26 February 2017

The finality of death…

This is why I like to reconnect with anybody who has ever crossed my path before – birthday day calls, dinners during business trips, going to villages in India to extract somebody I knew half a century back… And make some new connections on the way too… Because you never know if you will ever meet them again…

It was hardly a year back – in fact, March 2016 – that I found out that this gentleman – father of somebody I know in Atlanta – was in an old age home not too far away from where my parents live. Last May, I went in unannounced. He did not know me. But that was okay. It did not take me too much time to make friends with him… or the many other old folks who came by to talk to me (their moment of pride? – “my son/daughter is also in America like you” – the irony of they pushing their next generation to a better life in America while they get relegated to a distant old age home with total strangers weighed very heavy that afternoon on my drive back). [“The Gift of Time”] (top two pictures)

During my next trip last year – and that would be June 2016, I brought my sister with me – who is a far more compassionate person than I am – and we spent about three hours with the gentleman and more people of his age group at that old age home that time. I remember he mentioning that it would be great for him if I could drop by for two minutes every time I came to visit my parents. [Revisiting an old age home”] (bottom left picture)

In my next trip (last year end/this year beginning), I was running very short of time. On my way to the airport, I took one more detour – after some debate on whether I will miss my flight – to see him for about fifteen to twenty minutes. His last words? “Ok. Go now. But come back again. It feels good to talk like this”. An overwhelming sense of guilt had gnawed into me on the trip back – Why was I even thinking whether I had time to meet him? If I did not have time for old folks like him who have made folks like me stand up in life, aren’t all my priorities all messed up? [“One last unscheduled stop”] (bottom right picture)

What I did not know is the following – that meeting on Jan 4 was to be the last. A friendship of 10 months has come to an end. Mr. Lodh is no more. I will go past that old age home to visit my parents every year. And I will just be staring at the home as my brother speeds past it. That one human being I got to know a little is no more…

And I will be wishing that I had gotten to know him earlier… that I had visited him a few more times…. that I had stayed for a few more minutes….

He was, above all, … a human being!!! A kind and considerate one at that too!!

Posted February 26, 2017 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points

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