Note to the reader: This is life story of an author narrated to us through series of diary entries. To maintain smooth flow and logic to construct a story, only selective entries have been chosen for this narrative. The present date is assumed to be 10 January, 2055 and the story is spanned over almost 3 decades.
10 January, 2055:
This day marks the death anniversary of India’s most celebrated author, Pranav D’souza and coincides with Silver Jubilee celebrations of his best known literary work – ‘Lost & Found Love’ published posthumously in the year 2030. This book has changed the lives of millions of people in the world by helping them build new relationships and strengthening existing ones.
Pranav’s daughter Meera, sitting in her Worli apartment (sea facing) at Mumbai, shares with the readers of ‘Literary Times’, the relationship she shared with her father, Pranav – The Writer, The Philanthropist, his dreams, his fears, his outlook towards life, his inspiration, significance of 10 January and what made him turn towards writing by giving up his corporate career aspirations.
Pranav D’souza’s Diary
10 January 2011: This is the most awaited time of the year. I cancel all my engagements only to devote my time to this beautiful woman who has made all the difference to my life. Another year has passed by, but when I stand before her, I feel as if it were just yesterday.
I greeted her with a warm smile, Pink teddy bear; heart shaped red balloons, dark chocolate cake reading – ‘Happy Birthday My Guardian Angel J’ and a bunch of her favorite flowers – White Carnations. I had again kept her waiting.
Me: I am so sorry, I kept you waiting.
Woman: You are late again. I am mad at you for making me wait for so long. You always do this.
Me: Wow! It’s surprising. You haven’t changed even one bit.
Woman: I know, I am perfect (chuckling). But yes, you have changed. You are not the same Pranav I had known. My Pranav was very affectionate, kind and happy man.
Me: Yes, that Pranav is dead. I don’t live anymore, I just exist.
Woman: Don’t be such a cynic. Even though we are not together anymore, there hasn’t been a day when I don’t wish well for you. I wish to spend time with you, share my laughs, fears, anxieties but then you are just so busy. I really miss you.
Me: You are missed too. Terribly missed
Woman: You Liar! I don’t believe a word of yours.
Me: Trust me, I swear. I promise to meet you every single day. You have no idea how much my life has changed over years.
People say love makes the world go round and they are right. My world did go berserk in 2004 when you left me alone without saying a word. I was so busy chasing milestones, planning new business ventures and creating a secure future for us that I did not realize that I had been deserted. I felt deceived.
Woman: You know; that is the thing with life. One is forever chasing this elusive happiness and perfect life. I was always happy with who I was and whom I was with. I still remember, frantic calls were made to your number and each time you kept disconnecting my call. I wish you had taken life easy, appreciated the life God has given you; things would have been so different.
Me: Yes, this shall always remain one of the biggest regrets of my life. I have lost you forever. I am sorry. (Tears rolling down)
Woman: Please don’t feel guilty. It was destined to happen. The ones you truly lover never go away. They walk beside you unseen, unheard guiding you through your lowest and darkest times. They are happy seeing you succeed, pick you up when you fail, comfort you and motivate you to rise again.
Me: I love you. Please forgive me. (Kneels down and places white carnation flowers)
(Voice from behind): Meera (Pranav’s daughter)
Papa (Dad), who is this woman you are talking to? I see no one here. Why are you crying?
My little girl, Meera aged 5 years, comes forward to hug me; she reads aloud the name of the deceased inscribed on the grave as Meera P.D’souza and date of death as 10th January 2004. (Pranav and Meera were standing in a graveyard and Pranav was talking to a grave. That woman was his wife.)
Both of us stood speechless. A phone call from care taker of ‘Pure Souls Orphanage’ broke the dead silence.
We headed to the orphanage to see a group of excited children anxiously waiting for us.
Soon the air was filled with fun and frolic, children munching away the cake to glory, opening and showing off the goodies they had got.
Meera walked towards me and handed over an envelope that had a postal seal on it with the date of 4 January 2004. That was my last letter to my wife. She breathed her last the same day the letter reached her. (Pranav opens the letter and reads it aloud).
4 January 2004
My Dear Mrs. D’Souza
Writing this letter to you brings back memories of my first love letter to you which by the way I could never muster enough courage to give it to you. The day I first saw you was 10th January 1994 and the clock had struck 8.30am. You were looking so beautiful in that dark green saree with a bouquet of white carnation flowers. I just hate Mondays, but that Monday was the most beautiful day of my life.
I still remember how we used to meet over cups of coffee in that coffee shop at Dadar signal and chat for hours. One day I said to you, ‘Meera, you deserve someone who is witty, understanding and caring’ and you immediately said, ‘What makes you think you are not?’ I was stumped. I was so nervous about proposing you and it turned out that you were proposing me instead ;) Life is so easy and blissful with you around; I don’t know what would happen to me without you. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. I want our daughter to grow up and just be like you. I have been lucky twice, to have two beautiful girls in my life J
Thank you so much for everything. I am so grateful to God to have you in my life.
I am coming home (Mumbai) to meet you. My train is expected to arrive at Dadra Station on 10th January by 8:30am. I can already imagine you waiting for me in that dark green sari and with that same bunch of flowers. Sorry darling, I could not answer your calls; each time you call either I am busy with work or too tired after work.
This New Year 2004 is going to be extremely auspicious for us. I have successfully managed to free your Nanaji’s (maternal grandfather) sea facing house located at Worli from all encumbrances. That property now legally belongs to us.
My transfer application has been finally accepted after being rejected twice. I have to report to Andheri work station (Mumbai) from 27th January onwards.
All this feels just like a dream. I am so excited to meet you, shift into our New Home and see you relive your childhood days through our little angel. I am yearning to eat the food you prepare. The food available at mess here in Pune is terrible.
Please keep Poha (Beaten Rice) and some ginger tea ready for breakfast when I come home on 10th Jan. I have bought some goodies for our little angel and some decorative items for our new home. Do not bother about receiving me from the station; I shall come by my own.
10th January 2004: 12.00pm –
My train arrived late by 3.5 hours late from the scheduled arrival time. After collecting my luggage, I walked towards a nearby bus stop to board a bus to Dadar. On my way to home, my phone was incessantly ringing. I kept disconnecting the call, as I was about to reach within 3 minutes. Each time I disconnected the call, my heart skipped a beat.
Accident scene and hospitalization:
My wife meets with a fatal accident and is rushed to the hospital. Doctors declare her health condition to be extremely critical ruling out every faint chance of survival. On the hospital bed, this woman is fervently praying to catch one glimpse of her husband. But Alas! The clock struck 2.30pm and she was no more. After finishing all the medical formalities, the body was handed over to the D’souza’s.
I was still clueless of the tragedy that had befallen. He beamingly entered in his new house and found his wife’s body on the floor of the hall. I could see my aunts, uncles, cousins, near and dear ones grieving my wife’s demise. That moment I stood still as a rock, did not shed a single tear and walked away from that hall.
January 10, 2031:
It’s been 2 decades since 2011 (my previous diary entry). I and my daughter are again standing in front of my wife’s grave. With my hands folded, I pray to my wife to bless Meera with all the happiness as she is becoming a bride today. I gifted her same house in which I always wished to see myself, my wife and our daughter living in. She promised me that she would stay in the same house whenever she would visit Mumbai. I wept like a child; The day I held my little daughter for the first time in my arms, I felt the same emotion when I met my would be father in law when I had gone to ask him for Meera’s hand. My life had come full circle. All these years after my wife’s death, my daughter had become like her mother, she used to shout at me, nag me, and cheer me up in my lowest times
Today I was experiencing mixed feelings. I was both happy and sad. My heart was sinking in grief; I was going to lose Meera again. She was now going to leave me and embark on a journey with her new found love. Post her wedding, she shifted to Pune from Mumbai.
Three Years Later:
On 10th January, 2033, Meera becomes a proud mother of a baby boy. After hearing the news, I immediately started for Pune from Mumbai to meet the new born and my beloved daughter. I smiled to myself thinking about the Karmic connection of 10th January with my life.
Few hours later, I was feeling very weak too numb to move. The flight I boarded had crashed. My son in law and some of his relatives rushed me to the hospital and were fervently praying for my recovery. But fate had something else in store. At I breathed my last. My grandson had been named Pranav by my daughter and son in law.
10th January 2038: (Grave Yard) (Pranav’s Voice) – Life has come full circle again. Today I lie next to my wife’s grave. Every year on this day Meera and Pranav come to meet us. They celebrate this day the same way in which I and my daughter used to celebrate. The air is once again filled with fun, frolic and laughter of the children from orphanage. We could see Meera running behind Pranav to feed him the cake and Pranav being at his mischievous best. We reminisced how my wife used to chase my daughter with a glass of milk and heartily laughed. Every day, we relive our lives through our daughter and grandson – Meera and Pranav. I shall remain eternally grateful to God for restoring me my lost love – My Wife, Meera and uniting me with my wife’s spirit in death.
Literary Times: Thank you so much Meera for sharing with us facets of Pranav D’souza’s Life. How do you deal with the loss? You must be missing him deeply. What is the message or advice you would like to give to our readers?
Meera: My son Pranav reminds me so much of my father that I don’t miss him. Both of them have such endearing personalities.
The biggest turning event in my father’s life was my mother’s death. My mother had always been a pillar of strength and to come to terms with her demise was extremely difficult. On the day of her death, he did not shed a single tear; he was very strong for all of us. It was she who inspired him to pen this book – ‘Lost and Found Love’ & take up writing as a full time vocation after quitting his corporate career and associate himself with Pure Souls Orphanage and other charitable activities.
Post my mother’s death, I have seen my father embrace and appreciate every little thing in life. Life is too unpredictable. I still have that undelivered letter written by my father addressed to my mother carefully preserved as a souvenir.
He always regretted not answering that phone call. This is the lesson which he has learnt the hard way. Taking up writing as a full time vocation gave him that inner peace and somewhere deeply connected him to his mother. The kind of inner peace and satisfaction which writing gave him, he never got that from his corporate job. Following his heart made him find his true calling and he excelled in it.
Every 10 January brings to us different emotions. My father’s last wish was to be buried next to my mother. This day of every year I and my son Pranav celebrate this day with the children living in the orphanage and seek the blessing of my parents
I would like to share this message with the readers which I remember my father telling me – The people you truly love never go away, they walk beside us unseen and unheard. They are there to protect us and inspire us to face the odds of life with a brave face – Our Guardian Angels.
I have always believed that life is too short to worry, hold grudges and live with regrets. There is much to life beyond success, fame and wealth. Life is beautiful.
To quote Charles Schultz – “The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.”
Lastly, I would like to thank Literary Times for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share with the readers across the world about this amazing human being – Pranav D’souza. I wish Literary Times and all the readers, lots of success and happiness.