I live in a gated community in the south of Delhi, India.
I don’t know many people here. Just faces. Some with names and some without.
Others are acquaintances of my parents. People my parents tell me to say namaste to. The Indian hello.
There was one such man in my lane. Nobody I knew. A passing namaste here and there. That man died today due to heart failure.
He was in his late forties or early fifties. Had a wife, two daughters and a son. He was at work when it happened. It had been sudden, it had been unimaginable.
It was late afternoon when the news reached us. I heard it through my door. My family was outside in a flash, while I sat there, book dangling precariously from my hand, thinking about yesterday. I had spoken a polite namaste to him when I had passed him outside, you see. He had replied with a curt smile and a nod of his head and had moved on.
He will never be seen again.
At this thought, my stomach lurched.
When they brought him home in an ambulance, it was as if everything had been hushed. As if they didn’t want to wake someone up.
I heard someone sob.
I looked outside my balcony. Preparations were being carried out, consolations were being spoken alongside cold embraces. They would have been cold, wouldn’t they? I couldn’t fathom a colder place to be.
Soon, another ambulance arrived. The last journey everyone has to make came sooner than expected for him.
I have never witnessed something like this. Neither outside, nor inside my family. I hope I never do.
Because, honestly, I cannot imagine the pain of not even getting to say goodbye. The pain of it being hurled at you, like a cruel slap on the face. Of it being a completely normal day until that ring of a telephone or that knock on the door. After that, nothing ever is normal I think.
This must have happened to countless people. Strength, is something I wish I could give in abundance. But it’s not that easy.
Strangers die everyday. Leaving behind a string of memories and shattered souls that we will never know.
Right now, right this second, someone is mourning.
And I think, those who are not, aren’t aware of how absolutely, and thoroughly lucky they are.
After today atleast, I’ll try to be aware of this dumb luck each day. Until I forget and become uncaring, as we humans often do.
Losing ourselves, shying away, has become a habit.
All I would like to say in the end is I hope this family has enough strength.
I wish I could give them whatever little of mine.
Until We Meet Again.