Almost as long as she lived, Sushma Mane worked.
At 8, he helped his family in the wedding decoration business. In his twenties, he got a job as a junior librarian in Mumbai, where he was born. He worked in the public library for 32 years before retiring as head of administration. He then became an insurance agent, made sales calls and went to clients for 15 years. Along the way, she raised three children, separated from her husband, supported a daughter whose marriage broke down, and became a second mother to her grandson.
On August 30, 2020, he died from CVID-19 at a hospital in Mumbai. He was 76 years old.
“When you think of Grandma, you have a certain image in your mind – chair swing, needle, knitting,” said Viraj Pradhan, the 28-year-old grandson of Mann. “She was OK. She was super granny. ”
Growing up in the main Mumbai suburbs, the middle class clung to childhood. The family insisted on putting food on the table. He divorced his parents when he was 12 years old, and it was M who took both him and his mother under his wing.
While Maine’s daughter worked 12 hours as a school-librarian, she set foot in her shoes, took the principal to school, attended PTA meetings, served on school committees, inspected homework, and cooked meals – all the while working full-time.
With a smile, the chief said, “It was basically me and her.” “When I wasn’t in school, I would tag with him on sales calls. We were inseparable. ”
Man was the oldest employee at the insurance company he worked for. It doesn’t matter. He travels around the city, preferring to take public transit instead of expensive cabs to meet clients; He carried a heavy bag full of documents from each shoulder and refused frequent offers to help carry them.
“At this age, they help me maintain the balance of my body,” he once told his director Swati Mittal.
“I don’t think I’ll meet anyone else like him in my life,” Mittal told BuzzFeed News. “He always said he would work as long as he lived.”
The first rupture of Super Granny’s armor came in 2017. A routine medical checkup revealed an abnormal electrocardiogram. After this the man starts losing blood internally and his hemoglobin level decreases. Doctors have never been able to diagnose his underlying condition. “Every few months, when his hemoglobin levels dropped, he became weak and had trouble breathing,” said Pradhan. “He was even tired of walking around the apartment.”
Eventually, Mane had to be hospitalized every few months. Hospital staff draw blood samples so often his skin becomes as thin as paper. He often needs an oxygen machine to breathe. “We had the pulse oximeter for a long time because of the Cavid-19,” said Pradhan, adding that the oxygen mask was a common thing for us. The results of his blood report were used to determine what we would see in the next few weeks. Anxiety became a permanent part of our lives.
Nevertheless, the crisis has strengthened their ties. Mann was talking to his trees on the porch of his small apartment, which he told his kids, listened to old Bollywood songs, and posted pictures for the pictures he took on his main phone. Like most Indians, he was stuck on WhatsApp, often forwarding jokes, funny videos and “good morning” messages to his grandson. He often texted her, his long messages tapped like old letters:
Have you eaten?
Did you arrive on time?
How was your meeting
Stay cool and positive.
Take your medicine.
When will you come back
Have a nice day
– Today (Marathi “Grandma”)
At the end of 2019, the chief quit his full-time job at a digital media company and moved to freelance so he had enough time to look after his grandmother. Their role was the opposite. He said, “He used to be the person people depended on,” but now he was dependent on me. He was not ready for this. ”
Thanks to his grandmother’s condition, most people in the world appeared on the radar of the Kavid-19 chief long before it was noticed. He read the news of a wonderful illness in China and then in Italy, with growing fear. “Despite our frequent visits to the hospital, I was used to being in control of things,” he said, “but I thought if the virus ever came here, I wouldn’t be able to control it. I was terrified of what would happen to my grandmother. ”
March, when India imposed austerity Nationwide lockdown With a little caution, the chief prayed that his grandmother would show him the way. Within a few days, his hemoglobin level dropped again.
During the first three months of the country’s lockdown, Mane had to be hospitalized three times, which proved to be much more of a challenge in the epidemic. Her symptoms – cough, blood oxygen levels and fatigue – were so similar to COVID-19 that doctors often refused to test her without COVID, which was difficult to find at the time. Later, city hospitals were overflowing with COVID-19 patients, only difficult to admit; There were not enough beds.
On August 25, the principal arranged to test the Covid-19 for his grandfather at home. Results will take 24 hours. He had no appetite that night, and he was so tired that he needed help walking a few steps from his bed to the bathroom. The chief slept a little, then called an Uber to take him to the nearest hospital at midnight. It refused to admit him until the results of Covid-19 came out. Until the next day, he apparently spent time at various medical centers, when Mane was admitted to a government hospital, where the cost of treatment would be heavily subsidized. A private clinic.
That good news was followed by two pieces of news: his hemoglobin levels were still declining, and later, he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Crying doesn’t come easily to me – but the first time they put him on a ventilator, I broke down,” said the chief. Shortly afterwards, when he and his mother were tested, they also tested positive for COVID-19. They had no symptoms.
“I don’t try to think about where and how I got infected and whether I infected my grandmother.” “Thinking like that would probably make me feel like I could have prevented it from happening.”
Their final conversation on the phone – just before Money installed the ventilator – lasted 45 seconds. The chief’s uncle was able to send Mani a phone call to the intensive care unit through a nurse. The chief told him to stop worrying about the hospital bill, get well, eat and return home as soon as possible. He told her not to worry about him and not to eat her food on time (“while he’s dying immortal!” The chief said).
When the call ended, he said, he “felt somehow[he’d] Probably the last time I talked to him. ”
Mane never wanted a big funeral, and the plague confirmed his will. Only three people were present at his cremation – the chief, one of his sons and one of his close friends who was like his son. Manna’s daughter could not join; He was quarantined at the hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
Like all the other people who died in the hospital due to coronavirus, Mani’s body was also wrapped in a bag. It was operated by staff wearing personal protective equipment from head to toe and no one was allowed to touch her. The chief said he could not bring himself to see her. He asked his uncle, Monir’s son, to put a letter at his feet, thanking him for everything he had done, including flowers and a sari.
“The thing that will always make me feel bad is that he went to the hospital alone,” he said. “She always wanted to go to bed, at her house.”
Mind manager Mittal said he was stunned by the call. “My breathing has stopped,” he said. “She was in the hospital a long time ago, but we used to come back to her every time. We never thought he would come back this time. Wherever he is now, he is spreading happiness. I’m sure of it. “
A few months later, the chief’s phone kept surfacing photos and videos he had taken. She said she couldn’t look at them because it was too painful.
She has an unread message from her grandmother on her WhatsApp. It sent him one last time. It’s been a few months, and he hasn’t opened it yet.
“It’s probably something generic, forward like ‘Good Morning’. I haven’t tested it yet. I don’t have the guts.”