My mother-in-law

August 4, 2020 § Leave a comment

Travel is coming up, soon. This weekend, in fact. My mother-in-law is 78 and she lives alone in the coastal town of Calicut in Kerala. This whole Covid scene has been tough on her, but she’s a tough one herself. But my wife has always been worried about her mum going it alone there and we almost went there last month, but a lockdown and other factors complicated things for us. My hesitation, because of my anxiety didn’t help.

One of the ways my mum-in-law copes with difficult situations is by not fully understanding the significance of what is happening. The other is that she has a massive social circle. So she has been happily going here and there, wearing her mask and thinking she’ll be fine. Or rather not really thinking at all. From the fish seller to a ceremony at a neighbour’s place, which included five strangers, to a smartphone service centre that came with two flights of stairs, she’s been everywhere.

She’s all thumbs when it comes to using touch-screen smartphones, but what other kinds are there today, if one has to use WhatsApp properly. First, she managed to lock herself out of her iPad. Then WhatsApp disappeared from her phone for an indefinite period. This meant not just missing out on local gossip, but the loss of her most convenient way of ordering groceries.

These kinds of things have been happening fairly regularly and my wife’s frustration at not being there to help her mother has been mounting. A few months back we discovered my mother-in-law had somehow acquired two landline phone connections and she was being billed for both. She changed her wifi connection provider to a better service, eventually, but the problem of the two numbers isn’t resolved yet because Bharti Airtel, the telecom operator in question has made it impossible for consumers to easily close a connection.

So after many evenings of frustrating and stressful calls with her mother, my wife is determined to go and she was willing to go alone. I was convinced that we needed to keep our family together during these times — and felt pretty scared of us being 9 hours of driving apart and all the other Covid related complications — so we are all going.

We’ve acquired a permit from the Kerala state government — which was done painlessly online — to enter the state, while it still requires a stop at a check post upon entering. We’ve been given a time slot within which to present ourselves at that check post and I’m hoping we won’t run into any glitches.

We plan to be away for two months, staying with my mother-in-law. In October, my wife’s sister is returning to India with her husband after 20 years in Dubai, and she’ll be returning to Calicut, which will allow us to come back to Bangalore.

#travel #oldpeople #seniorcitizens #anxiety

 

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