a year gone by!
I know we have not been posting for a few days now. I have been traveling on other assignments & that took up time. But today a year’s up – a year of writing, of pure joy & telling stories the way we like it. And today i thought of writing on my old man itself – hence the title – Bent at the knees. Meanwhile season’s greetings & enjoy reading!
I looked at the watch – 9.20 am – shouted, Dad, hurry up!
Am ready – pat came his reply.
Dad’s reply surprised me. Post-surgery, he used to take his time and then some. Bottom line – i wasn’t ready for him being ready. I had just fired a warning shot- it backfired. This time he got ready real-quick for his dentist appointment. Now I wasn’t ready. I jumped into the shower. There i heard him say – I’m going. You come.
And that’s how it rolls – i want to be on time, blame the old man for making me late. In the end, its mostly the other way around!
Quickly i showered, dressed & headed out of the building. Dad was nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, the dentist’s clinic was down the road, very close to our home. I knew he would be walking ahead towards the clinic. In order to reach him, I began walking briskly.
While I walked, I thought of my planned trip out of the city. I had to leave the next day. It was dad’s dentist appointment because of which I had postponed it. The same one he had left for without me.
Pre & post surgery effects.
Before the surgery, dad couldn’t walk long distances, had to sit down & rest at short intervals. The surgery had worked wonders & he walked without stopping. He only needed help while climbing steps. Somehow, he had picked up pace & was nowhere to be seen. I have mixed feelings about this. I really quickened my steps.
At the corner right outside the society gates, I finally saw him. I shouted – Dad! The veggie vendor at the curb, the lady shopping stared at me – in salt-pepper beard, bloated paunch, long hair-shouting Daddy! Daddy!
After three full throated calls he turns, sees me & smiles. I run up to him.
Earlier I couldn’t walk so much, dad admits.
Well done! I compliment dad – knowing that was exactly what he wanted to hear. His smile grew wider. There is still that ease between us. It surfaces very rarely – but its there.
Recollecting pet peeves & old habits.
Now I just am scared of climbing steps – his steps slow down. After that statement he slowed down. He spotted a middle-aged shopkeeper at the chemist shop. He waved, the man waved back seated on a chair. I have seen the man sit on the chair & watch videos on his mobile all day. The shop was mostly run now by his young son.
You know I used to trek hills each day – dad surprises me with that statement. We had reached the market square,. i saw my regular vegetable vendor – the old lady squatted & lost in thought. I wave- didn’t catch her eye. Quickly I put my hand down & tell dad –
You would get up at 4am to do that each morning.
All those habits is what’s helping me now – he beams.
I agree. His walk though has really slowed. I ponder whether I should get a rickshaw. The distance is barely 20 meters. Still.
Of sudden stops & hollow promises.
We heard a commotion – looked sideways. A fruitwalla had caught a rat in a trap. The road side vendor were playing silling games. He was scaring the other hawkers by taking it close to their face & running behind them. I watched in awe as the fit agile hawkers dodged him across the busy streets. I felt jealous at their agility, vowed to get in shape. Somehow the promise rang hollow even before i could finish making it.
I forgot my health issues as Dad just stopped abruptly. He reached out and held my hand. A rickshaw slowed down next to us. I put my hand out to stop it. He immediately pulled my hand down.
It’s just gas -, he said sheepishly. As I smiled the rickshaw guy grunted & zoomed away.
I laughed, he joined me. We walked slow, our knees in solidarity with the gas.
Of fitness methods back in the day.
Before you were born, I used to walk with your mom to the market – he commented about walking long distances from the house. To save money–, he admitted, –and that helped us stay fit.
I thought of all the money I have spent on gym memberships & online fitness classes. And still am in the shape I am in. This man at 83 bounces back from spine surgery with just gas trouble – wow.
Bent at the knees.
We are here, he pointed to the dentist’s clinic. I moved ahead of him, did the one thing for which he needed me. Helped him climb that one step up to be on the marble floor leading inside the clinic.
We walk into the clinic. The young dentist comes out, says hello & shakes my hand.
will it take time? Not at all – he says.
Dad walks in with confidence. The dentist closes the door, draws the curtain. As i sit down, i find myself panting. Also my knees are hurting. My mind rushes back to the thought of dad at my age. He was already a father of three kids, plus a full time job. Still he found time for his walks each morning.
As i sat there, i rubbed my knees thinking of the times ahead. For dad, for me. I sat there resting, watching the road. As i waited for dad to get back. not sure who would be accompanying whom.
Post credit – Soni Anthony.
Photo credits – Pexels.com, Soni Anthony.