‘I want to see what all happens, it is an once in a lifetime experience’ , said my mother on the phone. I sighed. My mother was hesitant to go alone. The temple in their community was going to have a Garuda dhwaja installed amidst a lot of rituals. And my mother was hesitant to witness it, alone. I look at myself . The Arabian Sea seperates the husband and me. Everything from finances to education to day to day wars I am managing alone. In far off Mumbai my sister wages a war against cancer alone. Is there anyone really with us, I think.
‘Amma, if you want to attend, you go; don’t worry that you are alone. Just do it’, I say.
I know it is not easy for her. For 56 years she and my father have been together. Never had she taken any decision alone. Will it ever be easy for her taking these decisions alone, I wonder.
My father had passed away last April after being bedridden for 15 months. I had gone to meet him in March end. He was frail. I had trouble identifying my father who had terrorised us with his persona and voice. Somewhete there was a grudge in me. Growing up I was his pet but as years advanced he was relying more on my brother. That irritated me. And then when I was there he had an upset stomach and started vomitting incessantly. One day I went and sat with him. He looked disturbed . I asked, ”what happened Papa?’ After some minutes he replied,’ I am afraid’. And then I underrstood that the man who had tirelessly answered my questions was today seeking answers from me.
” Don’t worry papa you will not be alone, the Lord is waiting for you,’ I said. He still looked dissatisfied. I said again, your mother must be waiitng for you papa, your sisters, your brother….
You wont be alone, I said.
‘Keep chanting papa. Krishna says whoever remembers Him in the last moment goes back to Him’ , I said.
He turned his face the other way. Obviously angry that I wished him to leave his body. I continued, ‘ Papa everyone has to leave the body some day. When the body becones useless.’
He didn’t soeak to me after that. When we were about to leave, I touched his feet. Amma told him that I was going to be with my husband. He blessed me.
Two weeks later, we got the message that he passed away. Just before leaving the body he had chanted Ramdhun.
For many months I felt guilty. But then I reconciled, someone had to do it.
But somehow I believe even at that moment I was not alone. He had guided me.