Friday, September 30, 2016

Anna's Reaction To The Surgical Strikes In PoK

The last few weeks have been more challenging than usual.

Then yesterday's surgical strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) shows me a glimmer of my father that I haven't seen in some time.

Anna has been slowly recovering from his 20-day hospital stay. His stamina and humour have not returned to what they were earlier. Incidences of disorientation and hallucinations have increased. As has his slurring and inability to find the right word for things he wants to express.

Then there has been my illness. The hip and leg aches that woke me up in pain in the middle of the night for months, is diagnosed as urinary tract infection (UTI). I have been on medication for over a month now. Most common and effective medications didn't work to reduce the infection, and I ended up being allergic to the medications that did work! Today is day 7 of a 10-day regimen of twice daily shots of Amikacin 500mg. And we are not sure if Amikacin will work either.

When I meet Anna in the evening (after my painful evening shot of Amikacin), I find him looking blankly at the TV as NDTV re-plays the news on the surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads in PoK.

Me: Anna, did you follow the news on the Indian Army's strikes in PoK?

Anna (looking at me, confused and worried): We are at war with Pakistan?

Me: No-No, Anna! We are not in a full-scale war with Pakistan.  

I snap my fingers to get him to focus. And then point to the TV. Look at the TV, Anna.
I pause while he focuses his eyes on the screen. See the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes against terrorist launchpads in PoK, early this morning. It was very successful.

He watches the news for 10 mins, mildly interested. And then falls asleep.
I do some household chores and then wake him.

Me: Anna! Anna!!
I am greeted with a beaming smile

Anna (making a victory sign with his hand): Congratulations!

Me (confused): Congratulations for what, Anna?

Anna: We won the war!

Me (huh?): What war Anna?

Anna (excited): We won World War II !! 

I am still absorbing this when he says, So how are we celebrating? Let's have champagne.

Me: Anna, you can't drink champagne.

Anna: We should celebrate with something.  Pause. Champagne or coffee.

Only my father can equate champagne with coffee!

I then spend many minutes explaining the surgical strikes, restating slowly what has been playing continuously all day on TV.  This time he seems to understand.

Anna: It's good that we are in Bangalore

Me: Why, Anna?

Anna: Pakistan's nuclear warheads can't reach Bangalore.

Me: But Anna, we are in Delhi.

As soon as the sentence leaves my mouth, I Gibbsslap* myself!

Anna (now worried): Pakistan will fire a nuclear weapon at us!

Me: No-No Anna. They won't. It is easier to say that, than to actually fire a nuclear weapon.

Anna: All they have to do is load a 747 with nuclear warheads and bomb Delhi.

Me (not sure it is so easy to load nuclear warheads onto a plane): No Anna. I bet the other nuclear powers are already talking to Pakistan to prevent the use of (nuclear) weapons.

Anna (really worried): They are saying that they will use nuclear weapons!

Me: Anna, that is only sabre-rattling by the Pakistanis. They won't really use nuclear weapons. 

This goes on for some time. I tell him, with a great amount of assumed authority in my voice and tone, that the US, Russia, China, and France are all talking with Pakistan to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. For some reason, he believes me.

I know he has calmed down when he tells me that he wants to sleep. And does. In the blink of an eye. The threat of nuclear war put to rest.

* Gibbsslap - a term used to describe NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs slapping the members of his team on the back of the head if they're getting off topic or if they're just acting like idiots in general. Watch the video.

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