Death, be not proud…
The alarm clock shook me up early in the morning. Half sleepy, still in bed, I was scanning quickly the mails and messages on my phone to check on the important items of the day. It was a FB message that completely shook me out of my bed.
Many hours later, I am still trying to process the news. It has been a whirlwind of emotions. Often my mind goes back to the king snake. That my father in law saw in our property when he was visiting us. That led him to recoil. And lose balance. And fall. And break his hip. Without that I would have never taken him to my brother in law’s house in Kharagpur after I accompanied him back to India. And without taking him there, I would have never realized “Oh! this is an hour away from Midnapore. Maybe I should visit Sibapriya and his parents!!”.
That was barely six months back. His dad was frail and was not in a physical or psychological shape to hold a conversation down with me. He could barely even recognize me from nearly thirty years back when his son and I used to go to the same school in white shirt and grey shorts. But I took a lot of pictures of him.
And the FB message was essentially to let me know that those were the last pictures I would ever have of him.
It is that finality of death that intrigues me and befuddles me. I know I am not supposed to be sad at death. I realize that death is a part of life. If I accept existence, I have to accept lack thereof. I recognize that I ought to celebrate Sibapriya’s dad’s life. Coming from the humble beginnings that he had, what he made of himself is something to be emulated. That he has raised a child as kind, humble and successful as Sibapriya is something I want to say about myself someday reflecting on my children. I get all that. I know that achievement is to be celebrated. And I do.
But it is that lingering…. “yes, but”…
…. I cannot barge into his house one more afternoon just to have a coffee….
…. I cannot go to his bedroom and ask him to sit on his bed so I can take a few more pictures…
…. I cannot ever say to him again “Porer baar abaar dekha hobey. Tokhon bosey aaro golpo hobey”. (“Next time I will see you again and we will sit down and talk about some more stories”)
…. like I did in September
It is that even small ray of hope that death absolutely extinguishes once and for ever….
For all that, I will take his limited life on earth any day. Without that, I would have never had a friend called Sibapriya in my fifth grade.
And that is the lasting legacy he has left for me….