My mother Sarika Bhatia was a fashion designer by profession and married in 1991, at the age of 22, to Vaneet Bhatia, a government officer. Just after four years of marriage, in 1996, she fell sick. We took her to several places and consulted doctors across the country, but no one could diagnose her.
Her disease was progressive in nature, and she started developing many issues with each passing day. Despite all the odds, my father took care of her well. From brushing her teeth to combing her hair, from making her bathe to applying nail polish on her nails, from making me and my brother get ready for school to preparing school tiffins - he did everything along with my mother's presence by his side.
Not once did he make us feel that our mom was not well. She became 100 per cent bedridden in 2001, and her disease got diagnosed in 2004. As doctors confirmed, it was Multiple Sclerosis (a condition in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves).
She had solid willpower and a desire to live. She underwent many surgeries, and still, she kept smiling and fought the disease. My father traveled globally for her treatment and didn't leave any stone unturned to get better treatment for my mother. He ensured that despite all the difficulties and disabilities, my mom would enjoy every moment with us.
Living & Spending Every Moment Together
We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries together and went to Malaysia on her last birthday.
My father started learning how to sing so that he could sing for his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary. He opened a 'Langar Hall' (Almshouse) at Raghunath temple in Karnal, Haryana, in her name, serving free food to all daily. It was named Sarika Bhatia Langar Hall.
He made sure that she could visit parlours and movie theatres as he made special adjustments for that. My father's only aim was to bring a smile to her face. He loved my mother unconditionally without any expectations -- just pure love.
Carrying On Her Mother's Legacy
Doctors say that only because of my father's dedicated love my mother survived many years despite of odds. Today, my younger brother, Sarthak Bhatia, and I are both doctors, and it is all because of mom's blessings and father's efforts. My brother and I are grateful and extremely lucky to have such parents who set an example for us.
Mom left us in February 2020, but my father launched a food van in her name after that. It serves free food to all, and in an emergency, it can serve the purpose of an ambulance. Now, we have also started a trust - Sarika Bhatia Charitable trust. We're trying to continue her legacy of helping others. My father sang to make her smile, and he still does.
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