Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Loss

A very dear friend lost his father recently. This was fourth such case in my friend-circle. When one reads about such deaths in newspapers or on general discussions they seem so small insignificant incidents. They sound very much part of the natural system . But when something like this happens in your own family or in your friends’ you feel very differently. God forbid if you yourself happen to lose a parent, it’s a tragedy beyond comparison . It is one of the downsides of being an adult that you come closer to the loss of your parents. We all know it has to happen one or the other day…but one can’t be really prepared for it. My grandfather died when my father was already in his fifties . They had a typical father son relationship with disagreements combined with fondness and very little talk. But in the last few days when my father was alone with his old man the relationship changed dramatically. I never saw my father being so emotional before. Probably for the first time since his achieving adulthood , he had time to pause rest of the world and spend time with his father. He came to know a very different person from what he remembered from his teenage days. My grandfather’s life struggles, his ideals, his poetry all appeared before him in a very different light . And then the inevitable happened. Papa grieved the death much more than he himself expected. For rest of his life he kept his father’s last scrawlings on his study table .
Unlike this relationship, both I and my sister were always very close to our father. He was always our best friend, our favourite punching bag and our ideal .In the year 2000, just after I wrote the main exams for civil services , my father was detected with cancer. It was already in an advance stage and we were told that it is now a matter of days- and so it was . I can never express in words how I felt in those 15 days of his illness and 8 years since then. When he breathed his last, we were holding his hands. We were too numbed by the shock that for days we could not accept that this has happened. The world around us was, of course creating enough nuisances to keep us away from the estimation of the loss. But can you ever measure the loss? It’s like erasing a basic postulate of your world. It’s like telling you in the middle of a jigsaw puzzle that the rules have changed. Its like removing a thick layer of blanket from your shoulders and exposing you to the cold of a winter night. It is worse.
It is generally believed that people get over all pains and that time is a healer in such cases, but I disagree. You just learn to live in an incomplete world. In a world where at every important stage your mind will ask, how your father/mother would have reacted to this . You never realise the importance of having your parents around till the day you lose one of them. Loving one’s parents is so different from any other relationship. You love your father even if he never made any money . You like your mother even if she has a buckteeth . Some time back I got a mail-forward presentation on how the relationship with parents change with time. As toddlers we love them unconditionally, as kids we look upto them as ideals , as teenagers occasionally we feel embarrassed by them , as adults we feel they don’t know anything about the world and then when the fear of losing them sets in , we again want to be kids holding their hands tight , with the conviction of a small boy trying to stop the weather with a stick in hand .
My granddad , an urdu poet, wrote in one of his poems –
हमारी मौत भी एक मौज है दरिया-ऐ- हस्ती में / बस एक गोत्ता लगाना है यहाँ डूबे वहां निकले !
( our life is like a wave in the sea of existence , its just a matter of a jump, you dive here and rise there ) . I find consolation in the thought .

1 comment:

Gallimaufry said...

A thought-provoking post from you after a hiatus. Thank you for the reminder.