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09-14-2009, 12:06 PM #1
I love you, Dad: Rajeev Khandelwal
A phone call about his father’s heart attack shattered Rajeev Khandelwal’s idea of a blissful
Quite unlike my current unyielding image on TV, in my younger days, I was a carefree and an easygoing person. I took from life whatever it had to offer, because everything seemed to just work itself out then. Even the day I left my parents’ house in Jaipur for Delhi in search of a career in acting, I was calm, optimistic. Until one day, a phone call from my younger brother Rahul changed it all.
My father had suffered his second heart attack. I flew to Delhi from Mumbai immediately to consult the best surgeons, only to be told that he had to undergo a bypass surgery. For the first time, I really felt I couldn’t breathe and everything around me stood still. Had I actually thought that my father, being an army man, was indestructible? That he would live forever? Yes. It had been a fairytale-like existence, which I was finally jolted out of. That vision of him being wheeled in on a stretcher for the operation, told me what a fool I’d been all this while. I saw pain in his eyes that looked desperate now. Would he see us ever again? He shook hands with me and his touch said it all — son, be good!
Time’s running out
All my life, much like any other self-respecting young adult, I had been self-sufficient and had never depended on my parents for anything. And I lived on, travelled, built a career. My own survival had become the only visible goal and I kept getting sucked deeper into it with time. For all that my parents had done for me, I knew I would ‘pay them back’, when the time was right. Admit it. We all think the same way. But must we wait eternally for that ‘right time’? The new turn of events had taught me the most important lesson of my life — never take anything for granted. One life is too short a time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.
I introspected while my father was being operated upon. Thoughts of him not making it were killing me. It was quite an alien sensation and yet debilitating enough to make me feel like a loser for having waited all this while, just to tell my father how much I loved him. Thankfully I did. The operation was successful. A month later, my father and I visited Rishikesh and went river rafting together. It really seemed like we had rediscovered each other.
Things are different today. I’m happier. I still plan my tomorrow but never before living my today to the fullest.
He shook hands with me and his touch said it all — son, be good
09-14-2009, 12:21 PM #2