“My whole world turned upside down in one heartbeat and yet everything looked normal. How could that be possible? The sun still shined and the birds still sang. The kids ran around and the sun set around the same time. Everything happened as usual. But everything happened like never before.”
March 12, 2011
I didn’t have the courage to look into his eyes. I didn’t know what it felt like to lose people so close to you. I didn’t know what were the right words to speak and the wrong words not to speak – I still don’t. I sat by his side to avoid eye contact. He picked my hand and both his hands clasped around mine really tight. I saw how his eyes closed and yet how the tear drops managed to penetrate through his eyelids and fall on my hand. He couldn’t hold it. He couldn’t believe it.
He lost his parents in an accident. He was a single child. That day, we were 15 of us in his room and he was the bravest of us all. He saw in us what we couldn’t see in him. He knew we were young and he tried distracting every single one of us by asking about our lives and the status of Wimbledon tournament. He was our age but he seemed stronger than an old man. Five years later, I asked him about the hardest thing he went through in his life.
He narrated his life. And I wrote his story; his raw memories as well as his heartbreaking emotions woven into a story.
“We were a beautiful family in a small flat. There, we lived and loved and dreamed together. My parents wanted two children, a boy and then a girl. Picture perfect. Their son would be tall, dark and handsome with his dad’s heart; heart that made others smile. He would also have his dad’s sense of humor that lit everybody else’s day. He would grow up to be a successful man, looked up to for his character – I guess I have.”
He sure did. He was one of the smartest and most respected in school and he was the best of all-rounders when it came to extra-curricular activities. His parents groomed him the exact way every parent dreams to.
“They wanted their little girl to be – like her mom, with a sweet heart and a pretty face but with a hint of tomboy to defend herself from her big brother. Deep down, I knew she would always be my little angel. But I never got to see her. Five years after I was born, they decided to love me like they would love nobody. They were afraid to share their love for me with anybody else. I was upset when I heard that but I’m glad now, for my little angel didn’t have to go through whatever I went through.”
“Saying goodbye at 17, before moving to another city for a new life, was soul-crushing. I thought my parents wouldn’t cry, but it was a foolish thought. One thing I can honestly say is, it never did occur to me that I wouldn’t return home into safe hands. Over months, I got occupied with college stuff and I took my parents for granted. It became a habit not to call them everyday. I neither told them about my girlfriend nor about the fact that I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, more often than not.”
“On March 12, 2011, my world stopped. I was sleeping on the last bench during class when I was called for. I reached for the phone. The phone must have rang loud but I heard only silence on the other side, for a while. Later, I heard my aunt’s trembling voice, “I’m sorry, dear….”, there was a pause, “your parents met with a serious accident and they are no more..” I didn’t hear the rest of what she said. I couldn’t say a word and I dropped my phone dead. With my heart in my throat and tears on my eyes, I picked up the phone when it ran again. I was told that my one-way ticket was already booked.”
I continued to listen with pin-drop silence. Not very often, people let their heart out to share their deepest hidden emotions. This was one of them. He continued.
“By late evening, I was home. Well, it didn’t feel like home for once. I lost ground and I fainted where I stood, just in front of the spot where my life-givers laid breathless. They sang me lullabies when I was a child so that I would close my eyes and on that day, I cried so loud hoping that they would hear me and open their eyes. Just once.”
“The same house where I was brought up with love and affection, I felt helpless and lonely, even though I was surrounded by people who cared, except for my parents. Only a day ago, everything was normal. I was losing my mind. Then I tried to focus hard, until everything seemed real. That moment, life changed forever. The following days, weeks, months and even years were in dark.”
“The fact that my parents were gone hurt me less when compared to the fact that they’d never come back again. Every time things go bad, I fight and tell myself that I have seen worse. Now, I can tell you with certainty that nothing can hurt me quite bad again. Yet, my parents brought me up so well to believe that I can still make them proud. Of course, I can love nobody like they loved me but I can always re-live those loving memories with them every night when I go to sleep.”
When I placed the full-stop after his last word, I realized what a pity it is that we take our loved ones for granted. We know not what the next moment will be like.