12 July, 2007
How do you look at the face of a dear friend who has lost his young daughter to some cells that went haywire in her brain! How do you look into his eyes and what do you say to console him when even you know that no words can console or make-up for the loss. Why—this why is all the time seeking answer from everybody—why this had to happen to this young girl? I didn’t have any answers or even any words to sympathize with him as I understood the shallowness of words in this particular meeting.
I sat across the table, in his office, where he was as busy as usual in his work. Pain—naked pain—emanating from his eyes, shielded by spectacles, was visible to me. I knew about his loss but sat without saying a word about it. Honestly speaking, didn’t know how to start the topic. “How are you?” a cursory question from me brought forth an equally cursory answer “Fine.” He became busy with attending to business deals and I sat gazing at the book promos displayed behind his back—books that promised to have answer to all the problems of the world. Books surrounded us everywhere—the great writers, best selling authors seemed to be answerless to the world that both of us were a part of at that point of time.
“You know about the loss of our daughter?” suddenly he asked me. “Yes, I heard from someone but could not believe it.” I murmured. How could I believe when some one tells me that this young girl, twenty six years of age, bubbling with youth and all those things that youth stands for, lost her life so some sudden growth in her brain. His placid composure of a manager broke up and a very vulnerable father looking deep in my eyes said, “She didn’t deserve to go this way.” I looked away as I had no answer. A book promo stared hard at me speaking of “passion quotient” I wanted to search for a book dealing with “grief quotient” and thought ruefully that someone might write a book some day dealing with grief quotient and sell it through this distributor who sat helpless lamenting his loss.
I remembered reading “Tuesdays with Morrie” and also “The message of the Lotus” and lot more of books dealing with Karma, destiny, fate and what not, all given to me by the person who despite having a storms raging inside of him, immersed himself in banality of life. How could all that the books dealt with would be able to put at rest the storms of grief immersing his very being?
“You did your best” I muttered. “And she had the best of the life she could ever have” I continued thinking of so many things that he got for her even before she asked for them. The day she joined American Bank, he got for her a new car to commute to her workplace. “Yes, I tried all that I could,” his voice choked a little, “but could not save her.” And he broke down. Tears flowed freely from his eyes. He had put his spectacles aside and sat before me, in a glass cabin, surrounded by books, crying his heart out. I felt helpless. I wanted to cradle his head, pat his back and hug him close to me but there was this big office table between us. There were so many of his team mates all around who had shared his grief. But could sharing a grief mitigate it?
Suddenly a business acquaintance came in and once again he had to put a brave front. Excusing himself he went to the freshening room and came back a little composed. He talked business now and I was once again gazing at the bestsellers with their catchy lines and the futility of them in this situation. When this business acquaintance was gone, he started to relate all that had happened. It was surly a pain to him as he must have relived all those painful days once again. It was a story of god’s designs, human frailty, callous doctors, death having the final word and ultimately resigning to fate and god’s will.
Now he was a little better. Talking makes you better. We all are human beings and need to be human in our approach.
It was lunch time. “Let’s eat out” he suggested. “No” I would rather share your home packed lunch, I insisted. He ordered some from a nearby eating place and we shared. A tea after the lunch and it was time for me to come back. The mere thought of DTC buses made me go weak. He started to get some books for me but this time I really thought why to read all these books when you have nothing to say when it needs the most to be said. But I carried some more books back home that I would read some day as life must go on!