That day, old man was leaving us, forever!!!
I heard my mother calling relatives and friends, one-by-one, on phone and telling the news in sobbing voice, “They will take out ventilator today at around 3 PM. You may come to see him before that.”
A week before that day, when he was taken to hospital, my father was helping grandpa to lie on back seat of our car. I could not forget grandpa’s last unanswered reply when I, while trying to control my tears, asked my mother whether he would be all right. Grandpa called me by weak gesture and softly caressed my hair as he generally used to do. But, very soon, his hand slipped away from my head, holding left part of his chest to unsuccessfully stop the rising pain. He was struggling to breathe normally. He was the same man who once almost ran to market in heavy rain to buy inhaler for me, when I lost the one in school and was little breathless because of asthma I had. But when it came to him that day I could not do much but just cried. My mother embraced me saying grandpa would come back soon.
A night before that day, at hospital’s reception my mother was consoling my distressed looking father to accept the destiny, “it has to happen one day.” I did not understand what it meant but simply closed my eyes and prayed God to let my grandpa be well soon. My grandpa once told me that prayers from children are pure and they surely reach God. But it did not happen, perhaps.
That day, we reached hospital at 1 PM. We went inside. Security at reception did not stop me that day. I was following my mother trying to meet her pace, climbing stairs, to ICU where grandpa was admitted. A nurse guided us to a room. After a long week gap I saw my grandpa — my best friend. Grandpa was sleeping peacefully on hospital bed. There were many small TV and radio alike boxes with tiny lights. Few boxes were making “beep-beep” sound in rhythm. I knew that the sound was fading heart beats of my best friend — my grandpa. Then I saw my father, with red and swollen eyes, sitting closure to grandpa’s bed. My mother could not control herself. She started sobbing loudly kneeling at my father shoulder. My father gently stood up and took my crying mother out of the room.
I was left alone with the most adorable man of my life. I went closure to him, where my father was sitting just few seconds back. I watched the face of my dear grandpa. There was no pain — it was calm and composed. Even with few plastic tubes in his nose and mouth and a white foggy gas mask on it, I found his face quite charming and graceful. I started caressing grandpa’s hair. I wished that he utter my name… just once… It was the same mouth that told me so many stories, every day, until I slept. I was waiting for his eyes to be opened… to see me last time… but he continued sleeping… these were the old eyes that never got tired enjoying watching my toys, my drawing, my homework, my mark sheets… Then I looked at his hand. It was same hand that used to caress my hair. I held his palm in my both hand. I tried measuring my palm with his. Nothing had changed. His palm was still larger than mine. I touched his index finger… I held it last time… holding it always assured me safe feeling in busy markets and crowded places…
I took out my inhaler from my pocket and kept it on a nearby table where already many medicines were kept scattered. I remembered once my grandpa told me that the inhaler was my life saviour… I murmured in grandpa’s ear, “Don’t worry Grandpa, you would get well soon. I kept here inhaler to save you.”…
“It’s a boy” exhilarated voice of my father brought me back in my present. Today, after eighteen years later, on the same floor of the same hospital I found my father rushing towards a nurse who was carrying a just born baby. “What are you doing there… come… look at him… he resembles ‘ditto’ your grandpa”, almost shouted my father in excessive excitement, carefully holding the baby in his arms.
But I saw my grandpa in my father more than in my just born son. A new cycle of life has started… to repeat itself once again.