As a kid, I never quite understood why my mother asked me to thank the lord before going to bed everyday. Looking back, I think this was her way to instill the value of not taking things for granted in our lives.
You see.. humans are greedy. We are always thinking about “what’s next?” but do we actually stop for a second and think about where we’re at and how far we’ve come…How lucky we are to be loved by the people around us.. how lucky we are to be alive?
Honestly, this realization hasn’t come easily to me. In 2017, my brother, Shikhar, had a near-death experience.. which in Malcom Gladwell’s words was my Tipping Point and was probably a strong reminder of what’s actually important for the rest of my family.
I remember it so vividly.. as though it had happened just yesterday.
It was 3:30 am in the morning of July, the 9th when I received multiple calls from Shikhar’s friend to inform me that Shikhar had met with a really bad accident in Hyderabad. Unable to comprehend what was going on, given the time of the day, I immediately called up my brother, Prakhar, who also lived in Hyderabad. Fast-forward to 4:30 am, Prakhar and his wife, Kriti were at the hospital, signing approval forms for a brain surgery that was required to remove blood clots from Shikhar’s brain. The doctor had told them that it was highly likely that the recovery would not be 100%.
When Kriti called me to inform this, my tiny brain was unable to process it at that time. Thousands of thoughts raced through my head at that very moment which left me completely numb as though I was in REM — my body paralyzed and my brain living a really bad dream.
“How could this even happen? We all had just spent the last weekend together in Delhi. Everyone was well, healthy and happy. WHY did this even happen? How will the elders be able to take this? Everything was going so well for him.. He had just graduated from business school and had started a new job at Microsoft. Now this? What if he never recovers like the Doctor said? Why didn’t I spend enough time with him lately? How will we survive this?”
Lesson —Life is unpredictable. Don’t take your life or anyone else’s life for granted. Moreover, don’t wait for something to go wrong to start doing things you know you should be doing right now.
It took me a few days to get my head around what was really happening. The surgery, which led to 50 stitches on his head, went as well as it could go. He was heavily sedated and was moved into the ICU for a week.
The next few days were worse because all we could do was wait. It’s almost amazing how disposable and powerless such situations can make you feel. However, our days got a little better when we went to see him in the ICU.. awake and breathing. They also got better when friends and family came to visit and we all reminisced about all the good times we’ve had together in the past.
Lesson — Don’t take your relationships for granted. It is literally what got us through the bad days.
Anyway, so things got a little better in a week and he was moved to the medium ICU where we could visit him a lot more. Being very athletic and strong, he quickly recovered physically. But he still couldn’t remember or communicate well which was a big concern for us. We spent the next week with him in the ICU, taking turns. Our lives had paused. There were some really bad times and everyone broke down at some point. But we stuck together and showed the light to one another which kept us afloat.
Lesson — In the end, your family is all that matters. Period.
We used to talk to him, remind him, pray for and with him, and fill his surroundings with positive vibes. And one random afternoon, he woke up and just remembered everything. He called me by my name (which by the way he had given me when I was born) and I have never felt that relieved in my entire life.
Lesson — All the good that you do, your positive energy and prayers comes back to you when you need them.
We then moved him to a room for another week and then got him home. He has had a speedy recovery with no permanent ramifications from the accident. He’s back to being his brilliant self (didn’t really take much time at that) and is even back to playing badminton like the pro that he is. In-fact, it is very difficult to reckon that he has been through something like this recently.
Lesson — Keep the fight alive in you; You can rebuild yourself no matter what. Be healthy, both mentally and physically.
As a family, this is absolutely the most difficult thing that we’ve had to go through in life so far. But when we look back at it now, it just reminds us about how lucky we are to have such amazing friends and family who got us through it. This incident is a reminder for us to spend more time with one another, love one another at all times. In hindsight, it has just gotten us a lot more closer.
In conclusion, don’t take the basics for granted. You never know when it can all slip away.
Thank you everyone who prayed and wished well for us during this very difficult time! We’ll forever be grateful.