappeared as well! Thank god for small mercies.

He got discharged and we brought dad home. We had to take care of him since the tests were yet to be conducted and we were still not sure of the near future course of action. I was avoiding speaking to him. The night of the attack when he was in the ICU I had explained to him what had happened. He’s an iron man and it would be a mockery of his bravado and intellect if we didn’t tell him what was going on. I never believed in hiding anything from him anyways. So when he was home, I was trying to be away, because I knew he would start some discussion. But I realised that there was something else troubling him. He was totally constipated and was asking for a smoke. I had never seen him begging for a smoke like that and I felt shitty. He said he would take a few puffs that would help him relieve himself of the shit and the stress that came with it. We all tried our best to explain to him and he kept getting angry and agitated and finally asked all of us to get lost. I gave in, cause I couldn’t see a man of his stature in such a crappy situation that too because of shitloads of crap, and convinced him to chew a nicotine gum instead. Looked like it did the trick and he was a happy man within minutes of visiting the bathroom. Now, he was all set for the tests and their results!

Well, as luck would have it, the positive test results were short-lived. We took him for the angiography this morning. I had this nagging feeling that we were in for some horrid revelation. Horrifyingly for me, my gut is rarely wrong and I am too intuitive. I didn’t want to say it to everyone since they were really optimistic that this was just a formality and he was okay anyways. It is always nice to be optimistic but it pays to be a realist. I was prepared to hear the worst! For some reason mom looked completely shattered today. She was fumbling while talking, shaky while walking and crying away. We met dad before he was taken in for the procedure and he seemed very cool, like he is always. He was a bit perturbed to see mom crying and gave me a puzzled look. I assured him that she was just a bit tensed and not to worry since we were all there. He walked in by himself smiling and confident. We sat outside. My brother could not bear to sit with us and was talking rounds of that lane. In a few minutes my sis and BIL also came, in the nick of time. The results were out. There was a cent percent blockage in the right artery and that induced tears in all our eyes.

I wanted to run away. My hands and legs were giving way and the earth below me also seemed to be slipping. He was lying inside the path lab with the pipe inside his body and we had to give an immediate reply to the doctor. He was waiting for us to tell him whether to get the angioplasty done or to give it a pass for the time being and keep him on medicines till such time that we were able to take a decision. We requested for five minutes and did our round table conference. BIL insisted that we should take him to an institute like Hinduja. Mom, bro, sis and another bro on the phone – all of us felt that it was prudent to get it done asap; for the doctor told us each minute without the repair work meant damage and more damage – not just to the heart cells but also the brain cells. That was a repulsive thought. All of us kept looking at each other to get some solace and hint of a decision. My gut told me we had to act now. Mom stood by it, her decision being a bit more emotional as she couldn’t bear the thought of her beloved going through the same torture one more time. But we couldn’t afford to be emotional. A rational and real decision had to be made.

We were faced with such a situation for the first time. We had done the research and we knew that this was a simple procedure. But all procedures are risky anyways and the bigger risk was whether to go ahead with the Riddhi Vinayak hospital or to move to Hinduja for being more cautious and safe. We all were like a cat on hot bricks and were summoned by the doctor as dad was getting hurt with all the needles and pipes in him. The doctor _ Dr. Venkat Goyal seemed like a very well balanced individual who explained everything properly. He is a senior cardiologist and a very well-known name in the fraternity. My heart said yes and we all looked convinced and gave our go-ahead.

The balloon inserted during angioplasty (Source: Flickr)
The balloon inserted during angioplasty (Source: Flickr)

Bro walked out, mom went and sat outside, BIL, sis and me looked into the computer that showed dad’s pumping heart. We could see the procedure being done inside the lab and my heart was in my mouth. I wanted to cry because I was scared to death and was acting brave. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen, lest the heart stopped pumping. It was my dad’s for heaven’s sake. We kept staring at it. My little brother was on his way and we all were praying for dad’s recovery and successful procedure. I’ve never ever been on such tenterhooks. I understood the real meaning of shit hitting the roof then. I kept praying silently till Dr. Goyal walked out with a smiling face and started removing the blood stained gloves. God! Where did that blood come from? But his smile did the trick and he said all was well. He explained what all happened and how tough it was to take out the plaque and insert the balloon. One balloon broke when they inflated it inside to cover the affected space in the artery and they also had a tough time removing the crystallised clotted blood. I really didn’t care much for the explanation as long as I knew dad was perfectly fine. The shit was finally over. But I listened on because I knew dad would ask me to explain.

He was wheeled out of the lab and we saw his smiling face and heaved a sigh of relief. He was fully awake and was talking to the doctor (who also happened to be a north Indian) and had a gala time while getting his heart repaired. He knew how to handle his own shit. My brave and astute father!!

The last five days have taken a toll on all of us. We’ve died several deaths seeing him in the ICU and lost a few years too. I surely look ten years older, but am relieved that all is well. The experience also taught us a few very important lessons in life:

  1. It is important for shit to happen so that real shit comes out in the open.
  2. It is great to be an optimist but imperative to be a realist.
  3. When faced with a shitty situation, it is important to think with a cool head and take a decision.
  4. Never dilly dally a decision. When in doubt go by your gut.

My apologies if you were expecting a full-fledged review of Piku. All I can say is that it is a brilliant movie and Shoojit Sarkar has done full justice to it with things that were spoken and also left unspoken in the film. Amitabh, Deepika and Irfan have given a stupendous performance which makes it a must watch film. There are many takeaways from the film, my biggest one being the title itself. Hope you did not mind me inter-twining the story with that of my dad’s; since I thought it was a befitting day to complete the story that I left incomplete on that day he suffered the stroke.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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