I miss you so much. That day I was sure I would die too but see its almost two months now and here I am, still walking around, breathing, eating, watching TV… Every time I feel a desire to eat something I feel surprised how is it that I still have any desire left.
Actually I know the answer. I still find it difficult to believe that you are not with us anymore. The house, the roads, the shops seem alive with your memories. Where ever I look, I see you… In the dentures by the basin, in that half empty cough syrup bottle, those insulin injections, the spectacles right by the window.
That night when you were trying to grasp someone with your hands, I wonder who were calling. I remember holding your hands. An unknown fear worrying me. That sound of your breath still rings in my ears. Ma called you and you turned to look at her before falling asleep. She was probably the last person you saw. When the doctor came some three hours later everything was lost forever. Believe me Bapi, I wanted to take you to the hospital. I didn’t like that doctor. So casual and so indifferent. He couldn’t even tell me why you would die suddenly. I mean, you were watching TV with me. Yes, you had a cough, you even kept saying that. I thought you were unable to cough out the mucus stuck in your throat so I gave you some mucolytic. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I actually eased your passage.
That night after Pupa and Moshai had left and I held you while sleeping, you felt so alive, so much at peace. Earlier in the evening when I went to collect your blood reports, I had prayed at the Kali temple near Progressive Club. I had asked Ma Kali to give you some relief and look how she messed things up. She took you away from us and gave you permanent relief.
Next morning Mamma was walking around the house and when I woke up people had started arriving. I informed Thamma but I don’t think she understood much. The house was filled with so many people and they kept instructing us in so many ways. Remember Bapi, you had once told me when Dadu had passed away and you had reached home, someone had instructed you to remove your leather chappals. You said when you wanted to mourn your father’s demise, people were more worried about slippers. That morning I could really feel how you felt. I wanted to kick everyone out, shut the doors and lie next to you. They kept yammering, “Put on new clothes, keep a Bhagwad Gita, Keep some iron…” I begged to them give me a little time but they didn’t agree. There was a queue at the cremation ground it seems.
Thanks to Moonmoon Di I got your alta smeared footprints on a paper, a part of you that I could hold on to.
You looked so handsome in that white kurta pajama. It seemed you were getting ready to get married. Mamma was crying so much. She said you looked exactly how you had looked on your wedding day. I still can’t forget that peaceful smile on your face. It angers me sometimes to think that you could just leave us, that we weren’t enough to hold you back. But… I know you didn’t want to leave us. I remember you told Mamma that you wanted to live for at least two more years.
You always kept your promise but I know I failed. I failed to understand how and when you fell so sick that no one could revive you. I know I took a decision that we won’t go for any extreme measures that might increase your pain and suffering but today I doubt myself… I doubt my decision. It’s a question that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Did I really love you? I know that I love you but what shows my love? Did I love you enough to prolong your life in any possible way or did I love you enough to keep you comfortable and let you go?
Tell me Bapi, was I wrong? I knew that you wouldn’t have survived the prostate surgery. I knew the dialysis would have made you sicker and not cured you. I had tried to get an appointment for Saturday but the hospital didn’t accommodate us and you never gave me time to take you to the doctor on Tuesday. Believe me Bapi, I would have gone to the ends of world to save you.
The people who came to see you kept saying, “Ora bujhte pareni, je or pran ta beriye jachhilo” (They didn’t understand that it was his last breath). No, we didn’t understand, else we would have done something instead of standing and wringing our hands. We didn’t understand because even though the doctors had told us a few years back that there was nothing more to be done, that you were a ticking timebomb, we had hoped… no, believed that you will be there. You will be amongst us to celebrate your 40th marriage anniversary or your 70th birthday or may be to give me away on my wedding.
Do you know, you looked more alive that day at the cremation ground than any other day? I had waited by your side. I had hoped that you would turn and say, “Kutu… bhalo lagchhena. Let’s go home now.”
But you didn’t…
When they rolled you in, in a fraction of a second you were gone, consumed by that fire that seemed to burst out of you. It must have hurt, isn’t it? You were gone… gone from the world, from the house and from our lives. No … maybe not from our lives because its true that I cannot hear your voice, cannot see you or hold you anymore but I can still feel you.
When I smell that cocoa lotion or the Old Spice after shave lotion or the baby powder, I can still imagine you smiling at me happily showing me your cheek for a kiss.
I wish I had time… time to take you to your old school, meet your cousin, eat at Sangowali or may be to dress you once more or give you a hug. I wish I had some more time may be to tell you that I love you or for one more kiss.
Hugs and Kisses