All three of them were right there at Jaslok Hospital when she breathed her last. It wasn’t unexpected. She had been battling cancer for six years. But inevitability does not always help one to be prepared. “She has gone to a better place,” the father said to his two daughters. Such a philosophical assurance often fails to have an impact when you have lost a loved one, especially your mother. And even more so when you are a school-going kid, who needs her mother for just about everything. After all, she is the one to cuddle and wake you up, to hand you your cup of Bournvita while you yawn away, the one who combs your hair, hands over breakfast, and screams about you getting late to school. She is the one you crib to, bargain for things dad would never approve of, the one who wakes up before you on an exam, calms you down when you are blowing your top. Mothers are magical beings who are irreplaceable. Without your mother, you’re lost. And your father is lost along with you.
Braving the storm
Back in 2001, Narayan Seshadri was this super-smart, super-busy professional, heading the consulting practice at KPMG when his wife, Anuradha, was diagnosed with cancer. This was then followed by a blur of events: she was admitted to Tata Memorial to undergo radical mastectomy, chemotherapy and so on. “She was in a bad shape. That was disturbing. The girls just went quiet,” recalls Seshadri. But Anuradha braved the misery to get back on her feet, quite literally, in a couple of months. Employed with the Press Information Bureau, “she handled Vajpayee’s press when he went through knee-surgery in Mumbai. The kids have photos with him,” his eyes light up as he speaks.
Things went back to normal till 2003 when Anuradha had a relapse. Another round of medication followed and a year later, the doctors lost hope. But Seshadri didn’t. Instead of giving up on her, he gave up his job, impressed upon his wife the value of life over money and set out to Houston in the United States for her treatment. After two months, she seemed fine and the couple headed back home. “I decided to do something from home,