Sunday, March 27, 2011

Death Do Us Part – Part 1

          Yesterday my kids missed the kiss of death by a hairline. They were saying that a tree fell just behind the autorickshaw they were travelling.  If they had come a second late then the tree would have been on that auto and ultimately on them. So it was a hairline escape.  Who is responsible for this –  the grand escape, Fate? or Destiny?
          This last 12 months I had to witness many a deaths who were very precious to me. Seeing the simplicity of life’s end, sometimes I too feel like death is on my doorstep. But what is death? Do yuall have any idea? Where do they go after death? In the bible we have heaven ( a place for the good) and hell(a place for the bad). But it is also said that there would be no relationships in the other world. And I say the prayer “I Believe” everyday, so I’ll have to believe of heaven and hell. And that is where my title comes to play, “Death Do Us Part” we won’t be meeting them again as father, grandfather or uncle or aunty but as another person standing in the queue for cinema ticket. Its really sad isn’t it - Not seeing them (relationship wise) when we are near them?
          But just imagine the different types of death. Its like a variety of sweets in different forms and shapes and containers.  Is it really necessary that we have to die? Can’t we have any other alternative to have heaven and hell here? Yes, I know there is a bigger goal in this small act and I believe in God, so there would be a cycle which we have to go through. Since I have accepted the fact that I will have to die one day, there should be some way to make our death a peaceful transition from earthly abode to heavenly abode. For me I feel that if there are all the family members to see me off to the heavenly abode how would I feel? I don’t know. Because I do not know, what happens at the last moments of a person’s life. Do we have to be peaceful or should it be like a railway station.
I’ll tell you two incidents of a dying person, where I was directly present and I saw it without being aware that the person was going to die. In both the cases there were lots of family members and well wishers. Both where very dear to me. The first person was my father-in-law, I called him Ichachan (meaning father). He was a very nice person. He loved his family very much and helped them a lot but he was very crude in his behaviour but very straight forward. I was the youngest daughter-in-law. In Indian culture its the youngest son who has to look after his parents. Since he was a farmer and businessman I was the only member who always conversed with him, joked with him, bathed him, manicured and pedicured him, read newspaper for him and just sat silently watching sunset as sunrise is a very cold business out here.
          So two days prior to his death, he started feeling very hot. Hot in the sense that he started pulling off his clothes. We stayed in a place where we don’t have a fan. We  always used blanket even in summer, that was 12 years back in Idukki. At that time we used two table fans and opened the doors and windows and I had to use a hand fan too to relieve my father of his discomfort. Hearing his malady people started coming to visit him, relatives, friends, neighbours. Two days was real hard work for me. He didn’t eat anything and I was getting frightened, I prepared whatever he liked best, he really wanted to eat it but he couldn’t and he felt very bad because he made me do it. But for me I was really concerned of his health. He wanted me to be near him, fan him, but I had other duties to fulfil as I had other members to look after.
          So when the visitors arrived, it was like he was occupied with something, when they called him he would look at them and murmured something and just lay there silently. He didn’t take any food for these two days. On the last day I was sitting in front of him as he was being forcefully fed some food by my brother-in-law and his wife sitting on his bed. Brother-in-law was holding him and his wife feeding. I was just sitting opposite him, looking at him. He looked directly at me and didn’t even take his eyes off me. I was feeling a bit uneasy seeing him stare at me without blinking at all, but I didn’t take off my eyes and a minute later I saw that his pupil (the inner small circle inside the black circle of the eye) started expanding just like the shutter of a camera. I just was shell shocked that I couldn’t move or speak watching this spectacle. It was a very slow process that no one knew it was happening just me and him when all were there, talking and whispering around.
          Now when I think about it, I feel awed by the real gift, Ichachan gave me. I have heard that lucky are those who see death. But for me I have heard stories which were really frightening. So deep down I really didn’t wish to be a part of death and I usually skip death bed visits and funerals fearing that I would be afraid for life. But whoever told Lucky Are Those Who See Death was right, because we don’t feel fear, its like giving birth to a young or its like the first rays of the sun or the slow opening of a flower. Its very very slow, it happens sooo silently that we could miss it. But the only thing is, its an unexpected event and we would just have to wait for it. And I feel that to get it we should be eligible for it.
          For me I love parents, whosoever may be, no problem, if I get a chance I do respect them, take care of them, talk to them just like we take care of our kids. I know, they have come to the life’s end, they have had their share of wrong doings but still, they are precious as I am very precious to me. I have a problem, do you know what, I would do take some liberties to make myself happy. I love sweets like Ladoos, Jeelebis, Agra Pedas oh and lots and lots of sweets. I don’t eat them regularly but if my heart feels like having it I would just buy  and eat it. So for me, if I’m precious  then they are more precious than me because they are the reason we are here, to see this world, to have all the luxuries,  so its high time we took care of them.
          They might be old but they really do have something to give before their departure and it is more valuable than any they have given us. If we are lucky to be there and near them, then I’m sure they would think of us and give some blessing. That gift lasts lifelong. That is my experience.
And about the next person, I’ll tell about it tomorrow. But until then stay tight, be happy and love your parents.

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