A check list when you visit a sick person.

“Mala uttaure Deva” Aunt Ursula was demanding of our father in heaven.

Like he would want to saddle himself with another whining, dissatisfied soul. I can imagine her entering the pearly gates and telling St. Peter, “tycha phatley saaf kor” and out of sheer fright St.Peter would pick a duster to dust the pearly gates. While Aunt Ursula would stand there supervising the venture hawk-eyed.

Coming to think of it St.Peter must be petrified of this brigade of efficient,”my way or the highway women.”  Take a deep breath, imagine, a St.Peter furtively peeks through the keyhole of the pearly gate, he sees this prim woman in white sari or black dress, hair tied into a no nonsense bun  between the occipital protuberance back erect and chin up, boy he must have slinked right out to the nearest bar to fortify himself.

Anyway, this oft repeated dialogue is on, Aunt Ursula’s octave rises when no one seems to pay attention. Never mind it is an ankle fractured and the rest of her is absolutely fine.

Fortunately for the rest of the house there are enough and more just retired nieces and nephews lined up. So caller one,

“Kashyaasa, Ursula auntie?”

“Koun ulaitha?”

“Haanv ge, Maria,”

The identity of Maria my cousin and Aunt Ursula’s niece gets  established. Maria enquires,

“Jevtees kaa” this is something that I have not really been able to figure, Ursula has fractured an ankle, her stomach is so perfectly fine, yet the first question is “are you able to eat?” What are you eating, to which Ursula spins a long list of gastric disorder beginning with flatulence to challenged bowels.

The fibre free diet and edentulous state are conveniently forgotten.

Now Anna-Maria, who lives down the lane, is a good catholic, despite of being part of the revival movements, she is regular to the mass and donates prudently when she has to. Visiting a sick old woman is definitely makes the reservation to pearly gate more secure. She comes trotting with a box full of homemade sanna and somethingelse.

Now after hours of not speaking except for the occasional lament to be called forth by the Lord, Tia Ursula has found a new listener, so they talk of all the members of their congregations, the poor laryngeal muscles, that were at a state of habitual rest get activated, the process being rather new, the accumulated mucus has to get dislodged and then resultant slough has to be ejected, causing Tia Ursula a spell of cough.

“grate ginger, do not use the mixer” Tia Ursula directs, when the ginger is duly grated,

“use the muslin cloth and strain it,” she says, that’s done too,

“now add a drop of that to a teaspoon of honey and give it to me.” Action executed. This exercise of ginger-honey happens at perfect intervals of 90 minutes.

In next phone call, Anna-Maria comes with her suggestion of cough syrup. While Maria suggests something she has seen on TV, it is ayurvedic, the koff-Aid prescribed for Uncle Dennis, that is Aunt Ursula’s husband is the immediate line of treatment, and finally when Parimalamma, Tia Ursula’s homeopathy friend turns up, she gives her some homeopathy drops. So Aunt Ursula has covered based with whateverpathy you want to talk about.

Now Parimalaamma is a kind soul, too, she does not want a reservation to pearly gates. She is satisfied with one to swarga, in case you think we are talking about the house down the lane, well, not really this is somewhere up in the clouds, and the gate here is guarded by two guards, and the tickets are thoroughly whetted by Chitragupta the divine keeper of good deed records. So Parimalaamma has turned up with dosa and homemade pickles.

The two hours of conversation conveniently forgotten the poor dosa and lemon pickles are held responsible for the cough today.

Then came Shantabhai from across the road, and she shared her experience of how a breakfast of “sajjaka’ healed her third cousin from the devastating fracture, never mind the doctor or the surgery he performed.  This knowledge was seconded by Anna-Maria’s husband Peter, so Hail Mary and more, since then in a house where breakfast was a obscene  word… instead of 8am with swargiya Kundanlal Saigal, it is 8 am with “sajjika for breakfast.” And the chai pe charcha moves around, the proportions to make sajjika. J

Between all this Susannah calls with her remedies that she has googled. Wow a fractured ankle definitely renders all physicians obsolete.

Inquiring if she has started physiotherapy, of if she can walk with walker just does not seem to be on the conversation plane. The health inquiry begins and ends, with the digestive system and at the most the larynx gets acknowledged.

This is when I think of Dr.A.V.Rao one of the most amazing people that I have seen. He was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. He took a deep breath, and would talk about politics, sports, and latest medical developments with his visitors. The standard enquiry of

“How do you do” always received the reply,”wonderful, great” no morbidity, no dramatics of any kind.

In case any of you have a relative who requires the magical sajjika cure here is the proportion.


1 cup chiroti rawa.

2 cups of water.

½ to ¾ measure of jaggery depending on the sweetness tolerated.

1tsp. Ghee.


  • Roast the rawa till it emits the fragrance. Keep aside.
  • Boil 2 cups of water, when the water boils well add the jaggery, stir for a minute.
  • Add in the chiroti rawa,
  • Keep stirring till it reaches pudding consistency.
  • Turn the fire off, and add the teaspoon of ghee.

few things to take note when you visit someone who is recovering from an injury.

  1. Do not dwell on the sickness.
  2. Leave the medicines and prescription to the doctors.
  3. Do take something for them, but ensure that it neutral, one cannot even say fruits for people could be diabetic.
  4. Try to relieve the caregiver for a while that you are there that would be helpful.
  5. Leave the dietary suggestion to the doctors.

Happy care giving



2 Replies to “A check list when you visit a sick person.”

  1. Fun indeed
    Do read The Age of Frenzy’ if you get a chance
    The original Konkani has been translated by Ms Vidya (Pai?)
    About how the GSB guys had to migrate bcos of the Portugese

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