Care Giving II.


Continuing from where I left off yesterday, let me start off by going back to the beginning of my caregiving experiences.

Urmeela suffered multiple cardiac and cerebral infarcts in 2001. After the initial hospitalisation and coming home she was advised to be careful and I was in turn told that her condition would have to be medically managed for the rest of her life. The infarcts enfeebled her and led to dementia as well. She had to be on medication and moderate exercise and generally kept without stress.

We were able to provide her with all these till her end which was sudden, painless and totally unexpected. There was just one hiccup and that was when I had to go to Tamil Nadu on a very lucrative assignment and I took her with me. She had all the material comforts that she had back at home, but was generally unhappy there as she could not understand or converse in the local language there and the neighbours were incapable of speaking or understanding English or Hindi. Since by that time Ranjan had married and well settled she went back home and became her normal self. Normal to the extent that her condition permitted. She however missed my company and therefore, I wound up my assignment earlier than I otherwise would have and returned to Pune to be with her.

In my father’s case, it was at Urmeela’s insistence that I agreed to take him in when his second wife died and her children conveyed their inability to care for him at the age of 91. He came to stay with us and we provided him with all the material comforts that he wanted including some that he had never had before. Four months after his arrival at our place, Urmeela died and since Ranjan by then had been divorced, our home became a home of three single men, each with his own priorities and quirks.

As I write this I am sharing my insights of what must have happened to my father to make his stay with us so unpleasant compared to the time I had with another care-receiver.

Till he moved in with us, my father had led a very independent and self centered life with his own set of friends, admirers and contacts. His move to our home in a different state and city where he had no friends or contacts other than his immediate family was the first big setback for him. That he had to adjust to a different rhythm in just about all walks of life for him must have been quite a task for a 91 year old man who had lived on his own terms till then. Being my father, he also expected that I would kowtow to him and let him be the alpha male at home, which I, by then a well settled old bandicoot myself would have nothing to do with. I tried to make him understand that he was at my home, not his and he had to observe my way of doing things. In retrospect, I think that this was the most galling aspect of his time with us for him,  and I now really regret that I did not have the sense to have handled the situation differently.

I find it extremely difficult to be away from home and my comfort zone, and for him it must have been a traumatic change but I did not have the sensitivity to understand that. I was carrying a lot of baggage of my earlier relationship with him.   His end was messy and the last six months of his life was the most difficult for me and Ranjan.    His death came as a great relief.  It is after his death that I was able to  think about the four years that he spent with me dispassionately and how perhaps I could have handled the relationship differently.

Dilip’s father’s story is very much like my father’s. A fiercely independent individual who made good on his own and brought up two children to be good human beings. The daughter is married and not in a position to take him in. Dilip himself is just starting his life after a series of failures. He and his wife both work like almost all young people now have to do to provide good education for their two children and to pay off their mortgages. The old man has no place to live in having retired from a government job that had provided accommodation to him till his last working day. Keeping the father with the family in a small little apartment was proving to be difficult with the old man getting into incontinence and dementia and not willing to accept that he is now in need of professional care. Dilip has arranged to put his father in an assisted living facility, but the management of the facility is not able to handle the tantrums that the old man throws and want him to be removed from the facility. Dilip is now in a great dilemma and that is when he came to seek my advice.

All that I could do for Dilip was to share with him some of the mistakes that I made as well as some insights that I gained from such mistakes subsequently. Since I did not have any experience in handling an outside agency like Dilip now has to handle, I was not able to be of help there. I however have asked him to seek medical advice for his father’s condition at the home and to see if he cannot be managed medically. Unfortunately, the kind of home that Dilip can afford does not provide in house medical facilities and so an outside consultant will have to be arranged for and I hope that with such an intervention, the situation will improve and the old man will calm down.

The insight that I shared most with Dilip is the one about the loss of independence that affects old people most and how I was unable to understand this as being the cause for my father’s behaviour. Dilip seems to have understood this and hopefully he would be able to manage his difficulties better than he has been able to hitherto.

Posted in Family, Management, Medicine, Relationships | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Care Giving.

help concept, special toned photo f/x, focus point selective

I should know. I was caregiver for my late wife for seven years and for my late father for two. Both were as different as chalk and cheese in terms of the quality of the experience of caring, but in retrospect with time to reflect and having read up more on the experiences of others, I can say that there were some common features that I should have identified but missed and hence made both the care giving and the care receiving a painful process as far as my experience with my father was concerned.

Why am I suddenly raking up the past? I am neither a caregiver nor a care receiver at present and I hope that I will never become the latter ever.

One of my son, Ranjan’s young friends had been having problems with providing care for his retired widower father and had confided his problems with him. Ranjan suggested that the young man, let us call him Dilip, talk to me and so he called on me last week and shared his problems with me.  I in turn shared my experiences of what I did as a caregiver for my father and also what I should have done differently and what I should not have done at all. He seemed to have been relieved that his experience was not unique and went away with the intention of taking my advice on some matters that were his current problems.

During my caregiving days I was quite active on the caregivers group informally and formally via blogs, mail, personal contacts and facebook and one such contact of those days, JS contacted me on the messenger on facebook on reading my post on Justification with advice and we had a very fruitful exchange there.

These two instances coming one after the other last week got me to reflect on my own experiences as currently I am going through a whymeitis phase with a cold / fever phenomenon attributed to the changed weather conditions by my GP. This temporary setback made me think that if I can be so debilitated with a garden variety cold due to my senior citizen status, I may end up like my father did receiving care from a son and that I should try and not be like what my father was to me.

My reflections during the last few days has given me some insights which I need to firm up before I share them with my readers which I will do shortly as a sequel to this post.

Posted in Facebook, Family, People, Relationships | Tagged , | 19 Comments


I dedicate this to my good friend Narasimha for his interest in geriatrics.

I received this as an attachment to a mail with no text on the mail. I leave you to decide whether I should have laughed or cried. Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.29.20 AM

Posted in Friendship, Humor, People, Sarcasm | Tagged , | 14 Comments



Somehow I don’t think that Maria would have expected what I am about to write as my contribution, when she suggested the topic for today’s LBC’s weekly posts when a few of us write on the same subject. Be that as it may, here I go, giving my two bits to the grand effort.

During those days when it was necessary, I never had enough to spend for just necessities, so, never really had the problem of overspending. I grew up and had a family life during most of India’s socialistic pattern of society experiment and was in the high income tax bracket with little spare cash to indulge in extravagance. My situation changed when the economy was liberalised and I changed jobs, but old habits die hard and I never did go on spending sprees.

I was also lucky that my late wife was as prudent as I was and so between the two of us we lived prudently and comfortably without keeping up with the neighbours.

If there is one area where I overspend, that is in buying books which has been a weakness for decades and I think that since it is a harmless pastime of some benefit to me, it can be forgiven by the younger fans who read this and who are in debt living a life of EMIs.

Despite that however, I am debt free, asset rich and revenue comfortable.  I think that it is a nice way to be.

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, Family, People | Tagged , | 24 Comments



I am in some confusion and am writing this post to try and clear the cobwebs to come with the correct solution to a problem that I am facing just now.

There is an acquaintance whose presence in my life is toxic to say the least. He suffers from all kinds of complexes and covers up his own inadequacies by acting superior and generally being unpleasant and insufferable. I know that he will simply wither away if I cut him out of my life as he has few friends and those that he has, avoid him as much as they can. He has been pestering my other friends too with his unpleasantness and they have had enough of him.

My problem is to decide on the extent to which I should be compassionate and continue to allow him to be in my life. I keep coming to the conclusion that I should cut him off but I feel sorry for him as the last time that I did, he did show remorse and showed some moderation in his behaviour but I now see the old patterns creeping back into existence.

justification 2

I think that I will sooner than later bite the bullet and cut him off.

Posted in Friendship, People, Relationships | Tagged | 22 Comments

Happy Birthday!

Chutki came into our lives exactly two years ago and Manjiree is giving her a birthday bash.

Chutki 1

Chutki 2

This household will be shorn of a great deal of life and love without her.

Happy Birthday Chutki.

Posted in Family, Gratitude | Tagged | 20 Comments


On the 12th and the 13th, we had Deborah and Phil from Georgia USA with us and it was exhillarating catching up with them after so many years.  We were sad to see them go away and look forward to their return soon.
We had Kaush come all the way from Canada via Chennai on the 14th and that was intellectually so stimulating that I slept non stop for eight hours on Saturday night!

And finally, we had my grand nephew Rishit from Hyderabad land up on Sunday to spend the day with us and it was so nice catching up with all that has been happening to him and our family there and also in sharing so much of information that the young lad had not had access to all these years. Unfortunately, I did not take any photographs, but he is here on transfer and so I expect to see a great deal more of him in the days to come and shall indeed take some photographs to save for posterity.

Apart from these out of towners we had so many visitors coming for Diwali that it was quite tiring at times. But, that is a small price to pay once a year to share such joy.

Posted in Family, Friendship, Gratitude, Relationships | Tagged | 14 Comments


Chaitanya and Vaishali are good friends of mine.  I have known them for quite some time now and have always called them by their full names.

Both had come to visit us for Diwali and while chatting about various things, Chaitanya’s nickname came up as being Chaai.  Chaai in India is of course the well brewed favourite beverage Tea.  I was quite amused and we cracked a few jokes about the nickname before they took their leave.  I bid them farewell but this time addressed the former as Chai much to his and his wife’s amusement.

It was after they had left that it occurred to me that Vaishali too could get a similar nickname – Vaai.  That sounds like Wai which is actually a historically important temple town about 120 Kms from Pune.

I can’t wait for them to return to Pune from their Diwali vacation to throw this one at them to see their reaction.

Posted in Friendship, Humor, Language | Tagged , | 16 Comments

King Of Cowboys!

King of cowboys

When travelling overseas, I used to be asked the meaning of my name by many people and I would inevitably translate my surname Rajgopaul as Raja for King and Gopala for Cowherd or Cowboy as in the West translating to King of Cowboys. Lord Krishna was the King of Cowherds.  Here he is depicted as one along with his friend Balaram, cows and calves.


No, I never wore cowboy boots.

Posted in Humor, Language, People | Tagged , , | 18 Comments


Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 5.41.53 PM



This is Shiva depicted as Neelakant (The Blue Throated One) You will find the myth behind that powerful figure in this story.

Somehow I don’t think that Lin had these ideas in mind when she suggested the topic for today’s LBC’s weekly posts when a few of us write on the same subject.

Perhaps this is what she had in mind.

You’ll see pretty browns in beautiful gowns
You’ll see tailor-mades and hand-me-downs
You’ll meet honest men and pick-pockets skilled
You’ll find that business never closes
Till somebody gets killed

If Beale Street could talk, if Beale Street could talk
Married men would have to take their beds and walk
Except one or two, who never drink booze
And the blind man on the corner
Who sings the Beale Street Blues

He said, “I’d rather be there than anyplace I know
Yes, I’d rather be here, than anyplace I know
It’s gonna take the Sergeant, for to make me go”

I’m goin’ to the river, maybe by and by
Yes, I’m goin’ to the river and there’s a reason why
Because the river’s wet and Beale Street’s done gone dry.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Music, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments