| Jasbir Kaur | Opinion | 1 Aug 2015 | Asia Samachar |
Dilip Kaur is battling a terminal, non-reversible cancer. But she vows not to let it take over her life. Blogger Jasbir Kaur talks to her.
I am addicted to social media, I confess. I pretty much know the what’s, where’s, why’s, when’s and how’s of most people in my virtual world, just by a click of a button or touch of a handheld screen. A new world which is neither good nor bad, it just is.
As per my morning ritual; a cuppa in one hand and my android in the other, I’d get a dose of my human connection and fill the void by scrolling down my timeline. Liking the status updates as I scroll down just like my dog marking his territory by pissing on every tree during his walk. Usually nothing out of the ordinary but when I came across pictures of my aunt, travelling with some of her friends, a sudden feeling of sorrow and joy engulfed me. I time travelled back in time, to a place when life seemed so much simpler than it is today.
She was the first person whom my husband, then boyfriend, confided to about me and she welcomed me with much love. She was and still is a loveable, approachable and full of emotions. A beautiful social butterfly that never lets anyone feel out of place. Her hearty and contagious laughter never ceased to entertain us. She is still that same person today only under different circumstances. She is what in Sikhism we like to refer to as a chardi kala person.
Chardi kala is an important expression used to reflect the mental state of optimism and joy. To always be in high spirits, blissful and buoyant even in trying times; as a sign of contentment with the will of God.
My aunt is suffering from cancer. It is terminal and non-reversible. There is nothing more the medical field can do except to keep her comfortable and pain free. Just reading these words alone would have many feeling sorry for her but not her.
She has vowed not to let cancer take over her life. In her own words she said: “I feel that the little time I have left, I am going to enjoy every moment of it and I don’t have time for depression, for God has given me a life to live, so I am doing just that! Therefore live, love, forgive, forget, enjoy and laugh.”
Wow! I mean seriously, how does one not be impressed by that? I had goosebumps all over my body and a sense of pride for personally knowing her. This strong and courageous person, is taking the bull by its horn and riding it. If this isn’t the true epitome of chardi kala, then I don’t know what is.
Instead of staying in the hospital, she is back home caring for her family, planning a trip to Urulu with some of her friends and anxiously awaiting the birth of her second grandchild, due in August.
Speaking to her over the phone would not give you the slightest hint that she is undergoing tremendous upheaval battling for her life. She still is the same old Dilip who would laugh her heart out, love like there is no tomorrow and travel until her feet swell up and she can move no more.
She has even put up a note outside her door, urging visitors to wake her if they drop by unannounced because she felt bad missing out on the opportunity to meet some family and friends who came to visit her in the hospital and left without seeing her because she was asleep. That’s a gem of a person, who despite being in pain still cares for others and make them feel appreciated for taking time off their busy schedule to visit her.
I am a firm believer of six degrees of separation and there is no such thing as a coincidence. This aunt may not be related by blood but we are connected to each other in so many ways. She is my father in law’s sister, my mother in law’s sister, my husband’s confidant, my children’s grandmother and so much more. She has unknowingly returned my believe in being Chardi Kala is possible because not too long ago when my mother in law lost her battle to cancer things were very different and difficult.
Her final days were very hard on us and to be in constant high spirit was not possible. Those close to her were affected too when she began shutting herself in her room and refusing to meet anyone. Her cheerful and noisy house became a very a gloom and dispirited place. She, who used to repeat these very words to her son “Happiness is a choice. You can choose not to sulk and carry on, you know?” was somehow lost at making that choice. We blamed her sudden change of character to chemotherapy. Agreeing that the chemo had fried that circuitry in her that allowed her to make that choice but inevitably it dragged our high spirits down with her.
It was hard listening and agreeing to family and friends who coaxed us to stay high spirited at her funeral and words such as “be in chardi kala” carried no value then but not today. My mother in law may not have had the choice to be happy due to her condition but you and I certainly do.
So live, love, forgive, forget, enjoy and laugh like how my aunt is doing. Don’t let something or someone take that away from you.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
Cancer survivor treats less fortunate to cakes – THE STAR (Asia Samachar, 24 April 2015)
Malacca’s Giani Ran dies of cancer (Asia Samachar, 22 Jan 2015)