My Grandfather and his Unbeatable Super Power
My Grandfather – Late Shri Vachaspati Kaushik was a famous Criminal Lawyer of North India. He had such a bold personality that one used to think twice before speaking with him. He was very particular about his routine. He used to wake up at the same time every day then read the newspaper without fail. No matter which day it is, he used to wear his wrist watch. Every evening he used to play tennis.
Apart from this – throughout his lifetime, he had an ideology “Neki kar dariya mein daal”. Till today we don’t know the exact count of kids he helped and provided education OR how many cases he took without taking a single paisa from them.
Around his 50s, things started getting changed.
One day while playing Tennis, he lost his balance and fell. This was his first incident which I remember as a Kid.
First time it was ignored by all of us. But, later he fell a couple of times and slowly slurring in speech started as well. This is when it became alarming for all of us and we went to see the doctor.
The doctors couldn’t figure out the problem.
Continuously and consistently, my whole family was trying to get the problem diagnosed. We tried numerous doctors starting from Allopathic Doctors in India and then in the US, Ayurvedic Vaids, Homeopathy and what not.
Finally after almost a year or two, we got to know that it’s a rarest of rare disease called PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). At that time, there were only a handful of cases and no treatment was there.
Doctor shared the shattering news that he is in his last stage of PSP and will live only for 1-2 more years and started his medication for the same.
As the time moved on, he kept losing his balance and eventually was unable to walk without support. During the same time, he even faced difficulty in swallowing and lost his speech. Only a few handful could listen and understand his speech, that too after placing ears very close to him. My grandmother, dad, mother and big sister used to help in all his work – walking, toilet, helping in swallowing, bathing. From 7th standard onwards, I even started supporting him in walking and even used to take him to the toilet.
On some days, it would take hours to swallow a medicine. He never gave up patience. My mother and father tried different things to make things easier like using bananas for easy swallowing of medicine.
And apart from the physical reflexes, his brain was working brilliantly.
This was the lowest downfall we could ever imagine of such a personality.
It was hard to believe that a bold lawyer with such a dreadful disease and with only a couple of years of life.
During this undesired transition from a healthy being to a person with this dreadful disease, there was one thing which stood out for me!
We never saw a single tear in his eyes or any frustration because of this disease.
He never gave up. If there were 10 things which he couldn’t do because of this disease, he didn’t give up the rest of the 5 things which he could still do.
- He followed the same fixed routine like he did before. Like after taking bath, there was not a single day that he didn’t wear his wrist watch or read the newspaper or watched the prime time news or had all meals at fixed time.
- He had a photographic memory. So other advocates/lawyers used to come to him for advice/suggestions at home.
He always amazed us by the way he quoted the judgements followed by the year it was passed, book number and the page number as well.
- Also, he taught me English and Civics. I had to listen very closely to understand. He used to just read the topic and the rest of the details he could fill in.
- It was already the 21st century. This wasn’t the era of letters anymore. Still, he used to dictate me the content of letters for his friends and our family members for special or sad occasions. Then, they were posted. This was his way to share his thoughts, best wishes, condolences, or his absence on any occasion etc.
- He never stopped my grandmother from going anywhere. He never wanted to be a liability and not wanted my grandmother to stop living.
- Most wondrous thing, he lost his control on speech but had a control on his singing because the two acts were controlled by different parts of the brain. He used to sing his favorite song on special occasions or while playing Antakshari on letter “ग”.
(Here is that beautiful song without which this story might not be complete.)
ग़म दिये मुस्तक़िल
कितना नाज़ुक है दिल ये ना जाना
हाय हाय ये ज़ालिम ज़माना
दे उठे दाग जो
उनसे तू माह-ए-नौ कह सुनाना
हाय हाय ये ज़ालिम ज़माना
दिल के हाथों से दामन छुड़ाकर
ग़म की नज़रों से नज़रें बचाकर
उठके वो चल दिये
कहते ही रह गये हम फ़साना
हाय हाय ये ज़ालिम ज़माना
– Naushad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F5GLG2wSiY)
This is my take away from his story –
“It was all his willingness, will power and positive outlook along with the family support that he lived 7 years from the day when Dr said he was on his last stage and no cure was available.”
Yes, 7 years combating the rarest of rare disease with his super power!
We all have heard of super-powers. Just remember there is one super power which everyone has i.e. “Will-Power”, which we just have to unleash.
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