It was the most difficult “in- car- moment” of my life. When I am on an official trip, I always make it a point to call my wife as soon as I get into the car after the flight. It used to be a practice that I call her and we just go over the various errands. Not that day. My wife’s call rocked me. My father-in-law’s voice brought me down to tears and all of a sudden when I looked outside the window in that spacious vehicle I was running out of emotional space. It was just the beginning of an emotional journey because of a silent tsunami which wrecked our life on the wee hours of 5th Sept. The day when I met my wife for the first time 16 years back my brother-in-law left us for last time. My vehicle in Hyderabad’s Outer Ring Road was speeding at 120 Kmph but I was frozen inside. I slapped my cheek several times to check if this was a dream, unfortunately it was not .
How much I wished at that point that “Reality was a dream.”
On the 18th of August at 5.30 AM, I saw a friend request from my brother in law. I was surprised. Earlier on his birthday on Aug 16th I had spoken to him very nicely I guess or I was well mannered. I quickly accepted his friend request . I told him during our last conversation that I will come and meet you soon. I did not know that would come that soon. For the first time in so many years I had tears when I penned down this blog draft. Seated on 25C in the flight , I had only one thought, I wish I had spoken to him more.
A few weeks back I was rehearsing science lessons with my 6-year-old daughter and she had to give examples of living and non-living objects. There was a moment when my 6-year-old pointed to the coffin and showed him as a non-living object. As his breath became air, as his body went into fire, as his ashes were embraced by the waves, it reiterated the power of “elements” on us. Is this the path? Humans quest to leave society and seek harmony in nature? It showed me our capacity to morph. My wife asked this question, “How do we reconcile after your near and dear one’s death”? I had only one response, “Life is hard and death is a reminder.”
She had turned to “Homo Deus” for answers. In an age of “algorithms” when it comes to coping with death I wished we had an “All-going-to-be-well-rhythm” tips and tricks to get your life back on track.
On our way back after the ashes were immersed, we had tea and coffee with the family. I was very surprised when my Father- in- law mentioned to me why my 6-year-old daughter needed to be offered tea in a separate cup as i wrote in my We rise by lifting others blog post . He recounted my blog where i had shared that experience. To me that was a very interesting moment when I felt that I had touched him in this way and in the process he is trying to reconcile with life.
Death in a family brings everyone together and being with people changes your mind for that moment. It is a wonderful coping mechanism for the bereaved family members. The discussions we had with all the family members were around a lot of subjects starting from politics to social revolution to history. I understood that being a perpetual learner it had helped me to get myself occupied with the folks. It was a good learning experience as I did not know much how the hurricanes were named (Alternate male – Female and in the alphabetical order), How Rajat Gupta ( Ex McKinsey) used to recite Bhagavat Geeta Slokas before his management classes. Like this I had the opportunity to collect lots of snippets and that was a good coping mechanism and that is how we are slowly reconciling. Thanks to all my friends from my school, engineering college , TILT community , Toastmasters community , professional friends and neighbors who all reached out to us and made us feel better.
A week later, I was on the aerobridge. I heard the announcement that this flight is going to the same destination where my brother-in-law was last staying. As I was looking outside I saw the same flight which brought his body back to our hometown. Life has come full circle and we have to endure the pain as I once again understood this important fact of life which is “Life is Hard”.
My brother in law was a content writer but life denied him a chance to become a contented writer. As Les Brown would say “ He died full , with his music still in him ”.
He left us awakened and how much we wished that “reality was a wild dream.”