death has never been a comfortable facet for me. nonetheless, when siddhartha, the prince couldn’t evade the truth, could I, the common man?
the truth showed its black face saturday morning. pisa ji (father’s brother in law) breathed his last on saturday morning after being bedridden for more than a month with liver cancer.
he left behind a devastated wife and a teenage son and daughter.
there were not many people to attend the funeral. he was no big shot- there were people who knew him at work and neighbourhood. he had never cared for relatives. they too were few in number. some came out of pity. others came thinking the society wouldn’t approve their absence.
i didn’t attend the funeral (i haven’t ever attended one). however, i was there at the hospital the night before.
i had just came home when i saw my parents getting ready for the hospital. as it was getting late, i decided to accompany them. the doctors had given not more than half to one hour. took an auto and reached the hospital to find the three of them completely devastated. pisi (once father’s dearest sister) started crying as soon as she saw mother.
father and i moved to the ward where they had kept pisaji. he was kept on ventillator support although doctors had given up on any reversal of the patient’s situation. pisaji was lying there on the bed. he was dark complexioned. he now looked a shade darker. his eyes looked bright red. he was breathing heavily. several pipes surrounded him.
his son was lying on the floor. the daughter looked similarly pale. i didn’t know what to say. i was short of words. father couldn’t bear the sight and moved out.
understanding that my cousins were young and will be moved by the death of their father, i coaxed them to go help their mother regain strength. i stayed back. it was difficult for me as well. still i managed as there were very few male members who had come to visit pisaji at the last moment.
the bad times are the best test of relationships.
for seven years, both families were not on talking terms. just a few days ago, mother had come to delhi when she came to know of pisaji’s bad condition. she instantly booked an auto and off she went to the hospital. papa came to delhi from thousand of miles away.
however, there were some who were very close, but didn’t have little sympathy for the dying man. all he would have wanted at this time was to be closer to near and dear ones.
his brother chose to skip any meeting with his brother. during his good times, pisaji had been very bad on his brother. so although it was just a tit-for-tat, society would have never approved if he didn’t come during his death. only when mother scolded him for being so hard hearted that he came; although he seldom touched his brother or said any words of compassion.
on the final night, his father too didn’t come. his mother was there but slept midway.
pisaji didn’t leave the world within the time declared.
i am feeling guilty but my patience too was running out. i was waiting for him to quickly die so that i can quickly leave the hospital. i dislike anything that is not clean and hospitals do not certainly fall in the cleaner category (although they are regularly cleaned). the good side of me however chided me for being selfish. what if there was someone closer to your heart? (there wasn’t a wood to touch then).
finally i decided to sleep instead. at around 5 in the morning, father advised that we leave for home. i agreed. this way i can also attend office. we came home and had a cold bath. there was still some two hours to start for office, so off i went for a sleep.
when i woke, i couldn’t find mother and father. pisaji had breathed his last immediately after we left.