“My little angel, Tavleen (In the words of father, Dr. Gurmeet Singh Narang) On 16th June, 1993, I and my wife Daisy were blessed with God’s most beautiful gift, a healthy female child who we named- ‘Tavleen’. It was a moment of great celebration as our dream baby girl was born. She made our lives a beautiful journey through her sweet notorious activities. Physically normal and intelligent Tavleen, started going to school at age four. In the year 1998, we were again blessed by a baby, this time a boy who we named ‘Simar’. Even more than us, Tavleen was crazy about her brother. Our family was so well knit, as if the sweet heavens have settled amongst us four. Whoever saw us said that we could not have been happier than that. We felt so complete. But our happiness did not last for long. Misery clouded our smiles with a shocking and unbelievable mishap. My son Simar passed away due to sudden heart failure in the year 2001. The agony brought utmost despair and we had no option, but to accept it. Surprisingly, we could see Tavleen (age 8 that time) portray above average maturity to understand the change of situations. We used to burst in tears every time Tavleen asked us about Simar. In 2003, Tavleen’s need for a companion was fulfilled by our second baby boy ‘Sahaj’ who won our hearts with his innocence. I thanked God and prayed that he blesses us for life ahead. I could see obvious joy on the faces of Daisy and Tavleen after the arrival of Sahaj. Despite our efforts, our misery prevailed, and my wife was reported for acute failure of her both kidneys. After 3 months of extreme struggle for life, she sank to death, despite our sincere efforts and prayers. I was absolutely shattered at that moment. Tavleen was 9 at that time. I gathered my inner self and started living for my children. I had to change myself to take full care of them. I was pretty astonished to see many changes in Tavleen. Coming back from the doom, she was now a more composed and independent girl. She took care of her school uniform, bag, study room, homework on her own. Not only this, she took care of her younger brother as well. She became more matured than her age. Our life gradually began attaining a normal pace. Tavleen was very fond of reading books and had a sound collection. She also learnt singing and playing santoor from her school music teacher. At age 12, she mastered the instrument and won medals in the same too. Tavleen was highly interested in meeting people and celebrities. She got an opportunity to meet Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Past President of India. In their talk, he inspired Tavleen to take care of the city and country by maintaining cleanliness and save the environment by planting trees. He also enlightened her to do something for the orphans. This meeting left a deep impression on Tavleen and she began visiting an orphanage in her leisure time.
Besides all her co-curricular activities, Tavleen was very humble and adjusting. She was flexible with all her classmates and not a single tint of pride could ever touch her. She was always the centre of attraction of her class and school. One could see her wonderful quotes in her classroom. Quotations and thoughts on positive thinking and success filled the walls of her study room at home. I vividly remember some of them as- ‘Take charge’, ‘Validate yourself’, ‘Admit your mistakes and correct them’, ‘don’t run’, ‘don’t panic’, ‘Face the situation’, ‘The best time is now’, ‘You can’, and many more. At the age of just 14, she used to do things that inspired me. Things were really settling down in our lives and I was back on track, emotionally and rationally. Every time I looked up to God and asked Him to uphold this rhythm forever. Tavleen, now 14, was doing very well in life. But God tested our capacities yet again. In June 2007, we were taken aback when Tavleen, after complaint for pain in knee, was diagnosed of bone cancer in right knee. Tavleen – my life, my doll, dancing and singing doll- was under this severe attack. Can you believe how difficult it is for a father to inform his daughter about her suffering from cancer? We were in a total wreck and I was once again in a no man’s land. ‘Where is God?’- Tavleen questioned me. I had no answer. Tavleen, surprisingly, responded that she knew what the doctors were talking about. And that she understood what I was going through. She hugged me and said, “Papa, God has once again put us for a test. I have accepted this, will face it and come out as a winner”. I realized that these should have been my words to her! After various consultations, I took my lovely daughter to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai where she underwent various tests for 3 days. The doctors confirmed the problem as osteosarcoma- a type of bone cancer. She was recommended 9 chemotherapies and one major surgery to remove tumor from the knee. Related side effects of the treatment were also explained that she will lose her long beautiful hair, she cannot go to school for almost a year. We were also told that cancer existed in her leg only and nowhere else in her body. Doctors explained if she takes full treatment, she will be cancer free and that we were at the best medical centre of Asia. Tavleen didn’t even panic. She was calm and composed. I was looking my daughter’s face and complaining God for what he did to us; that a young girl will have to face so much. On the contrary, she assured the doctors that she will cooperate to full extent. She had full faith in God and the doctors. Tavleen was admitted in the hospital the next day and went through pre chemotherapy procedures. She was to first receive 3 chemotherapies, then surgery and then 6 more chemotherapies. It took nine long months for all these processess.
There were several moments during this course that I panicked, but Tavleen was focused to battle with the situation. She never lost willpower and confidence and always remembered God. She talked to her friends, relatives, teachers, uncles and discussed about studies when in the hospital. Not a single person could get the hint of her pain, her tone used to be that unruffled. During her treatment, she lost her hair. One day, she was searching on her laptop for a good design for her wig. When she told doctors, “I am searching for the best wig design”, doctors remarked, “You are a very brave girl”. She was researched on internet to find out something new about treatment and disease. All along her treatment, she read good books, discussed with doctors about her recovery status, checked her charts which were prepared by nurses, saw the reports etc. She took briefings about her recovery and diets, noted them down in her diary; placed posters and clippings of positive thoughts and willpower on the board in her room. Even the doctors and nurses read the inspiring posters regularly. She chatted on internet, heard ‘gurbani’ on laptop and prayed in the morning and evening daily. Even in painful conditions, she never lost the smile on her face. Finally, the day came when she got discharged from the hospital and was back home. Before leaving the hospital, she touched her forehead on the hospital floor, for she believed, “This is also a temple. I have recovered here only”. Tavleen regained momentum in life. She took a healthy diet, her weight increased by 10 kgs and after two month’s rest, she rejoined her school. Tavleen had won the battle against cancer, as doctors also agreed. She accompanied me to Amritsar to pay gratitude to Lord. Her hair grew again, her eating, walking, laughter restored as before. She glowed with the grace on her face. Her medicines continued as a precautionary measure. She kept herself busy with her books, hanging out, appreciating music. I thanked God for her startling face. If she ever saw me gloomy, she cheered me up with her motivating diets. In this wonderful atmosphere, I forgot the entire past nightmare. In May 2008, she was taken for a follow up check-up. After a brief investigation, doctors informed that cancer had spread to her chest. I was stunned, thoughtless and speechless! I looked up to God, and painfully pleaded, “What have you written for her, what wrong has she done? Why again?” I was in a total mess, thinking how she would take this shocking news of 10 month long treatment going in vain. Doctors could not reply. Actually, these days, doctors don’t do their job with sincerity. They need numbers to prepare a data bank and write success stories. I took the bold step and told her. For the first time she broke into tears. She hugged me and said, “For how long will this treatment last.
Did we not do our best? Why did this happen again”. I was speechless and agonized. She told God, “Once again you have dragged me in this down cast; I will not give up; I will fight again”. I hugged her tightly and kissed her with love. Doctors advised me to chose either two surgeries plus chemotherapies or go for alternate medicines. After taking many advices from doctors and medical professionals, we finally chose the path of alternative medicine looking at many people get benefits out of it. Tavleen had now turned more courageous. She developed superb positive mental framework. She encouraged herself, “I want to live”. She began doing pranic healing, pranayaam and reikei. She searched for anti cancer diet and followed it religiously. Her message to God was loud and clear- she was determined to fight cancer and left no room for any negative thought. She contacted worldwide medical professionals, working on controlling cancer, and started following their advice too. Every day she wrote in her diary when she would recover, what she would do, the places she wanted to see. She wanted to run, play hockey and basketball again. We were in great hope that medicines would work and would stop cancer spreading further. God, on whom we laid utmost faith, dedication and prayers, didn’t help. Tavleen was very eager to live. Who wants to die when life has just started to show its beauty? All our desperate attempts to fight the inevitable truth were failing in front of my eyes. She often hugged me and said, “Mere pyare papa, mujhe theek kar do, mujhe jeena hai, koi to aisee dawa hogi jo muje theek kar degi” (My dear Papa, please heal me, I want to live. Is there any medicine that can cure me) Nothing was in my hands; I was a mere spectator, who watched his lovely daughter go away for ever. On the black day of my life, 12th October 2008, God plucked away my beautiful flower and I could not do anything. The courage, willpower and fighting attitude (learnt from Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s lines ‘Na daro, Na taro, jab jaye laro, nischaya kar apni jeet karo’) shown by my daughter was incredible Every time I look up at the sky, I can see three stars near to moon; I talk to them when I am lonely and console myself. “I know you are here with me Tavleen”. Sometimes I ask God, “Why did my beautiful doll go through this atrocity; I was to live with her. Can you answer for the reason behind this injustice done to my daughter, to my family, to me?” This home is incomplete without you, my dear Tavleen. I always love you and miss you my daughter.”