Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jab We Met (Part 4) - "The recovery & the Indian Mother-in-law"



The first time I spoke to my future mother-in-law was to ring her up in the middle of the night and tell her that her beloved only son had been in a terrible accident. This is not how I ever imagined our first conversation to go, but I had no choice considering the situation. Woman to woman - she had to know...

After the accident, we spent a day in the ER and the next day meeting with the city's top plastic surgeon since the burn was so severe. They would need to do a skin graft on his leg and take skin off of his leg and put it on his arm. So he had to have another operation - and it was not just his arm that had to heal, it was his leg too.

We spent the next couple of weeks in and out of the hospital, coming home and then going back again, checking into the hospital again, with me filling out all of the forms, keeping a note of all the appointments, getting medication at the pharmacy, bandages and tape, and cleaning off his arm several times a day and reapplying a thick cream to regenerate the skin, and bandaging it all up again. Our innocent love was uprooted into a choke-hold by a medical crisis. We were no longer gazing at each other under our long romantic walks under the Spanish moss and Oak trees - rather I was gazing at the man I loved, who was vulnerable, in a lot of pain, and homesick as well. We were going through the motions and trying to survive day-to-day.


The day he went into surgery for his skin graft was his 25th birthday. I sat in the waiting room for the entire day. They said they would phone me when the surgery was over, but I just couldn't move. I was too anxious, thinking of him being anesthetized and cut open - again. To make my anxiety worse, Madhavan's phone kept ringing with all of his family from India calling to wish him happy birthday. I answered all the calls, not knowing who was calling because I was eagerly awaiting the notification that he was out of surgery. None of the relatives seemed to understand my accent or why he couldn't come to the phone, but they clearly came to know that a foreign girl was holding his cell phone. I tried to explain that he was having surgery and nobody understood. His mother was too distraught to tell anybody...I think she spent the days after the accident camped-out in the temple.

In the weeks after the accident and the surgeries, Madhavan was delirious with pain and pain medication. I helped him bathe, I changed his bandages, and never left his side. I was on the phone with both of his parents every day, explaining how he was doing and the updates from the doctors. I was so busy taking care of him that my electricity went out in my own apartment because I forgot to pay the bill, and I failed one of my classes. But I couldn't be bothered - he needed me. It was worth it. Besides, he literally had nobody. I didn't want him to suffer alone.

Of course, my future mother-in-law had no idea that I was his girlfriend and that we were deeply in love. She thought I was just some random college friend who was helping him. "Where are all the Indians? Why aren't they helping?" she used to ask. I said they were only concerned with their own courses, which was true. We got a few phone calls of concern after the accident, but really, nobody cared. Not even Madhavan's roommates who we considered to be good friends at the time. In fact, I was spending so much time over there taking care of him that one of his stingy roommates had the audacity to ask me if I was going to contribute to their rent payment. They complained that his bandages stunk and never offered to help. Needless to say, once he got better he moved out, and didn't keep in touch.

His mother was totally floored that a foreigner was taking the time to care for her son while he had an accident in a foreign country. She told me that she was indebted to me. She told me that I was an "angel sent from Heaven". I wondered if she'd still feel the same way about me once he would eventually tell her that we were secretly in love and sleeping together. I wondered if she'd look at me then as a foreign invader, rather than the "angel from Heaven" that she said I was. Only time would tell...

Madhavan never forgot that I took care of him after his accident. Six years later, he reiterated it in our wedding vows, to my surprise. He never forgot. In his vows, he said, "After my accident, you did what my mom would have done. To meet someone new, in a new country, and to have you be so caring to me, when I needed it the most...you were amazing." It brought me to tears. In a weird way, I think it made him love me more. Maybe he became more serious about me, after seeing that I was so serious about him. Subconsciously though, I didn't even know I was so serious about him. I wasn't thinking, I was just doing. I took care of him because I loved him and I wanted him to be okay. I took care of him because it needed to be done. The whole accident scared the crap out of me - I thought I would lose him. I just wanted to be close to him. I loved resting in the bed next to him and cuddling with him. I loved getting his medications and reporting back to the doctor and his mother. I loved taking care of him in the only way I knew how - from the heart...

When terrible, life-altering events happen, sometimes good things come out of it. We were blessed not only to survive in one piece, but to make it out the other side stronger - as a team. For us, in the aftermath of the accident - more love happened. A more serious love that developed quickly into a maturity that would carry us for years to come. And little did we know, it was also the beginning of the love story with my future Mother-in-law....a very complicated one.

We were still in the depths of bandage cleaning when my dad phoned me. He was coming down to Savannah for a week because he was having a work crisis and he needed a vacation. He wanted to meet Madhavan. I had never introduced a guy to my dad before - ever....


TO BE CONTINUED...


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16 comments

  1. Yes! Another part of your story! I love reading it! You are a good writer and the story is also very engaging. I long for the day I can share the story about me and Al. But it is not yet time... I really believe that there will be a day we can look back at this time and say that it was hard but that we survived it together. We are not there yet, but it will come.
    I totally agree with what you said that hard situations can make the love stronger, sometimes growing more together is the only way forward. I'll look forward for he next part, will it be soon? ;)

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    1. Thanks so much! Wait til you hear what happens next, it has been a wild ride!

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  2. This is so interesting to read. I would recommend you to stop writing your love story here and convert this into a book! Indian would love a firangi tale.Plus, I like your writing style also. Do consider this!

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    1. Thanks so much, that is my absolute dream!

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  3. Aww this is so Vivaah-ish more than Jab We Met! I simply just love reading about your love stories with your husband.. Makes me want to have my own soulmate..

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  4. I agree you should consider writing a book, you write in a thoughtful and moving way. And your love story is so romantic ! However I hope you don't stop your blog ! (Padparadscha)

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    1. I'll never stop! But I would love love love to write a book.

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  5. Alright, Alexandra. I'm hooked on this story. I just read parts one through four, one right after the other. When you write your book, I'll definitely read it. I'll also be waiting for however many parts there are to this story. Love it!

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  6. Love love love this story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us.

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  7. ohh i am reading ur blog for few fays before ... and ur jab we wet story reflects dat u r a great person dear more than i thought before reading this part 4 .... god blees u n ur family ... luv u do u speak hindi now ?? :)

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  8. Still waiting for next part.. :)

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  9. Hi Alexandra! You guys have such a beautiful love story... Now we need to know what will happen on Jab We Met part 5.
    Pleeeeeeease :)

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  10. What a story! Absolutely feel for you. And so glad you are together now :)

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  11. Please please write part 5. Its been so long . you haven't updated this at all.

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  12. Loved it! But can't find part 5 yet lol.

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