Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Andy, you're a star

Five years ago, I thought my brother was going to die. He was in intensive care, paralysed. More technically, he had an acute inflamation of the peripheral nerves and was therefore immobile. Three years ago, he had a relapse but since he got okay the first time, I mostly believed he'd pull through.

One evening after work when I went to see my brother -- routine -- the nurse told me to wait outside because he was getting his injections or the doc was examining him or the catheter was being adjusted. I don't remember what but the message was 'wait outside'.

So I waited outside. I remember sitting on a steel chair and feeling sorry for my brother and trying to not cry because if I cried my fat nose would swell and then when the nurse said I could go in, my brother would know I'd been crying and his facade would collapse and then we'd be desperately trying to not live a film scene - from Kal Ho Na Ho or something.

So, all this maudlin behaviour was happening. I don't remember if I was even trying trying to pull myself together. Then Andy saw me. I hadn't met Andy. I didn't know who he was. But he told me to not worry, that my brother's a brave chap that they were friends and course mates and that he would pull through. I was embarrassed he saw me cry. But grateful for his having come up to me and saying, hello you weepy sister of my friend, please don't cry because you know what, he'll be fine.

And he was. He got out of it. Pulled through just fine. When the hospital days were over, I had a birthday party and invited Andy. I didn't mingle with him much, but he stood in the balcony a lot and I remember him being quiet. Maybe I asked him why aren't you drinking anything.

I didn't know Andy had a bad leg. I didn't know the bad leg had a bad tumour. That the tumour was being cut away and kept coming back and suddenly he was going for a lot of chemotherapy.

My brother told me some months ago about how Andy's girlfriend, daughter of a doctor couple, who had stood by him through all the hospital visits and the cancer, had decided to call it off because her parents wanted for her a more secure future than Andy.

My brother and I spoke about this. He was very bitter. How can she do this? Always the devil's advocate -- but in this case I think 'devil' is a bit harsh -- I told him that it can't have been easy for her to decide and yes, all sympathy with the cancer struck but she's entitled to want a husband who will live!

Andy died two days ago. The day after the world cup. He couldn't take the chemo anymore. I hadn't spoke to my brother for many months. He was sounding like a feeble mouse, trying to keep it together but I could hear his tone, the fever soaked in sadness, I haven't slept tone. He joked about someday getting even with the bastard for having ruined his Goa trip.

Then he changed the topic. No more Andy talk. He asked how I was, if I was worried about not having a job, if I missed journalism...

Fuck that.

Have you spoken to Andy's parents? No, I'll write them a letter..
Is he an only child? nai..younger brother..
How did he go? ... *silence*
How did you get to know..? Apparently he had been calling and Andy wasn't picking up the phone, a message came with time of death..

He said he'd talk to me later. Ok bye..

I log on to facebook later and and see my brother's status in uppercase.

A TRIBUTE TO ANDY SIDHU... A TRUE FRIEND AND COMRADE... WHO LIVED LIFE TO THE FULLEST AND IN HIS BRIEF NUMBER OF YEARS DID AND ACHIEVED MORE THAN WHAT MOST OF US WILL IN AN ENTIRE LIFE TIME... 107 COURSE SALUTES A SOLDIER AND BROTHER WHO FOUGHT HARD AND GAVE HIS BEST TILL THE VERY END...

There were the usual string of comments saluting his spirit.

What broke my heart was I think the 26th-27th comment addressed to my brother on the lines of sorry, sir, I know you were close. That was the only one that my brother replied to:

@ Dey: you know, when andy and i had our respective attacks the first time around in 2006, we were in it together... when i was paralyzed and he was better, he used to push me around in the wheel chair... similarly, when i was better and he'd be badly off after his chemotherapy... i would help clean up and help out when he'd be puking all over... it was an absolute symbiosis... we made it through because of each other... i knew it back then... i realise it all the more now.

I wonder how his ex-girlfriend took it.

5 comments:

Brown Girls said...

Oh Niv, you make me cry. Hugs.

Sucheta said...

The entire day I spent cribbing about not knowing where I'm going in life.

I don't think I have the right to complain now.
God bless your brother and may Andy rest in peace.

spbroad said...

This is heart breaking...
may Andy RIP...
hope your brother is fine...losing a friend is devastating...

The.Mystic said...

May god bless his soul! Just had one such moment today, a guy at work with polio and aspergers got fired because his managers could not think of a strategy to work with him!

God bless your bro!

Soulmate said...

Its devastating to deal with a friend's loss.. Reading this post makes me also say : Andy you are a star..
Dunno why but my heart bleeds every time I hear about a soldier passing away.. May his soul rest in peace..