Been down with fever and a sore throat since yesterday, and I am back to work.
Falling sick when I was growing up was different.
Dad would take leave from work, and launch a one man crusade against the invaders. Home would become a father-daughter citadel, meaning, we were allowed to make a mess of it till Ma came back from work.
No sooner than she had left the front door, he would start with a status check - he would put the thermometer in my mouth, and then head to the kitchen to make some herbal tea. I would squint, and wait for the mercury to reach 99, and get the thermometer out of the mouth. If it had already reached a 100, I would shake it down to 99 and then announce loudly and gladly that I was decidedly feeling better and should be allowed to go to school. He never called my bluff, but am quite sure he knew. So, despite all my protests, I was sent back to the bedroom.
By then the herbal tea would be ready. The tea was a speshul remedy for sore throats, a miracle cure, I was told. It had herbs instructed by old-wives - except that he would add them all at one go. The results, though not totally disastrous, were potent enough to scare the viruses/bacteria away.
He would then proceed to cook lunch. He is not a bad cook, just that he likes to experiment a little too much. Those days, anything he could successfully boil and add salt and generous amount of pepper to, would be served with much-ado. With the numb taste buds it hardly made a difference so long as the stuff could slide smoothly down my throat. Though, I must say, he has improved over the years. Having a guinea pig helps, I guess.
And medicines? Dad was particular that they be taken on time. I remember him waking me up on cold nights, and giving me an assortment of pills with half a glass of warm water. A cold hand would check if I still had fever, and he would stand still for a minute to check if I was wheezing.
Years later, he packed me away to the hostel sans much emotion, but with a semesters' supply of medicines: antibiotics, antihistamines, multivitamins, the works. One day, lying alone in the hostel room, running a temperature of 103 and yet trying to be all adult about being sick, I felt cold, lonely and abandoned. And then I realized it wasn't the medicines that I needed, it was all the fuss. So I did what I had to do, called him, and whined on the phone.
Like I did yesterday.