Tuesday, 2 August 2011
“What?” I gasped as I heard the rest of it. The ground seemed to be slipping away from beneath me. I was feeling dizzy all of a sudden. My father stood motionless. We had just got terrible news that my Uncle, Aunt and their son, my friend, Vibhu had met a car accident on their way from Pratapgarh to Lucknow by colliding with a truck. Their car was totally crushed as far as we were told and they told us that they were being taken to the Allahabad hospital, about one hour away from the place nearest to them. The Mishras were our very close friends as my Uncle; Mr. Mishra was my dad’s boss and a good friend. His son was one of my best friends and a totally fun loving guy. My mother, little sister and I were totally aghast. We didn’t know what to do. My father said, “I’m going to see them. They need me. I’ve been told that their driver died on the spot and…” His words fell deaf on my ears as I ran towards my god’s idol, with tears in my eyes. I could not believe it. Five minutes later, I saw my father packing to see them. Just then his phone rang,” Yes…yeah…what? Are you sure? Okay…I’m coming soon…” and he thumped on the chair. “What happened?” my mother asked.
“They…they…” my father stammered,” They are no more…” Silence. We could not believe it. I piped up in a small voice, “Who?” “Mr. Mishra and Vibhu have died on the spot…” Oh no, oh no…this can’t be…They can’t…they just can’t…yet my dad tonelessly continued,” Mrs. Mishra is still counting her breaths. We don’t know how long she’ll live. They are taking them to a nursing home. I’m going,” he said as he suddenly got up and moved towards his car, “Take care of the kids, I’ll be in touch”, he said as he climbed in the car, waved us goodbye and drove towards Allahabad. Since our hometown was Allahabad, my dad knew the place well. The last thing I saw in his eyes was tears and it was the first time I’d seen them.
I climbed into my mother’s lap and kept sobbing quietly. My mother stroked my head, breathing heavily. I remembered the last time I had met them. It was the New Year party at my place. Uncle and Aunt were totally caring and adorable people. We even went shopping with them. They had two elder daughters and I suddenly remembered them. “Ma”, I asked my mother, “What about Taru Di and Charu Di?” My mother had no words. I went back to my thoughts. They had come over at our place. We had fun. Singing, dancing, hugs and loads of laughter…Hehehe… I smiled suddenly remembering Vibhu’s last fight with me. Even though we were best friends, we fought a lot and the last fight was about my dolls and his boxer shots! And suddenly I realized that I had lost all of it and none of it was coming back. My quiet sobs turned into hysterics. No…no…this can’t be…not at all…but my words and tears couldn’t change what had happened…I had lost them…
Three and a half hours later, my mother’s phone rang.” Hello, yes…what? Really? okay…yeah…they are fine…no…She’s been weeping since then and mumbling to herself…Yes yes…I’ll see to it…Don’t worry…” I asked,” What happened Ma?” “Dear, listen…please stop crying. Your father’s just seen them. Aunty is in a bad shape…” I cut her words through and asked, “What about Vibhu? And Uncle?”
“They…honey please…Don’t cry…Gods have called them…they are resting in heaven…” I ran…ran from the reality that was cruel enough to separate two best friends, two families and more importantly, two daughters from their parents and little brother.
In the night, the phone rang again. “Hello, yes… What? But…are you…but how? Oh...Okay…” “What happened?” I asked. My mother replied in a tiny voice,”Aunty’s no more. She tried to ask where Uncle and Vibhu were but probably she got the hint and gave up on her life…”Oh no…my voice screamed in my head, their kind faces, their smiles…oh no…oh no…no no no…My mother hugged me tight and I kept weeping till the monsters of the night pulled me in the dreamland of nightmares.
The next few days were like a blur. My father attended their cremation. We went to attend the dinner that happens as a ritual in Hindus when someone dies. But I had no guts to face my elder…sisters…That’s what they are for me… they welcomed me warmly as though nothing had happened and made us eat the food. They were so strong…facing the cunning world alone then without the umbrella of shelter and care that they had gotten since their births form their parents who were no more. The sarcasm of the sentence, “Don’t worry dear…they are smiling in the heavens and resting…” hit me like boulders. How could they be smiling and resting as they had left their kids to the mercy of the crafty, deceitful world? How could they?
This is how I had lost my best friend, my second family and their love. Months later, the smaller of the two sisters, Charu Di died of an unknown disease in S.G.P.G.I. since her health had been deteriorating long before. Now…I understand how difficult is it for a single girl, the eldest daughter of the house living alone…taking on the world and its cruelty…Today she’s successfully working and happy… yet the pain she has..Probably no one will understand…Her battles have just begun…God bless her…somehow, she’s always given me the strength to face the world and I’m always thankful to her for that…
Though I was small at the time I faced this situation, I learnt the most important lesson of my life- Life and Death are two sides of a single coin. Till we live, we have to do good deeds so that when we die, we are remembered for our good deeds as I do for them. Death is inevitable and no one knows when it might drag you to your graves. So one should stick to the ground and always remember the one who has given this birth to us to remember Him. Life is momentary and to live it gracefully and bravely are some of the main objectives of life. One should also have the guts to face impossible situations like my Di does. Only the Almighty has given her this strength that has enabled her to face a situation like this. Had it been some other person, he\she would have killed himself\herself… each and every breath we take is a blessing of the Almighty. We don’ know which breath might be our last one.
They gave me some things to learn as they left me… This is how I had lost them… May you Rest in Peace Uncle, Aunty, Vibhu and Charu Di…