Sunday, February 15, 2015
Emotions were clouding Mohan’s mind, making it difficult for him to fully involve himself in all that was happening around him.
He tried to focus his attention on what his friend Vikram was saying.
Vikram repeated himself, “Was she ill before she died?”
Mohan replied “No. It happened suddenly. We thought she was sleeping but found she was unresponsive and had already left us in the morning”
“It is good she did not suffer. And also she has live a good life till the age of 99” said Vikram.
“Yes, that is true”, responded Mohan. He continued, his voice catching “In fact, she used to say that she did not want to die in a hospital in the midst of equipment and tubes. I remember her telling me happily a couple of years back that she had met an astrologer who had told her she would die peacefully in her sleep and will never be a burden on anyone”.
“She got her wish, and she managed all her needs herself without troubling any one right till the end”, said Mohan.
“She was a remarkable person, a noble soul” said Vikram softly. “I remember once many years back, I had visited your house in your hometown. As I was also visiting, your grandfather told her to make some pakodas well into the night. She immediately cooked some delicious fare even though it was very late”.
“Yes, I know” said Mohan. Distressed he continued “Death is so final. We will never get back her wisdom, patience, grace and strength. There are so many times when she has been the pillar of strength for us”.
Just then Mohan’s 10 year old son Manoj comes running to him and sits next to him. He sits next to Mohan and whispers to him “Who will tell me stories now?”
“There will be others - me, your mother, your grandparents, we are all there for that”, said Mohan.
“But, great grandma told the best stories”, said Manoj, tears in his eyes.
Mohan’s wife Geeta holds Manoj, taking him away into the room. As he goes with her, he asks “When will we next be able to meet great grandma?”
Geeta replies slowly “Her memories will always be with us. And we will meet her when God wants us to”.
“And when will God allow us to meet her?”, asked Manoj continuing with his questions.
“Manoj, we can only meet her when we also enter her world. But we will meet her surely someday”, said Geeta.
“Then why don’t we also go to that world now itself?”, asked Manoj.
Geeta hugged her son, gently telling him “That is in God’s hands. He will choose the right time”.
Mohan dragged his eyes away from Manoj and Geeta as they move away. He looks back at Vikram gathering his thoughts.
“You know we celebrated her 99th birthday two months back. Since she has not been in good health, the thought crossed our minds if she will see her next birthday when she would have completed 100 years. She probably sensed it too”, said Mohan.
He paused, a wave of emotion hitting him, also brought on by his son’s innocent questions. He bent his head down, trying to regain his composure.
He looked up as he heard Vikram speak.
“What you just said is perfectly right, Mohan. Age is only a number. It is not age a person leaves behind when he or she dies, but memories and goodwill which stay forever”, said Vikram.
Mohan froze, staring ahead. Vikram looked at him concerned “Mohan, you are clearly stressed. You need to get some rest”.
Mohan slowly shook his head, finding it difficult to believe what had just happened. He had not spoken the words Vikram claimed he had. His thought went back to his grandmother’s 99th birthday. His son had remarked then “Great grandma, next year you will be 100!”. His grandmother had replied smiling to the boy “Age is only a number. It is not age a person leaves behind when he or she dies, but memories and goodwill”.
Mohan smiled. His grandmother’s spirits would be forever with them, guiding them with wisdom, patience, grace and strength.