She was lying on the hospital bed of the child cancer ward of Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore reeling in excruciating pain as chemotherapy was being administered on her to combat the deadly Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (blood cancer). As I looked towards her with melancholic tear bedimmed eyes she assuaged me in her dulcet voice, ”Don’t worry Papa, I will be alright. I understand it is paining a bit now but only to make me better.” My brave little princess barely 13 years old was the only source of my hope and sustenance in that poignant situation.
It was 2008. My daughter Akankshya Abismruta(Pinky) was diagnosed with Pre B ALL (a type of blood cancer) and was admitted in CMC, Vellore. She had to undergo a yearlong chemotherapy regime to combat the disease. The treatment was more painful than the disease itself. But my optimistic courageous daughter faced the ordeal with such inexplicable alacrity that surprised even the treating doctors and nurses in the hospital. As a father I used to worry a lot about her chances of survival but she used to tell me often with a charging smile “Nothing will happen to me. I have a lot of things to do. I will be alright”. Her enthusiasm and confidence in herself was exemplary to me as well as everybody around there. Her ability to tolerate pain with a smile was something unique which was appreciated by one and all. “With such positive attitude towards life she can conquer any deadly disease. We are certain that she will survive”, one of the doctors told me when Akankshya was lying semi conscious on a ventilator in the ICU. And my lionhearted daughter did endure the painful treatment for more than three years and came out victorious. The menacing Cancer accepted an ignominious defeat.
My daughter’s sojourn with cancer and the way she fought it out taught me quite a few important lessons which completely changed my life’s outlook. Her unflinching enthusiasm and never say die attitude encouraged me to look towards life from a different perspective. I used to be a procrastinator and was thinking more about a better future rather than living in the present. My little angel taught me to live one day at a time. What really matters is not the quantity but the quality of life that one enjoys. She taught me that money is not something which is to be saved for tomorrow. Money should be used to enjoy today. After all who has seen tomorrow? I have become more self reliant and optimistic. I do not care what people think about me. My daughter often says, ”Both you and I have the same zodiac sign Aries and Arians are independent minded and never care for criticism.” I am now much more self confident than I used to be. And more importantly I have learnt how to face life’s ordeals with a smile.
Usually fathers teach their children how to live life with confidence. But here I am, a proud father of a pristine, resilient daughter, who taught me the real purpose of life. Today I am not afraid of death. I will not mind if I die tomorrow all of a sudden because my daughter has taught me how to enjoy today without thinking much about the future.
Pinky, if you are reading this let me confess that I owe a lot to you for changing my attitude towards life. Papa will always be with you to repay this debt. Enjoy each day of your life in your own way.
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