My father’s dead body was kept on the earth with head at north side. His friends, relatives and neighbors were sitting there. Their faces had sad looking expression; seeing these expressions, I was feeling that there were mask on their faces.
For a fraction of second, I felt darkness everywhere in the broad day light. All of a sudden I started thinking that the one who has gone will not come back so why I should spread my melancholy on others.
I was standing near my father’s dead body watching my uncle who was making a list of material to be used in cremation like ghee, perfume, sweets, sugar and sandal wood etc… My nephew, sister’s son has gone to take wood ladder. The body which is dead today and was alive yesterday will be tied on it. Thinking of it I began to weep noisily. My elder sister came there and started consoling me but she also began to cry.
My uncle was sitting near the dead and saying, ‘My brother has suffered a lot in last three months. I am sad on his departure from the earth but also feel satisfied as he got rid of his suffering.’ Hearing it I was shocked; he had said the same some years back when my mother died. Suddenly I remembered my mother. Now I was totally alone like my father felt lonely after my mother’s death. My hard hearted father hid his grief beautifully but I felt his morose many times and his changed angry nature. He had compromised with the present situations.
After my mother’s cremation, I obliged my father to go with me to Kanpur but he refused my offer. I returned to Kanpur with the sad heart. Sometimes he visited me at Kanpur and stayed there for 8-10 days; same way he went to my sister’s house at Jonepur but never stayed there for a longer period. When he was at home he used to go to temple for two – three hours and came back in a room where my mother had taken her last breath. Occasionally I or my sister came to his house and stayed there 8-10 days.
Three months ago, he was coming out of the bath room when he slipped which caused him fracture in a bone. Getting the information I immediately arrived at home. Only I know how I passed five hours in the train during the journey. My sister also had arrived there just before me. Immediately I got his x-ray done and the bone fracture was revealed. The doctor has given him traction treatment. Soon the symptom of recovery was shown and we had hope of his recovery.
All of a sudden he got diarrhea but it was not being relieved with the treatment but his weakness was increasing. Possibly he got some intuition of his death so he called me up four days before his death and said, ‘My life is short now so I will take water of Ganges and ‘Tulsi’ whenever I feel thirst.’ I thought it was his delusion even then I obeyed his order.
Next day, my father’s friend Sharma Ji came from Paryag. He sat near my father and started consoling me. He told me that I shouldn’t be worried as my father would soon be well. Sitting some times there Sharma Ji went home. I began to read ‘Sunder Kand Path’ as per my father’s wish. I saw him lying drowsily on the bed so I stopped reading the book. After some time he demanded water by touching my shoulder as he was unable to speak. He took two sips of water and lay down. I felt some thing wrong so called my uncle. My uncle came hurriedly; my father opened his eyes and told my uncle by gesture to lie him down on the earth. I and my uncle lay my father on the earth. The moment we lay him on the earth my father took his last breath.
My sister and her husband went to a temple when my father died. Seeing him dead my sister began to weep. I was also sobbing. Seeing us weeping, Sharma Ji said, ‘Son, this is not the time to weep as the departed soul will feel pain. Your father has completed his life and this is only his dead body. His soul will get new body. This dead body will be cremated with rituals. This is a last truth. The one who comes on the earth will have to go from here one day so there is no use to weep. Keep patience and make arrangement for the cremation.’
After cremation, nothing was left except some memories and a piece of paper issued by the municipal corporation that is called ‘death certificate’. This story was taken from the magazine of ‘Palika Bazar’ written by Gopal Ji.