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It was April and mercury was rising.The sunshine spread like powdered gold over the small patches of parched grass.The cloudless sky and the warm air had forced people to stay indoors leaving the roads deserted during the days.Summer had arrived !!
It was past noon and we had just finished lunch. While drawing the curtains to block the piercing sunlight,I noticed Mrs.Khanna stepping out from an auto. Beads of sweat were trickling down her forehead and a look of exhaustion was written all over her face.
Mrs.Khanna was our sweet natured neighbor who lived across the street with her retired husband . Her son was married and settled in Australia and her daughter was in the last semester of her engineering. Her marriage was the only thing on Mrs.Khanna's mind these days.
A patient of high blood pressure and arthritis, I watched her limp her way to her house.
Of late Mrs. Khanna had been making rounds to the jewelry shop to get as much jewelry made before her daughters wedding was fixed.It was better to be prepared before the day arrived,she often used to tell me.Mr.Khanna was a diabetic who was perpetually fatigued and provided little support to her.
Wondering what she had bought today, I retired to my bedroom to catch up on the novel I was reading.I must have dozed off when suddenly the odd ring tone of my cell phone jerked me from my siesta.The sobs on the other end made me sit up. It was Sunita,my childhood friend.
"Vijay has had a heart attack,can you rush to the Apollo hospital "She spoke in a panicked voice.
" I am on my way" I replied. As I hung up, I grabbed my purse and the car keys.Rahul and Anya were watching a movie. I rushed out telling them that there was an emergency and Sunita aunty needed my help.
My thoughts were racing as I drove on the deserted road. Vijay was in his early 40's . A software professional, Sunita's only complaint against him were the long hours of his job. Whenever she objected he would pacify her by saying he was working hard to secure a bright future for the kids.
The kids were still very young only 7&9.
Pushing the negative thoughts that stormed my mind,I prayed for his well being as I drove past the Sai baba temple.
I hastily made my way to the emergency ward . Sunita was sitting on a bench with her head hung low in despair. She ran to me and hugged me as soon as she saw me and started crying inconsolably. I just held her without saying anything.
After letting her emotions run through her eyes,she spoke : " he is out of danger, but it could have been fatal". I breathed a sigh of relief as I heard this news.
As I sat there with her in silence my mind wandered to some remote corners of my subconscious .Is the stress really worth it ? We spend our lives working 24/7 to secure our children's future but do we ever give a thought to how precious our lives are for them.
Just the other day when I had had a few golguppas on the roadside, I had been paralyzed with vomiting and an upset stomach . The whole house was affected. Rahul had to miss his tution.Dinner was Maggie made by my diffident husband. Anya's project was left halfway. Besides the atmosphere in the house was despondent .
We all know the importance of health . Social media is flooded with tips on keeping a healthy lifestyle and yet we need reminders . We spend hours planning to secure a financial future for our kids, work day and night to ensure they face no difficulties but in the process we often forget that nothing affects a family more than the health of its members.
The illness of a parent can present a monumental challenge in the life of a child and the child need not necessarily be small . At this age too when I hear about my parents illness, it turns my world upside down .
So apart from investing in gold or securing an education or marriage fund shouldn't we be making an investment in our health?
And by investing in our health wouldn't we be setting the right example for our children to follow .
As I drove back in silence I made a promise to myself - in addition to the investment for the education & marriage of our kids, I will make sure that me and my husband invest in our health because only the returns from this investment will enable us to reap the benefits from the others.