bogeyandruby

Random stuff, reflections on the meaning of life and death, humour, self-deprecation, a bit of bad poetry.

It’s my dad’s 89th birthday today. Since the first time he nearly died during cardiac surgery, eleven years ago to the day, my dad has set his sights on making it to 90.

A natural extrovert and party-man (his idea of a good time is making sure his guests practice the deadly sin of gluttony), intent on celebrating every birthday with a bang, he repeated history by nearly dying again three years ago.

Even then, end stage heart failure didn’t stop him from attending his own birthday party, the week-end long event bracketed by two hospitalisations and yet another cardiac surgery. If you’d witnessed him gasping for breath the evening before his surgery, you’d have been as certain as I was then, that he was a goner. Instead, he was given another respite, and more time.

My father has no interest in dying. He exercises daily, a half hour of stretching and calisthenics in the morning in addition to a long walk around the block with my mother. During non-COVID times, he attends aqua-fitness classes thrice weekly and practices brain exercises at what he refers to as the adult day care (centre) on Monday afternoons. He plays the stock market every day and bought a Tesla last year. He continues to give support and advice (often unsolicited) to his children and grandchildren.

He did consider death briefly at sixteen years old, the option of jumping into a well while running for his life from a sword-wielding assassin in post-Partition Pakistan.

“Brother Raminder stopped me.”, he explained, referring to his older brother. That incident would forge an unbreakable bond between them until my uncle’s death some twenty years ago.

I asked him once how he coped from the trauma of that incident and the subsequent experience of being a refugee, moving from camp to camp in Pakistan, before crossing the border into Northern India.

“Indians don’t dwell on these things. We move forward and get on with the business of living. We were always well-fed in the camps; the refugee community focussed on food. I gave back once I got to India by helping out at the camps.”

Well, that would explain the importance of having enough food to feed an army, or perhaps an entire refugee camp, at his parties.

For the record, it is very likely that my father has already reached his goal of ninety. Birth certificates were generally not issued in these places during those times. There were no public records. Too many people to keep track of. Nobody really cares if you live or die.

It’s a convenient practice if you need to change your age in order to meet a particular criteria. In my father’s case, it was a matter of my paternal grandmother lying about his age when he needed to repeat his school year, having missed much of it due to heavy monsoons and the family moving from the grounds of a local Maharaja’s estate in Utter Pradesh, to ancestral land in Pakistan.

If he is ninety today, he isn’t acknowledging it. The problem with reaching an objective like that, is what do you do once you get there. Aim for a hundred? You betcha!

Besides, the blow-out party is planned for next year. He’s hinted at a cross-country train ride across Canada, the whole family in tow. Or perhaps another birthday party celebrated with relatives in North Wales (there have been too many to count).

If my dear cousin Annwen were still alive today, she would have joked, “What, another party? Is it your birthday again, Uncle Paul?”.

Yes, indeed it is.

Happy birthday, dad. See you same time next year.

Post-op cardiac surgery August 2017
Enjoying a take-out masala dosa, one month post-op, September 2017
King of the castle: my dad’s 86th birthday party.

16 thoughts on “89

  1. Linda Brown says:

    Ohhhh my ❤️
    Go Daddio! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. micko1 says:

    Thanks for sharing Sharon.Hearing about other peoples trials and courage help me remember how lucky I’ve been not to have suffered such trials and to work at being courageous in my own life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      He’s had a good run. And he’s been very lucky with respect to outliving that rusty old heart of his. Any additional time added is bonus. 😊

      Like

      1. Preet says:

        Very very good. BPS still the most excellent dude in town.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. bogeyandruby says:

        Thanks so much, cuz. He is indeed. 😊

        Like

  3. Ian Hanchet says:

    A wonderful loving story about a man I have come to respect and love. Very good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s mutual! Thanks, I! 😘

      Like

  4. Jean says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Peter Wheeland says:

    What a lovely tribute to your dad, Sharon. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Thanks so much, Peter! 😊🙏

      Like

  6. Elaine Lowe says:

    Congratulations on your dad achieving 89 years! That’s a real milestone that Not many people get to experience. And no matter how frail or addled or cranky, you still love your dad and mum. Enjoy the hours and days and years with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Will do, Elaine. Thanks! 😘

      Like

  7. Kiki says:

    Oh Sharon, this is the most touching and loving daughter-to-daddy testimonial ….. Please convey to your father my heart-felt congratulations and egg him on to make it to the next birthday with the same beautiful smile and a sense of mischief as is shown in those photos above. I remember when my mum announced that she wouldn’t count on her still being around at 90, she celebrated her 93rd full year (as in her 94th real birthday) in July 2020 – she still has a pretty sharp mind, only her body is really, really tired. She needs lots of sleep, can’t take long trips any more, but all her 4 kids with partners and herself (one of my sisters has her birthday on the same day as mum, too!) celebrated in a reserved room at a restaurant and we could even take her back with us to our new rental place so that she could ‘see’ (she’s blind and only has a sight of roughly 3-4%) where we live, now that we’ve returned to our native Switzerland. This is such a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Thank you so much, Kiki! I will certainly pass on the message to my dad. We dropped by yesterday evening with a beautiful mango-raspberry cake with almond crust and ordered his favourite take-out: pizza! Like your mum, he also has visual deficit so I had to read him this blog out loud as well as all the online messages. He was wearing a shocking pink polo shirt (a hand me down from my brother) and was absolutely delighted. How wonderful that your mum has outlived her prediction and happily! In my field, quality of life counts more than quantity at times, quality being something different to each individual. 🙏

      Like

  8. Live & Learn says:

    Heartwarming post Sharon….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Thanks so much, David! 🙏

      Like

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