Nothing prepared me for the sad night when Dad passed away. Mom woke me up just after midnight on the 11th Jan ‘72 to say that Dad was unwell and that I should call Dr Vishwanathan.I knew then that Dad was very seriously ill as he would never complain of any discomfort or pain. I rushed off at the dead of night to the Vijaya Nursing Home just two houses away from home and demanded of the intern on duty that he wakes up Dr Vishwanthan and get him to come and examine Dad at home. He finally did so after a fair amount of persuasion.
Dr Vishwanatan took one look at Dad and said we had to take him to the hospital immediately.He helped drive Dad, Mom & me to the Stanley Hospital. Soon all important relatives who had been informed, Madhuettan, Detchiedthi, Radettan, Chandraedthi, Amaman & Co started arriving at the hospital. I was the only sibling available at home as all the others were based out of Chennai at that time. Hema rushed down from Coimbatore along with Vijayettan but would only reach the next morning.
Dad went through a long operation later in the evening, a delay caused by the general believe that the operation should only start after “rahu kalam”. He almost collapsed on the operating table but was revived. Chandraedthi being a doctor was present all through the operation.At one time she dashed out to get additional blood.We all knew that things were very serious.Eventually when the operation was over, the Doctors seemed visibly happy but said that Dad’s chances of survival were 50:50 .Later that night less than 24 hours after I had rushed to get help from Dr Vishwananthan, Dad passed away.
The next day, as the only son present, I carried out all the funeral rites and lit Dad’s pyre .. a duty I still feel very grateful for.The next day as I sat alone in the drawing room at Hartland, I suddenly began to cry and sob aloud. Hema came to me and asked me to be brave and strong.I nodded and wiped away the tears.That sad event more than any thing else was the turning point were I bid farewell to childhood and hesitantly stepped into the world of adulthood.