Random Recollection

After Tragedy, the Second Phase

Yatindra Bhatnagar

This is the second phase of our online newsmagazine Internationalopinion.com that started in 2001 and ran for more than a dozen years in its first phase. Of course, we were subjected to terrible hacking and saw hundreds of our articles and other material disappear. Undeterred, we regrouped and continued on our journey with our older daughter Sujata resolutely and regularly handling the website and putting things with renewed energy.

The last five years is a different story, a story of moves, a story of sadness. My wife Sadhana was sick, became sicker, had surgery and passed away this year, May 15, 2016.  

That was and is a big change in my world, our world. Married on October 8, 1961 we were together for 54 years, seven months and one week. It was a fairy-tale love story, regarded a role model by many; and for me, the ultimate bliss.

[Our daughter Sujata was also married on October 8. Granddaughter Tamanna was also planning for the same date but other wedding essentials were not available that day. ]

International Opinion had slowed down as Sadhana slowed down. Later the site became silent. We had meanwhile moved from Fremont to our daughter’s home in San Leandro (both in Northern California). Then moved to Houston (Katy), Texas, to be near our younger daughter Seema who had twin girls in 2007. We were in Texas for five years and Seema and her cardiologist husband Dr. Randeep Suneja took care of us.

After a couple years Sadhana became sick and sicker. Best of hospitals could not do much. Sujata and her daughter Tamanna Roashan kept visiting us. Sujata spent more time in 2012 with her mom than at her work in Northern California. Surgery of left foot further complicated matters and Sadhana seemed to have given up. But we did not and kept fighting. She was in and out of a dozen hospitals and nursing homes in just one year.

That was indeed terribly frightening – and totally devastating.  

We had to move back to San Leandro to be with Sujata and her husband Mujtaba who devoted themselves, totally, to care for Sadhana – and me. She was in a nursing home where we celebrated her 75th birthday on October 14, 2015. Seema flew from Houston to be with us for the event.

Meanwhile International Opinion continued to be silent and Sadhana continued to be sick, in and out of hospitals and nursing homes every three or four months. On Tamanna’s insistence, we moved from San Leandro to Los Angeles area in Southern California where she had moved a year back to pursue her career as a celebrity make-up artist.

We are a very loving and close-knit family and Sujata decided to leave her very satisfying job at Kaiser Permanente Hospital and we four moved with a sick Sadhana to be as near Tamanna as possible. We are just six minutes away from her.

It was in January this year. However, things did not improve and Sadhana’s visits to hospital became monthly till the fateful day, May 15, when she passed away. Our care and prayers couldn’t do anything; the doctors also could do nothing though they tried their best. It was an unexpected and quick end in just 18 days from 27th April when we were asked to take her immediately to the Emergency Department.

We never expected this sudden development.

Sadhana never recovered, never came home. 

This became an extremely sad chapter in our lives and continues to remain so. It has created a big void in our lives and so our baby, International Opinion, seemed doomed forever though for years we had been keeping the website alive with regular payments.

I never thought the website would come alive one day, but it had to happen.  

The silver lining was shown by Tamanna’s announcement of  her pregnancy and her total belief that her Nani (grandma) is coming back to her. That started changing the scenario. Though we still miss our multi-talented Sadhana badly, we slowly started to feel that “the show must go on.”

A little bit about Sadhana:

Painting, writing poetry and articles, radio talks/programs, sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet, sports, singing, cooking, hospitality and many more skills have been the hallmark of Sadhana’s glorious life. Many of her poems and articles were printed in newspapers and magazines and broadcast on radio. Her paintings and sketches have been exhibited at several places in India and abroad. Many of her paintings found special places in homes and offices of dignitaries, both Indian and foreign. She has beautifully painted and sketched many historic and other memorable places during her travels. Sadhana collected, edited and produced a book of poems about the war of liberation of  Bangladesh in 1971- also contributed one of her poems.

A collection of her poems will be published shortly to remind us of her talent, sensitivity, compassion, love and her humanity.

And the new phase of Internationalopinion.com is the result of those feelings and strength, that resolve and inspiration we used to get from Sadhana. Sujata, once again, did all the hard work and plunged wholeheartedly for this re-birth. Mujtaba joined in with his computer expertise at the critical moments.  We could accomplish this also because Seema was managing all the other side projects in which we kept involving her.

And so, here is the newly revived, second phase of IO, dedicated to the memory of Sadhana Bhatnagar.

We are sure, she would have liked us to quickly revive IO and to see me again devote my time and energy to doing what I have always done so passionately and lovingly all my life.

An appropriate poem read at her Memorial Service says it all: