Aug 24, 2013: 2:47am
The ice cold corridor of CICU looks so lifeless. Doctors and nurses move with a robotic expression on their faces… not uttering a single word…they move as if they are floating on the white and light blue tiles. I stare blankly at the glass doors… dark green curtains are blocking my vision behind which doctors are doing my papa’s check-up as he regains conscious after three days and was kept on ventilator following a major heart surgery. I was told to wait, as he wanted to see me first.
The curtains moved and the nurse called my name, “Urooj, please come”. I stood up from the bench with shaking legs. “Please go in but not more than three to five minutes as he needs rest.”
I nodded and went in.
There he was weaker than before, under a white sheet, with tubes and needles attached to him but all smiles…
“Bitiya,” he called me and my heart lost a beat.
I dragged my feet towards his bed and forced a smile … but two tears slipped.
“No, no you are my brave daughter. Do not cry… did u eat anything?”
And I looked at my pa. “I ate,” and I knew that he knew I was lying.
“Haan, I know now go and tell your maa and brothers I’m good.”
“Yes Papa, I will,” as I pressed his hand and prayed silently for his health…
July 23, 2015, 12:30pm
The land line was ringing.
I picked it up and it was my mom on the other side.
“Urooj Beta come home. It’s urgent.”
“Why, what happened? Is all ok… how’s Papa?”
But Maa didn’t answer and the line got dropped. I reached their home in 15 minutes and rang the bell… the fragrance of incense sticks filled my nostrils and my heart sank.
I denied myself … “I spoke to him yesterday. He is fine.”
My neighbour opened the door and as I entered in … I saw Papa sleeping under neatly tucked white sheets. He was gone. He left me to face the brutal world against which he was my shield…
Papa, I never wanted to be without you…. You showed me there is love in the world. You gave me courage, hope, happiness and joy. The confidence to speak the truth no matter what. I still repeat the things in my head that you’d told me. I hear your laughter. I see your smiling face. I hear you calling me, “Bitiya and Choti.”
You were all the proof that I needed to believe in God
I am not saying good bye to you, Papa.
You live in me.
Be happy wherever you are, Papa. Happy Father’s Day!
Until the day we meet again…
Pix by author and net.