Thursday, January 12, 2017

You are Schtopal

Anna, all bundled up
My father is definitely slowing down. Earlier he could shuffle-walk to the big park behind his apartment. Now he barely gets to the gate of the colony. Previously we had more hours of wakeful cogent conversations. Now when I do have cogent conversations that last for 30 mins, I call it a good day.

As usual, last Sunday morning I decided to take Anna out for coffee. He was waiting patiently, sitting at the dining table for me at 11am, our usual hour.

Me: Anna, are you ready to go out for coffee?

Anna: Yes.

Me: Anna, where do you want to go? To Starbucks in the mall or to the Barista where we sat outside with Mamta and the family last weekend?

Barista at SDA Market
Anna: Say again!

Me: Anna, do you want to go to the mall or sit outside and drink coffee?

Anna: Outside.

I check that he is warmly clothed (something I check each day!), focusing on number of layers vs thickness of woolens. He says he is feeling quite warm. And off we go!

At Barista, he shuffles to a table outside the cafe, waits patiently for his coffee and treat. Today we have a double treat - coffee with Irish Cream flavoring and a paneer, corn, & cheese turnover. We chat about mundane things. And about his illness and the restrictions it places on him. It's like a "repeat it" game. He asks me to repeat questions and responses and I do.

Begumpur / Vijay Mandal Park
Photo Courtesey:
After coffee and a paneer, corn, cheese turnover I ask him if he would like to go to the "really big park". He says yes, and we drive to it. That is the easy part. Getting him thru' chained gates, walking down an incline and wheeling his wheelchair on rough red sand takes effort. But, what the heck, he loves the 3 km "walk" in the park.

On our way home, here is how our conversation goes:

Anna: Sangeeta, you are great!

Me: Really? What did I do?

Anna: You are great!

Me: Thanks Anna. But you have to say that! You are my father.

Anna: No, I don't have to say that.

Me: Fathers always think their children are great.

This goes on for a while. Then Anna changes tack.

Anna: You are very patient. 

Me: Yes Anna, I am.

Anna: You have listened and replied to all my questions and comments today.


Anna: You are schtopal.

Me: Schtopal? What does that mean, Anna?

Anna: I don't know. But it says what I mean.

I have no clue what he wants to say. I think of all the possible words in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, and English that "schtopal" sounds like, but for the life of me I cannot come up with a single word or phrase. I even google it with no luck. Yet Anna is clear that it describes what he wants to say.

Perhaps Anna's Parkinson's and Dementia brain is creating a new language!


  1. Amazing conversations. Great writing!

  2. You are both amazing and you both are very lucky to have each other :-)

  3. Really this is very great information sharing with us. Thanks lot.

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  5. Such a good information given us..thank you..

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  8. You are great. Uncle is right. Whatever I've heard of uncle and aunty, i can understand where your greatness comes from ❤️

    1. No greatness here. Just getting by the best way I know how. Anna is the one with the sense of humor and enjoying the most he can.