“The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.”
― James Patterson, Angel
While I was studying in college, one morning at around 4.00 AM, me and my mother woke up to find my father, whom I call Babuji, was panting for his breath. I immediately ran to call a doctor. My mother started preparing him for going to Hospital, as we guessed that he had to be moved to a hospital. One of my cousin — Piklu — was staying with us then. He woke up and immediately ran to call a cab.
The doctor came home at that early hour of the day with me. He checked Babuji and suggested to take him immediately to a hospital as it was a case of coronary attack. The cab was also ready by then waiting at our door. I and one of our neighbours, who woke up hearing some sound from our house and came down to see, immediately rushed my father to the hospital. My mother and Pilku were following us in a separate taxi.
Babuji was lying on my lap on the back seat. I could suddenly see in the cold early morning street lights of Delhi on our way to the Hospital that his eyes were still. I missed a few heartbeats. But, I tried to re-assure myself on the way that he was alive and would be OK as we reach the hospital when doctors start his treatment. I started praying for his life.
But, my prayers then fell into deaf ears, the Emergency department doctor at the Safdarjung Hospital declared him “brought dead”! It shattered my world. But, I had to gather strength to manage everything and my mother. She was uncontrollable then. She just reached behind us.
The irony was that my father was declared dead at the same hospital where I was born – Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi around 20 years ago.
The date was November 30, 1983. Slowly the news spread and there was quite a crowd at our house after we reached back home with Babuji. I still remember that day with gratitude to our neighbours as they stayed back with us taking leave from their office despite that day being the salary day. They stayed back to console us, to arrange for informing relatives and for funeral. We were lucky to have such wonderful neighbours who didn’t bother us instead made all arrangements themselves for funeral, including payments. Thanks is a very small word for them.
I miss you, Babuji. I love you very much.