The mood is solemn. Even the neighbourhood kids are silent as if on a cue of something really out of place. All people, forgetting their acrimony and petty differences, have come together to console the family that needs emotional support.
There has been a death in the neighbourhood. It is the first death of an elderly person on the campus and as we live like a big family, everyone is affected to his bones. The moment I heard of Akku’s Dadi’s death, I was too shocked even to react. The first thought that came to my mind was that it just could not be. Someone must have spread a rumour! But unfortunately it was true, as true as death can be!
A tall and graceful woman even at her age, she walked swiftly every evening making the young ashamed for their leisurely gait. It is 6-30 pm at this time, the time when she would go for a walk and today we are waiting for her body to come from Shimla where she had gone to spend some time with her brothers’ families. The wait was torturous as we could do nothing except wait. Every evening her grand daughters would wait for her to come from the walk but today whole of the campus was waiting for her.
I realized that it needs courage to go to a bereaved family. As you know that the best of your sharing the grief cannot mitigate the irreparable loss of the family. Gathering courage I, too, went to the family and a look at the face of my colleague made me break down completely. A confident and self assured young man looked distraught and weak. I wanted to hold him close to me. Death of a near and a dear one makes you see life in a new perspective. Death around you makes you wise, albeit temporarily. One becomes philosophic and rises above the mundane frivolous bickering.
Wait, wait and more wait for her to come. Not her but her body. Finally the wait was over and the men of the block brought out the body of the lady. Death is really cruel. It takes away the essence of life. A lifeless body was kept on the floor on and surrounded by ice slabs. I shuddered even at the thought of touching ice. And the fire that would engulf the body made me weep even more. Death is really a great equalizer.
I really wonder why we quarrel over non-issues when life is too short to live peacefully. But then as I said these revelations come to us only when we watch death at close quarters. But do we learn any thing?