Just a couple of days back, I was sharing the anguish of a close one who is feeling bad that she is not able to do the daughter’s duty while working in Kuwait and mother staying back in India.
Surprise…. within a couple of hours to this conversation, where I could offer only small solutions like visit visa, when we hear the death of the father of a close friend. Two connected instances.
These make me travel the memory lanes.. I lost my father first. We were all devastated. Unfortunately one of the 10 children, was traveling with her family and could not be contacted as their original travel plans could have got changed while traveling.
I still remember my mother saying ‘now I am there for all of you’
And my mother passed away peacefully.. I was based in London and was on a business tour to Zimbabwe when I was woken up early in the morning with my wife on the phone from London breaking the news to me.
The immediate thought was my mother’s wish to have all her children for the funeral. Though this is usually done by delaying the funeral, I was determined to have my mother’s last journey, just the normal.
Standard Chartered Bank, my employer worked overtime with the travel agent with my wife sitting on top of them and finalised a routing.
There was a complication, the transit was via Nairobi and yellow fever vaccination certificate was a requirement. I had that back in London. For some reason the fax in London house was not working and my wife drove into the nearby police station at 3am and made them fax copies to immigration/ police in Nairobi and my hotel in Zimbabwe.
Transit counter in Nairobi could have refused a fax copy. But the nice burly gentleman listened to me, looked at my face and cleared everything in hurry and offered sincere condolences.
Next stop was Bombay and the available flight was some five hours away. Though compassionate travel in standard chartered is business class, I was not in any mood to look for a lounge, instead just sat on the floor, back to a wall near the airline counters. Then I saw jet airways couter opening for an early morning flight to Cochin which was full. I moved towards it and stood in front of the adjacent desk to the queues. The good standard chartered had sent me a fax offering condolences through the travel agent and I was planning to show it to the jet airways desk for a seat.
The girl at the counter handling passengers in the Q was giving me glances, yes I was wiping tears occasionally… After a few in the line she moved across and asked me what happened..and took my tickets. I was allotted a seat. God bless her..
I did hear a comment that I reached before my brother from madras, the adjacent state
I remember vetoing suggestions from some elders that my mother be taken to church in a vehicle as there was chances of rain.I saw to it that she was carried the traditional way following the route she used to take every day to church. It drizzled and rained heavily but the pomp and grandeur of her last journey was intact.
My mother has the greatest influence on me.
And when it was time to return, the car was ready, and all assembled in the small varanda near the car porch. My mother used to see me off from there and used to take my kiss on the cheek.
And I missed that. Then I saw her and I held her and she extended her cheek and I kissed.
And my eldest sister asked ‘when will you come again ‘
I know and believe that my mother came to say bye to me and used my sister…
Then I realized, I just became an orphan. I lost the house I used to move around arrogantly..
Those of you who are lucky, enjoy parents the best you can….
(I didn’t know so much of tears have to be wiped off… now)