[The passage below is a true story based on last Monday.]
It was some Monday morning! On the ninth day of the fourth month of the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve, two pairs of adhesive flesh (eyelids, duh!) separated, & all I could see were few faint & scattered rows of light that lost their way into my room. On my right was the face of a drowsy, somewhat human-like creature who was still in her world of wonders, my room-mate, & I was still lying in bed ( just lying down) but strangely alert & unable to shut down those adhesive flesh again, as there were mysterious forebodings running in my mind since the previous night. My sixth sense was signaling that someone or something would be up to something mischievous. I got up & switched on, my cell phone flashed “3:00 am”, got back & laid down as it was too early. I left for college after a gap of six & a half hours. On my way, I was getting late, but how the sun shone so bright! ……. Somewhat reaching its climax, as though it will never again . It glowed like never before, as though it were to completely burn its fuel. It was trying to give a hint. It was trying to tell something I would not have time for. It was some sight my eyes captured! I felt like it wanted to say something that I never understood, like a vague message Mother Nature was trying to get across my mind. But, I barely had the time as I was getting late. I entered the classroom . The first bench being always reserved for me, I sat down. Ankita ma’am went on with Las Vegas & Monte Carlo Algorithms. Two more lectures followed, but could not shift my attention. I was so strangely clung to the image of the bright sky that popped the handsome golden ball. Alongside , the peculiar feeling continued to haunt me. I was also unreasonably sad at the same time. It was getting serious. It was becoming more of a headache, but why? I didn’t know then.
It was someone’s birthday in the class. Many would wish him but I only delved into thinking over the pointlessness of rejoicing over it (not that I intend I’m against it) but we only lose another year! The first half ended & I was not in a mood for the second. I rushed to the SBI ATM of our college only to find a queue already structured. I involved myself over a phone conversation with a very good friend of mine, waiting for my turn to come. Her lovely words fell into my ears, playfully teasing me with someone who would hardly be the last preferable man on earth, thereby trying to create a comic & blithe atmosphere, but only half successful to chase away this uninvited guest called gloom. My turn came, I entered the transparent room, withdrew cash & left.
I was back to our girls’ hostel, & then to my room, that was darkened by thick curtains that would not let the light inside. I plunged myself into the bed. I felt guilty about living in a “mini-underworld”. But, my deadness was too irresistible to get up & open the curtains, thereby killing the rays of sunlight & inhibiting their entering, & I felt like that momentary feeling when the curtains would never open again! What? Was I serious? I mean it only takes two legs to walk toward the windows & two hands to let open the curtains & windows. ” But, what the heck?”, I taunted myself, ” If I’m cool with it, then I shouldn’t have a problem with it”. I was only reluctant to get up to let free the three windows of my room to let in light & fresh air. I didn’t remove the Sun from the face of the solar system, did I ? ….. Just the two arguing sides of my psyche indulged in a trifling debate. Nevertheless, the two pairs of wide gaped flesh (eyelids, again) were sealed again as this trivial debate slowly ended like the way the bob of a pendulum finally halts in free damped vibrations due to friction against the air .
Four hours passed & the bed I was lying on began to vibrate sideways. Holy cows! I could not believe myself! What the!!! How the!!! Post few moments, I awoke to the actual vibrations of my cell phone. ” Shucks!”, I sighed, ” It was just the cell phone!”. My chinky eyes fell on the cell phone again only to read the notification of scores of missed calls from Mom & an another single missed call, two hours prior to those of my presumably infuriated mom, from one particular cousin of mine who almost never calls back. “Hmmm…..”, I murmured, “some lucky day, I guess so!”. The next second I hesitantly called back Mom to witness the “Wrath of the Head-huntress” whose “Hello” was sounding so down. I was anxious to know why, so I asked,
“Hello, Mom, what happened?”
“There’s some bad news”, she replied.
“Why? Is someone dead?”
“Who? You don’t mean Koka, do you? He’s the eldest alive.”
Shocked, the cell phone fell off my left hand, tears rolling down the cheeks onto the bed. I grabbed the phone to listen to the whole story. I could not but cry uninterruptedly the whole time. Finally, she ended,
“Your dad is already on his way to see his corpse. We requested everyone else to delay the cremation of the corpse until your dad reaches. Your eldest uncle left 3 hours prior to your dad & your youngest uncle was with him when he left us……. “
[P.S. : It's unimportant to mention over here but they are altogether SEVEN brothers & TWO sisters only, one aunt of mine being already dead years back & only one, the younger one, still alive. Dad stands right there exactly in the middle of the queue. ]
The call was disconnected. But my trust over God was disconnected. I never expected this. O how I yearned so much to meet Mr. Surjya Bhuyan! I mean he had been the only paternal grandparent still alive as Grandma passed even before my elder aunt did! I could remember how I lamented over the inability to visit our joint-family home during the previous Durga Puja/Diwali vacations, when my parents & my younger brother went to celebrate with the rest of our big family. After all, Gujarat is a very long way to Assam [they are diagonally apart across India; one in the farthest west & the other in the farthest east! ]. Besides, we only get a limited number of holidays & it would have been a futile attempt anyway as those scanty days would naturally be absorbed in travelling to & from. I really longed to reunite with him in the approaching summer. Then, it seemed that our joint-family photo was the only remaining option to see him ever! I had to burst into tears…
Nevertheless, after being transported from this world of thoughts to the real tangible world, at last, my room-mate finally responded after this epic. I was confused as to whether to cheer up at her “reflex action” or to howl over this misfortune. She came towards me with a bottle of water & her words of consolation that lasted for some minutes really silenced me. Yeah, she’s a darling, isn’t she? I’m really grateful to her sisterly nature & I really loved her for that. Soon, she had to leave & I was accompanied only by the silence of the room & my revolving thoughts. “Shucks! How could I not get it?”, it banged me. I had been thoughtless the whole day! I didn’t give heed to the strange signs that launched since the previous night & the indication that the sun seemed like it would burn out its fuel. “Surjya” means SUN in English, thereby justifying the signs of nature. The time of his demise which was just before noon & that of the climax of the weird suspicion when it almost grew to be a headache were simultaneous. So bizarre!
How could dear Koka (meaning GRANDPA in English) demise? I couldn’t believe my senses nor those piercing words that fell on my ears when mom spoke. I couldn’t speak, nor did inform anyone so far. I was just numb. That’s it!
My room-mate’s words to have something in case I would starve fell dumb on my ears. Dinner? Were you really serious? It seemed I would willingly go days without it!
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t sleep but somehow those tear-clad eyes finally shut.
The next day , I somehow pulled up myself & dragged all along to the Electronics Engineering Department to attend some lab where, perhaps, no one figured out the silent despair & then towards the Computer Engineering Department. There were few moments to spare before any lecture to begin. I received a call from dad & asked his about his fettle. Soon, Dangor bordeuta (my eldest uncle) overtook the phone only to relate the last few moments just before his cremation, of how an old and matured carcass was laid upon a pile of wood, but there was a pleasant little smile upon his unresponsive face, signifying that he died happily with the satisfaction of fulfilling all the major duties of his lifetime. How could I abstain from letting those tiny clear drops of salty liquid from running down like rivulets? I disconnected the call, & could not stop the outburst. Everyone must have guessed it out by now. My only answer was to leave the classroom & head towards the lavatory . On my way, a friendly voice asked, “What happened? Why are you crying?”. I could not answer. I was only rushing towards the lavatory where I could effortlessly give vent to the outburst without any public embarrassment.
On returning back to attend the lecture, only a single realization engrossed me: “No doubt, Koka isn’t alive anymore but he’ll always be there with me. He’ll always be overshadowing me in the form of that beautiful sun, thereby always casting his blessings & good will upon me, although I still crave for the casting of his actual hand upon my head for the last time. Nevertheless, whenever I look at the sky & the sun is out , bringing a beautiful day, I know that he’s somewhere out there & smiling at me.”
HOPE THIS POST PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIM!