Some said that it was clearly a case of “buri nazar” that brought about the disaster. Others were of the firm belief that only the Karma could account for it. But the unanimous opinion was that it was the sadistic play of irony, considering the way the voice that one and all loved to listen to was struck down cruelly one fateful day.
Here I am referring to the time when the great misfortune befell my daughter Pallavi, fondly called as “Pallo”, like a bolt from the blue 12 years ago, in the form of a rare neuro-muscular disease, Myasthenia Gravis, altering the smooth force of her live irretrievably.
Till then I had never seen eye to eye with the belief of nazar striking anyone hard all of a sudden. And the skeptic that I was, operation of Karma governing once life too had not found favour with me. But following this tragic turn of events I no longer scoff at them as they offer some kind of solace to my disturbed mind.
How can one otherwise account for when Pallavi’s career at its peak as the most popular RJ of Radio Mirchi whose Bumper to Bumper has recall value even after 12 years.
One of my friends recollected how exhilarating it was travelling back home in the car, after a hard day’s work in the office listening to her show Bumper to Bumper, which she conducted in a style of her own, a chatter which had stimulating content.
Among the countless fans she had, Kapil Dev who conveyed his accolades to her on the phone could be counted. All of them were deeply disappointed wondering if anybody else could measure upto her place. Why did the voice that ruled the air go off it permanently was what they wondered.
Her voice which clued Radio listeners to “Mirchi” was severely affected by Myasthenia Gravis whose “grave” that is very serious symptoms included slur of speech, severe breathlessness, acute weakness, inability to chew food and swallow water which would at times trickle down from the nose, drooping of eyes that disfigured the face completely. Click here to read her full story.
She was entrusted to the care of Apollo Hospital, where she is still under medical care even though she now much better. The drugs have been too many and too strong, the most dreaded one being the steroids, notoriously known as the “necessary evil”.
The alarming side-effects of the drugs are so many that I feel the remedy too is to an extent match the severity of the malady to certain extent. High blood pressure, hazardous dips in sugar levels, totally sleepless nights for weeks and months, ghastly frequent falls, a few of them being getting thrown meters away with a thud loud enough to be heard in the other room, were in the course of the treatment.
Three major surgeries followed by chemotherapies, two highly critical phases where complete surrender to the Almighty seeing the only way to recovery, the weak to fortnights stays in the ICU punctuated her woeful life. Being under ventilators had become a routine.
Her life before the illness was very eventful, having excelled in whatever she took interest in and pursued passionately, whether it be Bharatnatyam, Newsreader on Radio and Television, as a reader in Aap ki Adalat, writing and directly street plays, being named as “Miss. Geography”, being a topper in B.A. in Kamala Nehru College and the South Campus. She had won over all the students during her 5 year teaching stint at St. Mary’s School, before she took up voice-over as a career.
But amazingly, her achievements after her ordeal have been even more impressive. Her finishing a half marathon after the first major surgery was no mean a feat.
There are in this chronic illness phases that are known as “remissions” when the symptoms almost disappear almost totally. At such times she is at her active best. She ventures to other cities on office work and pleasure trips. Even though generally, her exerting too much is fraught with danger.
“ICU Love Stories”, which she penned while convalescing in the ICU, observing the lives of the inmates she was surrounded by is a tale of its own. It shows the sensitive perception of an author she is gifted with. This ability of hers stirred many.
Contributing her bit to Radio Mirchi and the society as Group Head CSR, these achievements have really done me proud. But what I find really amazing about her has been the calmness in her stoic outlook on life, making the best of a bad bargain and making the most of what remains of her not so normal life.
Never did she lament her fate, self-pity has been conspicuous by its absence in her thought, speech or actions. She would always show a smiling face to me well aware as she was of what a life of agony, I as a mother was going through.
Anyone else in her pathetic situation would have wallowed in self-pity. Once she overheard me, pouring out to a friend of mine, “Why has God singled out my innocent daughter only to inflict on her such a dreaded disease which only a handful out of a lakh are affected with?” At this she became furious with me and admonished me for such negativism.
No fear of the unknown, living each day as it comes, going with the flow, forgiving and moving on, counting ones blessings, gratitude for all one has, are the guiding principles of her life.
Thanks to her will-power coupled with good medical care she is facing life boldly and cheerfully. Her never-say-die spirit in the face of a near fatal disease that she displays is simply remarkable. As the CSR head of Radio Mirchi her commendable innovative work have won her a number of awards. Going to office occasionally and doing office work from home, she spends her leisure creatively, drawing, painting, changing the décor of the house, entertaining guests and more importantly blogging and writing stories.
What is the stuff she is made of? A steely will and a positivism of a very high order. Her personality is summed up in the words “a woman of substance” award she received this year on Women’s International Day.