By Amaara Sha
My mom, brother and me were talking and enjoying our lunch. My masi (mom’s sister) from Coimbatore calls and starts to cry in the phone saying, “Arjun bhai is rushed to the hospital, wait I am getting another call.” and the phone gets cut. My mom on this side panics, tries to call back but the phone is busy. My mom calls her elder sister and asks if she has any idea about such a call. While they are talking, in five minutes we get another call, “Arjun bhai is no more.” My mother bursts out crying. Our eyes are filled with tears. We just could not accept it. “How could a perfectly healthy person be suddenly dead?” We quickly packed our things, and leave for Coimbatore.
As we reach Coimbatore at the funeral, my aunt immediately hugs my mom, her brother etc and is letting out her pain. The two sons are crying out to my brothers, my sisters in law have us sisters. Everyone has a shoulder they can rely on, after all that’s what family is all about.
Amidst all the elders, there is a small four year old, my niece, Ziva. While we all lost someone who we had known for so many years, she lost someone whom she had known for the shortest time, but all of her life. Everyone was in so much pain, that we forgot about that child. She wouldn’t understand the depth of the situation, is what everyone thought. After all, she’s a child.
We finished our prayers and came back home. While everyone is sitting in their own sorrow thinking of my uncle, we hear a child’s voice. Ziva, walks up to my aunt and says, “Dadi, I will take care of you, just like how dada used to.” My aunt hugs her tight and breaks down with her in her arms. She wipes my aunt’s tears and continues to say, “Don’t worry dadi, dada will always stay in our heart. So what if we can’t see him, we will always remember him.”
Every one of us there were completely shocked with her reaction. How can a four year old understand what has happened? How can she understand the depth of death? How can she understand that she won’t be able to see her him anymore? How can she understand all this and yet be so brave and strong?
She is the only one who truly celebrated his presence and cherishes every memory of his. After all, the bond between a granddaughter and grandfather is indeed special and most pure. It is something I cannot connect to, as I never had a grandfather. But if I ever did, I would love him the same way she does, when he is no more.
Even today, four years later, she remembers that day in detail. Her love for him is something none of us can imagine. After all, her dada’s last lullaby was to her, as he put her to sleep the night before. Her dada’s last hug was to her, as she wished him good morning when she woke up. Her dada’s final goodbye was to her, as he left that morning for work. Her dada’s, last meal was the chapatti she tried to make and packed for him in his box.
Every time she talks about her dada, she never cries, but there is sadness in her face. Her eyes go down as it gets watery; her smile fades for a brief second. She tries to do something else to forget about it, she tries to change the topic, yet still continues to talk about him.
All she ever says now is, “If, dada was here, he would have done it for me, he would have never said no.”
By Amaara Sha