Rewind-Pause: Two years of being an orphan
Two years back, on this day, around this time, I had called my brother. Like I had done every morrning for many, many years. Instead of the usual pleasantries, his immediate question was “Khobor peyechhis?” (“Did you get the news?”)
In a flash, I knew what must have happened. Dad was in his last legs shuttling between nursing home and home almost weekly. He had lost his will to live for over five years. Mom dying a few weeks back had added unthinkable amount of psychological pain to him over and top of the physical ones he was enduring.
“Andaaj kortey paarchi”, (“I can guess”) I said after a brief pause. Somewhat relieved that dad might have finally been released from all his anguish and granted his wish to die.
“Thik aachey, tora bero. Sabdhaaney jaas.”, (“Ok. You guys go ahead. Stay safe.”) I told my brother. They were getting ready to go to my dad’s place to take care of all the last rites and formalities.
The one regret was that my visa to India had not arrived yet. In spite of getting my second vaccination a week before, I was not able to make it to India to see him one last time since my special visa had not processed yet.
Which was a bit of an anti-climactic end to the once-a-quarter trip I used to make to see him. Honestly though, if the actual suffering he was going thru was even a fraction of what I could see in our video calls, I did not want him to drag one for even one more minute waiting for me to get my visa. I was content to live with the memories of those near 50 visits to see him before the pandemic.
That said, “Ekbaar aay. Ma maara jaabaar por dekha hoyni”, (“Please come once. I have not seen you after losing your mother”) – those words from the previous night over the video call rankle my mind till this day and I wake up at nights with cold sweat.
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The first ever picture I have with dad (circa 1966) and the last ever picture I have (a few weeks before the world shut down in 2020)